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Luck of the draw: Utah town pulls its mayor's name from wicker basket

Sometimes a little luck goes a long way in politics. The new mayor of a small town in Utah was sworn in last week after his name was drawn from a wicker basket.


Ed Chavez Jr. took over as mayor of Helper, a town of 2,000 about 110 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, after his name was picked in a blind draw.

"I was kind of shocked that I was the one whose name was drawn," Chavez told NBC affiliate KSL.

Helper's current mayor, Dean Armstrong, resigned from office Feb. 23 after he was arrested in his second drunken driving offense during his term, KSL reported.

Helper's City Council tried to pick a mayor to complete Armstrong's current term Thursday night, but with Chavez and City Councilman Kirk Mascaro deadlocked at two votes each, the wicker basket came out.

KSL reported that each candidate's name was written on a slip of paper and placed in the basket. Helper's municipal attorney then made the pick, with Chavez coming out the winner.

KSL said he'll serve out the remainder of Armstrong's term, which runs until January 2014. Chavez retired from the Carbon County Sheriff's office recently after 25 years. He previously served on the City Council in nearby Wellington for 15 years and was chairman of the Carbon County Democratic Party for five years, KSL said.