NEWARK: A central Ohio community’s mayoral race could be decided by a drawing from a deck of cards if the tie between two candidates holds during a recount set for next week.

Chad Waters was declared the winner of the Hanover mayoral race this week when he drew a nine of diamonds from the deck to beat the five of spades pulled by Nicole Gieseler, the Advocate newspaper in Newark (http://ohne.ws/Ifu7Pn) reported.

The county’s official tally after the general election had the two tied with 104 votes apiece once provisional and absentee ballots were counted. A winner has to be declared before a recount under state law, said Sue Penick, director of the Licking County Board of Elections.

Officials opted for the card drawing instead of a coin toss, the other option permitted by law.

“We felt that was the most fair way,” said Mary Ann Lollo, who leads the board.

Gieseler said she doesn’t plan to withdraw before the recount and believes Waters will do a good job if the position becomes his.

“I’m at total peace with the decision,” said Gieseler, a preschool teacher and daughter of a former mayor.

Waters, who runs a golf store in Heath, said he’ll seek to consult his opponent if his first bid for public office turns out to be successful. But, he said, he’s awaiting the recount first.