Election tiebreaker

Barbara S. Miller/Observer-Reporter

Reneelyn Corley pulled the number nine, but 13 was the lucky number that put John Martin, left, on Stockdale Borough Council, breaking a three-way tie that also included Larry Ridgway, for whom a four was drawn.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton once said, “I’ve never been part of a tie. You didn’t lose, but you didn’t win.”

Too bad the redhead of the gridiron wasn’t present for the final chapter of the Nov. 7 election. An overflow crowd appeared at Courthouse Square during the tiebreaking round at noon Wednesday, after which winners and losers exited either happy or sad due to the luck of the draw.

Most of the candidates were vying for positions on their local boards of elections, but an occasional commissioner, auditor or tax collector appeared.

The most unusual race was a three-way tie in the Mon Valley borough of Stockdale, where a slot on council will be filled.

The number 13 proved to be lucky for John Martin, who drew it on Dec. 13. Melanie Ostrander, assistant director of elections, had announced to the gathering that the person drawing the highest-numbered ball in each race would be declared the winner.

“I thought it would be interesting,” said Martin. “I just wrote my name in.”

Reneelyn Corley pulled nine in the blind drawing, while Larry Ridgway, who could not be present, had Ostrander choose for him. His number was four.

John Keys of Fredericktown, an incumbent commissioner, could have circulated nominating petitions to have his name be the sole one on the ballot, but he took the write-in route.

“I just decided late,” he said while waiting for each municipality’s candidates to be called alphabetically for the drawing.

Keys and another write-in candidate, Richard Queen, each received five votes, but Keys won by default Wednesday because Queen did not appear or request that an elections office staffer draw a number on his behalf.

Allenport Borough Council also had a tie, but Monica Giffin chose a two-year term for which she was the sole write-in, leaving a four-year term for Rondell Mickey.

“They figured it out for us,” Ostrander said.

Adding a touch of glamour to the proceedings was Carl Curtis of Paris.

Paris, Hanover Township, that is. “I’m right near the Eiffel Tower of AT&T,” he quipped after learning that, as a member of his local election board, he’ll be serving in 2018 not once, not twice, but three times because of the special election in the 18th Congressional District to replace Rep. Tim Murphy, who was forced to resign in the wake of a scandalous affair.

And to those who made the trip to Washington but were defeated in the tiebreakers, the elections office offered a small consolation: a cookie, so no one left with a sour taste in the mouth.

Staff Writer

Staff Writer Barbara S. Miller is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College. She covers Washington County government, courts and general assignments.

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