Cait Zona and Jarell Jones were announced today as the winners of the 2015 SGA presidential elections. Bernard Wilchusky and Nada Hassanein, Central Florida Future
Cait Zona and Jarell Jones have won the race for the new SGA president and vice president, as was announced at the Student Union patio stage Wednesday evening.
"I'm just very overwhelmed by the support," a teary-eyed Zona said. "Overwhelmed and definitely humbled by everyone being here ... We've been working tirelessly."
The crowd of nearly 100 students gathered outside the Student Union more than an hour before the announcement, awaiting the new winners. Supporters donned in mostly "Cait & Jarell" shirts cheered wildly as the SGA Election Commission announced the new leadership, who topped their opponents with 63.74 percent of more than 7,000 total votes.
"I'm just overwhelmed with excitement, joy," Jones said. "I'm happy — we've been doing this for three days straight ... glad it's over now."
A throng of jumping supporters, some crying, others cheering, enveloped Zona in a circle of cheer — among them, a tearful Melissa Westbrook, former SGA student body president and adamant Cait & Jarell endorser. Zona appeared so moved by the news that she had bitten her lip out of excitement and was bleeding.
"I am so, so, so proud of these two. Good will always wins ... I have so much faith in these two. It's literally impeccable the amount of faith I have in them," said Westbrook, who added that if there had been runoff elections next week, she would have gladly taken off hours from her two jobs just to help campaign.
Weston Bayes, 2014-15 SGA president who had endorsed the campaign, said he was also happy that Cait & Jarell would soon take the reigns.
"The right people definitely came out on top and I think even with the food being out [of campaigning] … they made a great decision for Cait and Jarell," Bayes said. "I look forward to seeing what they'll bring this year and I look forward to transitioning them."
Candidate Brian Zagrocki received 28.22 percent of votes and Richard Stein received 8.02 percent. Election statutes state the winners of the race must receive 50 percent plus one of the total votes.
Zagrocki and his running mate, Alex Bennett, were not at the announcement. Stein and his running mate Mo Barhamje were present and took to shaking hands with Zona and Jones afterward.
Despite having lost the race, Stein said he was still glad he had made it so far.
"I'm happy we got eight percent ... about how it turned out with the impact we had without much money," Stein said.
Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_or email her at NadaH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.