Heim wins coin toss to gain seat on Ore City council
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
May 26, 2014 | 848 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Phillip Williams<br>
STEVE HEIM, right, and JEANNETTE ORMS await the results of a coin toss Tuesday night  to see which one won a seat on the Ore City City Council.  Heim won and was later sworn in.  Acting as referee, with his back to the camera, is Bubba DeBerry.
Mirror Photo / Phillip Williams
STEVE HEIM, right, and JEANNETTE ORMS await the results of a coin toss Tuesday night to see which one won a seat on the Ore City City Council. Heim won and was later sworn in. Acting as referee, with his back to the camera, is Bubba DeBerry.
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ORE CITY—Steve Heim won a coin toss Tuesday night to determine the winner of a tied May 10 election for a

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

council.

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.
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