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Eureka race to be decided by a cut of the cards

It’s a showdown in Eureka.

A high-card draw on Monday at the Eureka County Courthouse will determine the winner of the Clerk-Treasurer’s race. Such events are becoming a Nevada tradition.

When the votes were counted in November, it appeared incumbent Jackie Berg had narrowly defeated challenger Carrie Wright in a race that drew a little more than 700 votes from a county with approximately 1,400 residents. But a recount added one vote for Wright and disqualified two faxed-in ballots from Berg’s account. A District Court judge ruled the race was officially tied, 374-374.

At 3 p.m. in the County Commission chambers, under the supervision of Commissioner Lenny Fiorenzi, Owl Club official Elleny Carrion will shuffle and fan a deck. The candidate who draws the high card will be declared the winner.

“It’s a gambling state, so I guess the election should have gambling, too,” Fiorenzi says.

Gauging by all the local interest, he says the event might attract a crowd.

Eureka County Recorder/Auditor Mike Rebaleati says the tie has been the talk of the town, but it’s time to determine a winner and get back to work.

“Right now, they’re hoping it gets over,” Rebaleati says. “You always get a little controversy here and there when there is a tie. But it’s kind of exciting to have the whole thing come down like this.”

This is the second time in recent history that a Eureka County political race has needed a tie-breaker. In 1982, a cut of the cards determined the primary winner in the Eureka County Clerk race. A 2004 White Pine County Commission race also ended in a tie. More recently, the 2010 Nye County Commission Republican primary between Carl Moore Sr. and Andrew “Butch” Borasky was settled with a high-card draw. Borasky prevailed and went on to win the general election.

Moore was disappointed, but he can take solace in the fact that Borasky recently agreed to pay a $1,000 fine after committing an ethics violation.

That, too, seems to be a long Nevada tradition.

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