“When I saw that I turned over a nine I thought that I had lost,” said Christopher Maestas who was drawing cards against incumbent Jimmy Sandoval to see who would become Tucumcari’s newest city commissioner. “Then I saw that he had turned over a two.”
The entire experience of choosing a city commissioner had taken on something of the atmosphere of a prize fight as the two men met at the front of the chambers of Tucumcari City Hall Thursday at just after 4 p.m. with a crowd seated and standing around expectantly each trying to get a better look at the combatants and the field of battle, which was the table in front of the dais where the commissioners sit when they are in session. In addition to the two men and spectators, there were also officials, and even a judge who would make sure everything was on the up and up. It began with Municipal Judge Edwin Bruhn giving the two four different options as how the tied vote for the commission seat would be settled. He said they could flip a coin, draw straws, pick a card, “or they could throw a dice to see who got the higher number.”
Bruhn had brought a coin, straws, a die and a sealed deck of cards to facilitate the choice. The two men said that they would stay with the drawing of a card since they had agreed to do that earlier and they were uncomfortable about changing at the last minute.. At that point Bruhn shuffled the cards and fanned them out, and city clerk Rachel Hicklin explained the rules. The two men would draw a card at the same time. The man with the higher card would win. The suits of the cards would not matter. If two cards with the same numerical value were drawn, like a five of hearts and a five of clubs, the two men would merely draw again and again if necessary until one of the two drew a higher card than the other. The two men drew their cards and Maestas drew a nine and Sandoval drew a duce.
“At least I can relax now,” said the new city commissioner. “That was a new experience, but it’s one I wouldn’t want to do again for about 1,000 years.”
Sandoval shrugged his shoulders and said that Maestas won fairly, and he wished him luck.
“Some things just work out that way,” said Sandoval, “but I’ll be back. I care for this city.”
Maestas said he is looking forward to returning to the commission where he had served earlier and was also looking forward to being able to deal with city business.
“I am delighted I’ll be there to help make a difference,” said Maestas. I’m very happy to be there, and I hope I can help improve Tucumcari for the people of Tucumcari. That’s why I ran.”
City commissioner Mary Mayfield said she welcomes Maestas but admits will also miss Sandoval.
“I have worked with Chris on the commission before,” said Mayfield. “I look forward to the entire commission working well together and helping the people of Tucumcari. I thought Jimmy was a good commissioner and enjoyed working with him.”