HELENA — Former legislator Bill Thomas was declared the winner of the Democratic primary for Montana House District 26 after his name was pulled from a hat Thursday to settle a tie.
A Cascade County commissioners' recount last week showed Thomas and his opponent, Rod Lukasik, both received 636 votes in the June 6 primary.
To settle the tie, each candidate's name was written on three pieces of paper, placed in plastic tubes, and went into a hat for the drawing, which was performed by Secretary of State Brad Johnson at the Capitol Rotunda.
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"It's been a civics lesson," Thomas said after the drawing. "It shows that every vote counts."
Elaine Graveley, elections deputy in the secretary of state's office, told the Great Falls Tribune that the secretary of state hasn't had to draw a winner for a primary race in at least 40 years.
Thomas, who is also a retired educator and current chairman of the Cascade County Democratic Party, will face Republican Jack Allen, a Great Falls police lieutenant, in November.