seat on the Ore City City Council.
Heim correctly called “heads” after he and incumbent Jeannette Orms drew playing cards to determine who
would make the call. Fire Chief Gaston (Bubba) DeBerry, a veteran football official who lives outside city limits
and who wore his striped officiating shirt, tossed the coin at a council meeting to decide winner of the 1year
unexpired term of the late Bonnie Caldwell’s council seat.
On election night, Heim led Ms. Orms by four votes, 4844, in what were thought to be complete, unofficial
returns. But two days after the election, City Secretary Gail Weir discovered that the number of votes counted in
the election did not match the total number of voters who participated, and it was eventually discovered that 18
votes on a voting machine had gone uncounted by the private firm which contracted to tabulate the votes.
When all the ballots were finally tabulated four days after the election, including a total recount, it was
discovered the candidates had tied 5555, Ms. Weir said. Rather than cost the Upshur County city of 1,144
population up to $6,000 for a special election, they agreed to settle the issue by coin flip, as allowed by state law,
the city secretary said.
“It’s been an experience,” Heim told The Mirror after being sworn in by Ms. Weir on Tuesday. The 41yearold
emergency medical technician said having to wait another week to decide the outcome was worse than waiting
out the 12 hours of voting on election day.
Ms. Orms, who ran for the 1year unexpired term rather than seek reelection to her council seat’s full 2year
term, said she would run for the council again next year. However, the 55yearold insurance agent said “Steve is
pretty capable” and the city will be in “good hands” with him.
She said she has also been told that she will remain on the council until her successor, Sean Morgan, is sworn
in. Morgan was not present Tuesday night to take the oath.
Before the toss, Ms. Weir reported Heim won 1615 in early voting while Ms. Orms led in election day voting,
4039. Ms. Weir also reported that Ore City voters had renewed the onefourth of one percent sales tax for street
repairs by a vote of 7926 on May 10.
After Mayor Glenn Breazeale declared the council election a tie, DeBerry opened a new package of playing
cards, which were spread face down on a table as the candidates had agreed. DeBerry, who has officiated
football games for 32 years and who said he was using a 1973 Eisenhower dollar as the coin, commended the
candidates for saving the city money by agreeing to the toss.
After Heim made the correct call, Breazeale told Ms. Orms that “you have done well by the city” and that he
expected her to run again next year.
“I’ll be back,” Ms. Orms pledged, saying she would look on the coming period as “a year’s vacation” from the
Ms. Orms told The Mirror she had planned all along to run again next year and that she had run for the 1year
unexpired term this time to get into the “other cycle” of city elections.