Cardona and Wharton elected ASSU executives

April 12, 2010, 1:06 a.m.
Cardona and Wharton elected ASSU executives
ASSU executives-elect Kelsei Wharton, left, and Angelina Cardona. (ALEX YU/Staff Photographer)

Angelina Cardona ’11 and Kelsei Wharton ’12 beat out five other slates to win the position of ASSU executive on Saturday, defeating Ryan Peacock and Jonathan Bakke, both doctoral students in chemical engineering, in the final round of runoff voting by a margin of more than 500 votes.

Cardona and Wharton are the latest in a line of executives who have adopted the mold of an ASSU that attempts to tackle broad student life issues dealing with public service and campus wellness.

Two years ago, Jonny Dorsey ’08 and Fagan Harris ’08 were elected on a mandate of transforming the ASSU into a “big picture” student government. Last spring, David Gobaud, a Dorsey-Harris cabinet member and coterminal student in computer science, was elected president after running on a platform that continued many of the priorities of his predecessor.

Cardona, who served as co-chief of staff and wellness chairperson for the Dorsey-Harris administration, told The Daily it was a call from Dorsey and Harris that led her to declare her candidacy in this election.

Juniors Thom Scher and Stephanie Werner came in third on Saturday, followed by G-MRDA juniors Austin Guzman and Patrick Mahoney, Katherine Heflin ’11 and Dan Leifer ’10 of the No Rain Campaign and Two Dope Boys in a Caddylack Billy Kemper ’11 and Josh Meisel ’12.

Undergraduates, who turned out in far greater numbers than graduates, ruled the polls, leaving even Peacock unsurprised at the results.

“I mean, it turned out about how I figured. I predicted about a 600-vote [difference],” Peacock said on Saturday. “Last night we saw the grad turnout …we were hoping for turnout more like two years ago. When we saw 1,900 [graduate votes], the writing was on the wall.”

While David Gobaud paved the path to the ASSU presidency for graduate students, Peacock and Bakke ran a campaign that was very different from Gobaud’s winning campaign with Jay de la Torre ’10 last year. While Cardona, a freshman resident assistant in Trancos, and Wharton, the deputy chair of the Undergraduate Senate, covered undergraduate residences with flyers, t-shirts and word of mouth, Peacock and Bakke, both doctoral students, relied mainly on electronic campaigning.

When Gobaud won last year’s election, he had spent a full year working with Dorsey and Harris, and after losing the presidential race two years ago with a coterminal student, Greg Goldgof, as his running mate, Gobaud partnered with undergraduate de la Torre.

De la Torre stepped down in November after he was suspended for one quarter for cheating in a computer science class.

Without a strong undergraduate base, Peacock and Bakke were forced to depend on graduate turnout, and when they couldn’t bring enough graduates to the polls, were unsuccessful in their bid for executive.

Scher and Werner, early frontrunners and the first serious contenders to declare their candidacy, were more than a thousand votes behind Cardona and Wharton in the first round of voting.

The pair, who ran on a “students first” platform, struggled with endorsements; they did not win the endorsement of The Stanford Review, which went to Peacock and Bakke, or SOCC, which went to Cardona and Wharton. They walked out of an interview for The Daily’s endorsement, which also went to Cardona and Wharton.

Guzman and Mahoney finished behind Scher and Werner, running on a practical campaign centered around helping students with common problems like theft and party planning.

The No Rain Campaign, which waged an untraditional, quirky campaign, finished just behind Guzman and Mahoney; the two slates had the same number of votes in the first round, and Guzman and Mahoney beat them out by just seven votes in the second round.

Two Dope Boys in a Caddylack, best known for their rambunctious debate performance the week prior to the election, was the last-place slate, winning only 288 first choice votes.

After two weeks of campaigning, the candidates were an exhausted bunch on Saturday, eager to find out the results.

“I’m excited — exhausted, but excited,” said Wharton, the new vice president. “I woke up about 15 minutes before this and slowly walked over here.”

Wharton’s running mate, Cardona, who will become president on April 24, shares his excitement.

“I’m excited to celebrate tonight and also get to work,” Cardona said.

A version of this story originally appeared online on April 10.

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