Deck of cards decides Bradenton Beach's next mayor

- There's a new mayor of Bradenton Beach, thanks to the ace of clubs.

The canvassing board recounted ballots by hand and found voters were evenly divided. Former mayor Bill Shearon and interim mayor Jack Clarke got 195 votes each.

It was a heated election because just six months ago, Shearon held the title of mayor and was voted out of office. Former vice-mayor Clarke was chosen as his replacement.

After the canvassing board verified the tie, a deck of cards was chosen to determine the winner.

"(We) could have flipped a coin, could have drawn straws, could have played rock, paper and scissors," said Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett.

Many residents told FOX 13 they were surprised to learn the election would be decided using playing cards.

"I thought there would be another election, and everybody would vote again," resident Tracy Piatt said.

"I'm sure there could have been another way," another resident, Chris Riley, said.

Shearon drew the highest card -- the ace of clubs to Clarke's 10 of clubs -- to win the race.

"I had no problem with it, especially when I drew the ace," Shearon said.

Clark also spoke to reporters after the decision.

"I hope that he'll continue the programs that I started in the last six months. He's got a lot of good things going on in Bradenton Beach," he said.

The recall election that pushed Shearon out of office six months ago passed by just eight votes.  He was accused of violating the state's sunshine law, but that was never proven.
 

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