Dave Foxworth drew a nine of hearts Wednesday to win the race for fire commissioner in District 10 on the West Plains.
Jim Peirone, the 18-year incumbent, drew a seven.
Foxworth and Peirone were tied at 689 votes apiece following a recount by hand of ballots cast in the Nov. 4 general election.
In case of a tie, state law requires the candidates to draw lots to choose the winner. They agreed to pick cards from a standard deck.
The candidates met Wednesday morning at the office of Spokane County Auditor Bill Donahue, the county’s top election official.
Elections Supervisor Tom Wilbur spread the cards face down across a conference table while Donahue and a county attorney watched.
“A tie vote like this is not a very common thing,” Wilbur told the candidates. “Don’t let anyone out in that district tell you their vote doesn’t count.
Foxworth said he plans to continue the expansion of fire protection services in a district that spans some 100 square miles and includes about 6,500 people.
Foxworth moved to the district in 1986 and has served as a volunteer firefighter and public fire educator for the district. He drives a school bus for the Reardan School District.
Foxworth said voters supported him because they were looking for a change.
Fire protection is a major concern in the unincorporated West Plains. District 10 has been the site of several major wildfires in recent years, including one that swept into Riverside State Park last summer and another that consumed a large area along Deep Creek in 1996.
District 10 serves the industrial and commercial areas around Airway Heights as well.
Peirone said he’s proud of his accomplishments as a commissioner. The district has built a new main station, remodeled its older stations and upgraded its fire equipment.
All of that was done through regular tax collections, he said.
“I think we’ve done pretty well with the taxpayers’ dollars,” he said.