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COIN TOSS SELECTS MAYOR IN SMALL OREGON CITY

A professional blackjack dealer had Lady Luck on his side when he won a coin toss to decide who would be the next mayor of this small ranching community.

Jim Hamsher, 39, and former mayor Paul Woodworth, 80, each received 125 votes Nov. 2 as write-in candidates for mayor of Prairie City, about 290 miles east of Portland.

Both candidates agreed to a coin toss to determine the winner. With 150 townsfolk looking on Saturday at the city's main intersection, Hamsher called "heads" as City Recorder Diane Clingman flipped a commemorative rodeo medal with a bucking horse on one side and the year on the other.

The horse landed up, giving Hamsher the victory.

"I think people were happy," Clingman said. "No pitchforks and torches -- they'll save that for the City Council meetings."

A City Council race in Groveland, Fla., was also decided by a coin toss this year after G.P. Sloan and Richard Flynn tied in the general election. Sloan won the toss and the seat.

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