The Macomb Daily
  Thursday, May 6, 2010

  Justin Riberas, center, a first-time candidate, filed Tuesday to run for the county Board of Commissioners in Sterling Heights’ District 4. Riberas, 26, a Republican, is flanked by Macomb GOP Chairman Jared Maynard, left, and Michael Rix, foreground, an employee at the county Clerk’s Office Elections Department.  

Dee Lindeman, left, reacts after being declared the winner of a coin toss to settle a tied Center Line school board election. Her friend and opponent, Ron Nelson, is on the right; county Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, center, handled the proceedings.

-- Macomb Daily staff photo by Craig Gaffield


Lindeman wins Center Line school board election by a ‘lot’


Race versus longtime friend comes down to a coin toss

By Chad Selweski, Macomb Daily Staff Writer

Longtime friends Dee Lindeman and Ron Nelson weren’t about to let a simple coin toss ruin their relationship.

Lindeman and Nelson gathered on Thursday for an official coin flip — and the drawing of lots — to break the tie between them in Tuesday’s Center Line school board race. In the end, Lindeman was declared the winner and the two candidates immediately smiled and embraced.

“What an experience. I thought this would all be over on Tuesday,” said Lindeman, mother of three children who attend Center Line schools. “I’m happy to win but the school district would be well-served either way because we both have the interests of the kids in mind.”

Nelson and Lindeman’s husband, Ken, have been friends for 35 years and they each served as best man at the other’s wedding. That link guaranteed a friendly campaign, even when the results produced a nail-biter finish.

On election night, Lindeman and Nelson each garnered 436 votes, putting them in a tie for second place in the vote to determine two 6-year terms on the board.

According to state law, a tie is broken by the two candidates drawing lots. Each blindly chooses a folded piece of paper. One paper says “elected” and the other “says “not elected.”

First, a coin toss is held to determine who picks first. Lindeman lost the coin toss but Nelson deferred, letting her choose first. When the choices were revealed, Lindeman, a first-time candidate, picked the winner.

The winnowing process, overseen by county Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, took place at the Mount Clemens gazebo on the Clinton River.

Nelson was gracious, never mentioning the prospect of a recall, never expressing any regrets. But he did take a shot at the top vote-getter, Henry Newnan, who Nelson said has no children in school and has never been active in the community.

Newnan failed to survive the primary when he ran for Warren City Council in 2007 and finished last in 2009 when he made his first run for the Center Line school board. This time, he spent $3,000 on his successful campaign.

“I don’t think the students were well-served due to the amount of money spent by one candidate,” Nelson said. “He … is one of these people who are only interested in the school board as a stepping stone in politics.”

Newnan could not be reached for comment.