After what has been one of the most controversial elections in UCF’s history, the Student Government Association announced Wednesday that Christopher Clemente and Rachel Altfield have won the SGA presidency and vice presidency.
“I’m a little speechless just because of the amazing support we’ve seen throughout this whole entire few weeks, but also throughout the last three days,” Atlfield said. “People have literally been here since 6 o’clock in the morning until 9 o’clock at night. The support, the energy from everyone has just been incredible and I’m so grateful.”
“We couldn’t have done it without our friends and family,” Clemente added. “We’re incredibly humbled, incredibly honored, to be given this opportunity and we’re going to do everything we can to realize our KnightVision.”
After polls closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday following a three-day voting window, a crowd gathered outside the Student Union, waiting for almost an hour to hear the announcement.
Supporters, dressed mostly in yellow “Chris and Rachel” shirts, screamed wildly as the results were announced, declaring that Clemente and Altfield had beat their opponents with 67.7 percent of 3,670 votes.
The actual vote count was 4,000, but 230 were write-in votes that didn’t count towards deciding the race.
A throng of people engulfed the winners as soon as the announcement was made and Clemente and Altfield both broke out in tears. A teary Clemente hugged his mom, dad and little sister as he tried to compose himself for press interviews.
“He’s very articulate and he’s very passionate about what he believes in and what he feels and I think he’s going to do a great job,” said Clemente’s mother, Renée.
“He’s very smart, very knowledgeable. He’s book smart and he loves to read. He researches all the issues,” added his father, Tom.
Anthony Safadi and Ali Nassereddin earned 32.3 percent of the vote. Election statutes state the winners of the race must receive 50 percent plus one of the total votes.
“In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail,” Safadi said, smiling grimly.
“The tougher the lesson, the bigger the blessing. Onwards and upwards,” added his running mate Nassereddin, who later approached Clemente and Altfield with congratulations.
Despite their joy over the news, Clemente and Altfield said they were already looking ahead to the responsibilities of their new positions and to fulfilling their campaign promises.
The first step, Clemente said, is selecting the most qualified cabinet to ensure that every position is held by the individuals that can do it the best and that can act on their platform “to enhance the student experience.”
“And definitely working on our platform points,” Altfield added. “We’ve had a lot of platform points and we really hope to accomplish if not all, like most.”
“Thank you and sorry for barraging you with all our campaign materials and asking if you voted, but above all, thank you,” Clemente said, when asked if he had a message he wanted to share with UCF’s student body.
“It wasn’t an easy ride, but we’re so blessed to be here,” Altfield said.
This article was originally published at6:21 p.m. EDT March 30, 2016
Deanna Ferrante is a digital producer with the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @deannaferrante or email her at DeannaF@centralfloridafuture.com.