Peppered by several complaints of foul campaigning that deferred results for 24-hours, the first round of Student Government elections yielded no winners for the three prime posts, which will remain up for grabs until precincts close for good Wednesday afternoon.
Michael Johnston, current Student Government speaker, gained an ample edge in the presidential race with 418 of the total 2,020 votes cast for all six candidates.
Ninety-nine votes behind, current Student Government senator JD Barbosa says he is optimistic he will get more than the 319 students who voted for him last week to click on his name once the voting station gets rigged up in the UC Breezeway for the final strife.
Election Committee member Mike Lupez released the results last Friday at the Rat.
Dim cheers and applause followed the appointment of less prominent seats.
Two startling cases were the new commuter north representative, Max Alvarez, and Nursing School delegate, Shani Reid, who made the cut with the loyal support of 3 and 13 voters respectively.
When Lupez announced the question mark on the president’s seat would loom for one more week, silence took over the restaurant.
Nobody made a congratulatory move toward Johnston or Barbosa.
They weren’t there.
Johnston told The Hurricane he believes his primary victory is the result of a “very personal campaign” built around a platform of concrete ideas – many of which, he claims, have already worked their way into the group’s agenda.
Barbosa credits his base of support to a straightforward style of leadership, the clarity with which he has publicized his platform and his ability to get things done.
“Mike has remained very vague throughout this campaign,” said Barbosa, in reference to Johnston. “We need a president who will work for the students, not for the administration,” he added.
Asked to explain what made him a stronger presidential candidate over Barbosa, Johnston told The Hurricane: “I never like to put people down. Our ticket is very strong.”
Indeed, Justine Levine and Mahala Dar, running for vice-president and treasurer respectively, will enter the runoffs with a considerable lead. Levine got 499 votes, followed by Gina Yacone’s 385, and Dar fronts the treasurer race with 417 votes, while her standing contestant Martinique Busino gathered 277.
Low voting turnout came as no surprise to any of the sources close to the race consulted by The Hurricane; however, Renee Dickens Callan, Elections Commission Advisor, noted this year’s candidates attracted more students to the voting tables than in recent years.
One entity that kept busy throughout the race was the Student Government jury, who heard, discussed, dismissed and upheld an undetermined number of complaints brought forward against candidates who allegedly broke campaign rules. The most often violated: dragging hand-cards with campaign slogans to the voting stations.
Then there was the complaint triggered by a leaflet abandoned inside the urinal of a male restroom. One such violation could add up to 15 negative points. Twenty would slash a candidacy.
Two sources close to the election told The Hurricane under condition of anonymity that they frowned on one of presidential candidate Stefanie Hernandez’s campaign gimmicks.
“Free fruit bars!” hailed Hernandez -fourth runner up for the presidency-as she engaged passers-by into a
“why-vote-for-me” conversation on the Rock Tuesday afternoon.
“They were donated,” Hernandez told The Hurricane in reference to the fruit bars. “I don’t know from where,” she added.
Steven Priepke, the only presidential candidate that spoke about the fruit bars on the record had this to say: “I had a strawberry one – delicious.”