The Associated Students election season has ended with a near split down party lines for the executive officers, but a near landslide victory for Students’ Party Legislative Council candidates.
Open People’s Party candidate Felix Hu won the position of Internal Vice President, SP candidate Bill Shiebler won the position of External Vice President of Statewide Affairs, and SP candidate Joel Rodriguez-Flores won the position of External Vice President of Local Affairs. However, the A.S. President has yet to be decided, as close election results have forced a runoff between OPP candidate Jared Goldschen and SP candidate Romy Frazier.
Because neither Goldschen nor Frazier received 50 percent plus one of students’ votes, but received significantly more than Chilla Vista candidate Jake Lehman, the second choice votes of those who selected Lehman as their first choice will now be used to decide the winner.
“It’s kind of frustrating at this point,” Goldschen said. “The fact that I don’t know my results is not that important. The suspense is killing me, but I’m more bummed about the results that are in.”
As for the legislative branch of A.S., 17 SP candidates – versus OPP’s six – were selected to sit on Leg Council. Of those, there are five SP Reps-at-Large, nine SP off-campus Reps., two SP on-campus Reps. and one SP university-owned Housing Rep. OPP now holds seats for one Rep. at Large, three off-campus Reps. and two on-campus Reps.
Hu won his position with 51.31 percent of the vote compared to Raymond Meza’s 48.69 percent. Rodriguez-Flores won with 51.62, compared to Rame Hanna’s 48.38 percent, and Shiebler won with 59.56 percent compared to Naz Hassanzadeh-Kiabi’s 40.44 percent.
5,003 undergraduates, or 29.56 percent, came out to vote. The turnout was an increase from last year’s 4,733 undergraduate voters – only 27.9 percent of the undergraduate student body.
After the election results were read to the awaiting crowd gathered outside the A.S. main office at around 6 p.m., members of both parties went to celebrate and commiserate their wins and losses. SP candidates and supporters first went to Sam’s To Go, where some got beer and hookah.
“We plan on continuing a lot of the work we did this year – lowering student fees, making sure we have a green campus, holding landlords accountable,” said Sam Marks, a newly re-elected member of Leg Council.
Shiebler said he was happy to win, but sad some of his fellow party members were not selected to serve.
“It’s still marinating,” Shiebler said. “I’m glad that we are going to have a majority on the council. It’s a bittersweet moment because not everyone won.”
While SP members stopped off in downtown Isla Vista, OPP members headed over to a house on Del Playa Drive. The OPP members’ election party was rather calm and somber as most candidates and campaigners talked quietly about the election results while eating pizza. No music was playing at the party and a few of the OPP candidates were absent.
Current A.S. Off-Campus Rep. Eva Kilamyan, an OPP member, was not re-elected, but said she would continue serving in A.S. through other means.
“I thought that Students’ Party was better organized,” Kilamyan said. “That’s why they won. I won last year. I did my time. It was a good experience. I’m definitely still going to be involved next year … maybe in Finance Board.”
Newly elected A.S. Off-Campus Rep. Josh Freeman, an OPP member, said he was shocked by the election results.
“I’m surprised,” Freeman said. “I really did not expect to win … I hope to do some good in I.V. next year … We are new. A lot of people are used to the established Students’ Party.”
Recently elected Off-Campus Rep. Samantha Nevels said she was pleased with her own results, but was disappointed that some of her party members did not make it onto the Council.
“I am ecstatic,” Nevels said. “This is the complete opposite of last year, when I lost. I think OPP will do great next year. This year I felt like I was part of a group … I am a bit disillusioned with the election process. I feel people vote without knowing what’s going on. There are some other people that I felt really deserved to win.”
– Patricia Bobek and Kaitlin Pike contributed to this article.