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Drawing will decide deadlocked Richmond City Council race

Drawing will decide deadlocked Richmond City Council race
Drawing will decide deadlocked Richmond City Council race 02:18

RICHMOND -- The luck of a draw will determine the deadlocked Richmond City Council race between Andrew Butt and Cesar Zepeda, election officials announced Thursday.

Helen Nolan, the county's assistant registrar of voters, said that both candidates, Andrew Butt and Cesar Zepeda, received 1921 votes.

"Yes, they are really, really tied," Nolan said.  

"It's been a lot of work. It's been a lot of money. It's been a lot of time," Butt said.

"It's been a long campaign of many months, of many knocking on doors and meeting people," Zepeda said.

They're running to lead the new District 2 in Richmond, which stretches from Point Richmond to Hilltop.

"It sounds like it will come down to pure luck and I've got 50/50 shot at winning or losing," Butt said.

Both moderate Democrats ran on similar policies and issues.

"I did ask Andrew if he was willing to do a foot race as we've been racing. We were running this race for all these months. Let's go to the local high school and run to decide the winner," Zepeda joked.

"We've talked about a dance off. It was funny, last night, Cesar and I were both at dinner together actually. I kind of half-jokingly looked down at the table and I said 'Hey, let's do this right now, Rochambeau,'" Butt said.

In accordance with a city of Richmond statute, each candidate will write his name on a piece of paper and put in an envelope that will go into a bag. Both candidates may shake the bag then the Richmond city clerk will pick an envelope to determine the winner.

"It's hard to grasp and it seems very surreal that this is what it's going to come down to," Butt said.

"It's exciting. We've never had this happen before in Richmond," Zepeda said.

Not in the city but it happened in the county back in 2018 when the race for a Byron-Bethany Irrigation District director seat was tied.

The two candidates played a game of dice to break the tie.

"The message is 'Hey, it's important to vote!' It really does matter," Butt said.

"Use your voice, because right now, you're going to leave it to luck," Zepeda said.

Elections officials say a runoff would be too expensive so that's not an option.

The city of Richmond plans to conduct the drawing sometime next week.

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