Richmond City Council Race Decided by Draw

The race for Richmond City Council District 2 was decided Tuesday after the city clerk pulled a green envelope of a red paper bag. That envelope named Cesar Zepeda as the district’s next city councilman. He is due to be sworn in on Jan. 10, and will become the first openly gay man to serve on the dais. 

The envelope was drawn because Zepeda and his opponent, Andrew Butt — the son of outgoing mayor Tom Butt — garnered the exact same number of votes in the November election. The red and green colors were a nod to the holiday season. The unusual event was live-streamed

Zepeda and Butt both seemed less than thrilled with the way the race was called, even though that’s Richmond city protocol for election tie breaking.

"It's totally surreal and it just feels very bizarre, frankly, that after all the effort and all the votes that it would ultimately come down to pure luck," Butt told KQED. He thinks a runoff election would have made more sense.  

Zepeda agreed. 

“While it’s not very common, we need to make sure that we lean more on the democratically elected person versus luck of the draw,” he said.

Tie breaks are frequently randomized. As City News reported, a mayor’s race in Kentucky was just decided by a coin flip.


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