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Coin toss determines Trommald city race

A flip of the coin elected Gary J. LeBlanc to the Trommald City Council Monday night after he and incumbent council member Cheryl Swanson tied with the 21 votes apiece for one of two spots on the council.

LeBlanc, 63, said Trommald (population 98) doesn’t have a great deal of money and one of his goals will be to see that the city is fiscally responsible.

“Keep the town running and spend the money wisely,” he said of his plans for the city.

The top vote-getter in the Nov. 6 city election was Mayor Jim Hiller, who flipped the coin Monday. Hiller, who had no opposition on the ballot, had 26 votes. In the council race Jackie Wood garnered 24 votes and LeBlanc and Swanson tied at 21 votes apiece.

A native of Crosby, LeBlanc retired and moved back to the Cuyuna Range after living in a variety of locations. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council last fall.

He said city officials followed the law that applies to tie votes Monday night. The two candidates picked numbers between 1 and 10 for the right to call heads or tails. Swanson won that contest and then incorrectly called heads. When it was LeBlanc’s turn he called heads and the coin came up heads, earning him the council spot.

LeBlanc said he and Swanson are friends and she congratulated him on his victory after the final coin flip.

Newly elected to the council, LeBlanc admitted that there were details about the position that he wasn’t up to speed on — including the length of his new term.

“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure,” he said.

Neither Swanson nor the city’s clerk, Mona Geske, could be reached for comment on the coin toss.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860