After a month of campaigning, the race for Student Association president and vice president came to a close last night with a landslide victory for first-year students Aaron Malin and Ryan Gordon.
Malin and Gordon received 1,033 of the votes cast between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 p.m. last night. Their opponents, sophomore Greg Popham and junior Dylan Phillips received 174.
The loss came as a relief for Popham who said he and Phillips are ready to go back to their “normal lives.”
This relief, Popham said, stems from the frustration of what he thinks were attacks on their campaign’s Facebook page by Student Senate members and the opposition’s supporters. He said some of these attacks included twisting of words regarding budget plans with athletics and job cuts.
“We were kind of tired of the campaign once we felt that we were just defending our ideas all the time against people who weren’t going to vote for us,” Popham said.
Senior Michael Baharaeen, Student Senate speaker, said he was concerned near the beginning of campaigning because of surfacing tensions. He said there were times the ethics committee potentially needed to intervene between supporters, but it worked out smoothly in the end.
“I believe that the reason that members of Senate were negative toward [Popham supporters] was because they felt that the work they had done all year was being attacked,” Malin said.
Malin said there were times at the beginning of the campaign when their supporters, some which they didn’t personally know, got out of hand.
He and Gordon said that without their close friends, who they don’t think were involved in the initial campaign banter, they would not feel as confident about the positions they were elected too.
“We had people going through lounges at 7 p.m. today asking students if they wanted to vote,” Gordon said.
Malin added that what they think to be their final vote was secured by a volunteer and friend at 7:58 p.m., with the polls closing at 8 p.m..
Gordon said he thinks their success comes from their specific ideas and goals, in-depth platform and their experience on Student Senate during the past year. He said their campaign tools were helpful, including tabling on The Quad on Monday and Tuesday with the help of friends.
“We had an incredible base of friends who went above and beyond anything we could’ve asked them,” Malin said. “The first thing I want to do right now is hug everyone who has helped us.”
Junior Ryan Nely, current Student Association president, said he was most excited to see the vote overwhelmingly was in favor of Malin-Gordon because he said he thinks he, Malin and Gordon have similar goals and strategies, which shows people were happy with the course Senate was running this past year.
The next step, Malin said, is to fulfill campaign promises.
“Those weren’t empty promises, and I hope that the student body holds us accountable because we’re going to follow through on every single one of them,” he said.