SGA election to continue with runoff
Candidates hope second time’s the charm
Published: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Updated: Thursday, February 19, 2009 22:02
A runoff election will ensue next week between Brian Peterson and Andrick Lewis and Andrew Stein and Chace Peckham, for student body president and vice president.
Nearly 300 supporters decked in green, blue and black T-shirts huddled outside the Student Union Wednesday waiting for the week's election results. One supporter even brought a slobbering Saint Bernard adorned with campaign stickers.
The Election Commission reported the election results for both runoff candidates and Stephen Mortellaro and Brendon Rivard, a third ticket vying for student body president and vice president, just before 5:30 p.m.
Peterson, Lewis, Stein and Peckham will take the stage in front of the Student Union Friday in another debate at noon. Students may vote in the runoff election beginning Feb. 23.
Lewis said he was "feeling exceptional" after the results were announced.
"I wasn't sure whether or not we were making it to the next round," Lewis said. "I knew there was going to be a [runoff], but I wasn't sure if we would be there. I like to be realistic. I like to be optimistic, too."
Stein and Peckham captured the majority of the vote with just over 38 percent of the student vote.
Shortly after the announcement, Stein was quietly sitting on a bench absorbing the excited chaos on campus.
"I am excited that we got the most votes of the three," Stein said. "The margin was unexpectedly close. I was very surprised at how close it came."
The second runoff ticket was separated by 111 votes, according the Election Commission results. Peterson and Lewis will rally again next week with 31.03 percent of the vote. Mortellaro and Rivard were close behind with 30.02 percent.
"It's not about winning," Rivard said. "It's about getting your message out."
Rivard also said he was not yet supporting another ticket.
Mortellaro was all smiles.
"I am feeling just fine," he said. "The week went excellent. I had the absolute best team of campaigners that I could have ever hoped to have. I would do this all over again if I had to. I wouldn't change a thing, except maybe win!"
Mortellaro also said he will be supporting Peterson and Lewis' campaign in the coming election.
"They are the best guys for the job," he said.
Stein was pleased with the week and wondered how the green support will change the election.
"I think what we did worked, and I think we just need to do it again," Stein said. "Now that [students] only have two [tickets] to choose from, it's just going to be interesting to see where the voters go."
Just under 11,000 students voted in the week's election, according the Election Commission—almost 1,000 less than last year.
Supervisor of Elections Marlee Popluder said the student turnout was pretty good, but campaign supporters like Patrick Horn said he hopes more students come out next week.
"I think this week was a very tough battle between all three [candidates]," Horn, a sophomore electrical engineer supporting the Peterson and Lewis ticket, said. "Overall, I think it went pretty well. I'd like to get a little bit more voter turnout."
Horn plans to pull in the green ticket's voters in the upcoming week.
"I have had a lot of my friends that are on the green ticket come up to me and say, ‘Yes, we'd like to work with you guys. Get us some black shirts,'" Horn said. "So I'm pretty excited about that."
Peckham is also looking forward to the upcoming week.
"I think it was a fun three days," Peckham said. "It's going to be another fun three days coming up. We have great support. I think we did everything right that we could do. We just have to work that much harder. It feels good."
Stein and Peckham supporters said they hope to unleash a few surprises in the runoff.
Ryan Garrett, president of Phi Delta Theta, said he was keeping some of Stein and Peckham's campaign secrets confidential.
"We have a couple big guns we are pulling out," Garrett said. "Andrew/Chace is the way for UCF to go right now."