In the most hotly contested Michigan Student Assembly election in recent memory, the long-dominant Students 4 Michigan held off attackers from both sides.
Nicole Stallings and Justin Paul, running on the S4M ticket for president and vice president, garnered 2,774 voters, narrowly edging out the Michigan Progressive Party by 287 votes and the Student Conservative Party by 1,522 votes. The Defend Affirmative Action Party got 402 votes.
S4M also dominated the MSA representative elections, winning 10 seats, seven more than DAAP and MPP, which were the next closest with three seats apiece. SCP won two.
Perhaps because of the influx of new parties, 8,519 voters came out to the polls – substantially more than usual.
When the results were announced, representatives from three of the four parties were present at MSA chambers for a hearing regarding S4M’s alleged election code violations. After the hearing, official election results were released in the form of a printout handed to the respective parties. The party members gathered in silence as they looked over the results.
The permeating silence was only punctuated with small yelps of joy from the members of the S4M camp. The other parties filtered out, leaving S4M members to shake hands and congratulate each other.
President-elect Stallings said she hopes to bridge the gaps between parties that formed during the elections, which will be remembered for the parties’ dirty politicking.
When asked to explain the aggressive campaigning, Stallings said: “It’s a coping method. You haven’t slept, you haven’t eaten, and you haven’t seen your friends.”
Stallings plans on beginning her presidency by ironing out the issues of student group funding and balancing the budget. Her next priority will be tackling a controversial new financial aid form the University is using that factors the income of noncustodial parents into the estimated need of financial aid packages – whether or not the parents pay for tuition or not.
The losing candidates remained optimistic about continuing their fights for their respective issues.
“We did win two people on the assembly,” Fantuzzi said. “We will still fight to bring Coke back to campus. We will be back in the fall.”
MPP presidential candidate Rese Fox will continue to hold her representative seat on the assembly.
“This election was based on issues,” she said. “I’m not going to stop working on them.”
MPP, expected by many to unseat S4M, paralleled the course taken by a similar party five years ago, the University Democrats. Many thought the University Democrats would fare well in the election due to its name – which was thought to attract the large Democrat base on campus- and the long list of organizations that supported it.
Instead, the University Democrats fared poorly in the two elections in which it participated, gaining only a few seats in the assembly.
In last year’s election, outgoing MSA President Jesse Levine won with 75 percent of the vote, compared with Stallings’s 40 percent this year. His only challenger was DAAP.
Candidates will be sworn in next Tuesday during the assembly’s meeting at 7:30 p.m. in MSA chambers.