In what the other presidential tickets called a “surprising twist,” write-ins Ben Walker and William Overmann dropped out of the race for student government president and vice president, endorsing competitors Andy Moores and Paul Wade.
Relieved the campaign process is over, Walker and Overmann, who made the announcement at the start of the formal presidential debates Wednesday night, said this decision was about a week-in-the-making after it was determined in discussions with Moores and Wade that the two campaigns were too similar.Overmann said they decided to “rally support behind one set of candidates” rather than split the efforts of two similarly aligned campaigns and that Moores and Wade are “helping to get the same message” across as they had envisioned.
Outside the Lory Student Center Theater after the debate, a smiling Wade said the two tickets agreed that each represented a unique brand of politics but thought Wade and Moores could more successfully achieve the transparency and fiscal responsibility the duos emphasized on their platforms.
” . We just have similar ideals,” Wade said, conceding that Walker and Overmann’s endorsement was “a wonderful consolidation” of energy and ideas.
Walker and Overmann confirmed that they plan to remain involved in the Associated Students of CSU and campus affairs as much as possible next year.
Current ASCSU President Taylor Smoot said it’s rare for a ticket to “just drop off” but that he wasn’t surprised, saying he didn’t “think (Overmann and Walker) were serious from the get-go.”
After the formal debate period, during which candidates were asked four questions and given time for response and rebuttal, audience members posed questions to either individual or all candidates concerning:
The future structure of RamRide
The effect of out-of-state tuition caps on in-state tuition rates
Candidates’ commitment to engaging students in future administration decisions
Obtaining a student seat on the CSU System Board of Governors and
The validity of current campaign promises.
Shaun Reed and Melisa Panagakos said if elected they will push to make RamRide a separate institution from ASCSU and that the autonomy will give RamRide leaders the opportunity to make improvements and develop the program.
Tim Hole, who is running for ASCSU vice president along side Dan Gearhart, said he was pleased there weren’t any “direct attacks” throughout the debate and that they feel strong going into the debate scheduled today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the LSC.
All of the campaigns said they considered the debate an ideal opportunity to gain input from the student constituency and allow for their platforms to reflect these discussions.
Presidential candidate Conrad Miller, running with Jacob Donovan, said the process of building an effective campaign is “keeping your mind open.”
Running for office and establishing a successful platform is “an ongoing process,” Miller said. Both he and Donovan said while they feel confident in their platform overall, they the said the debate offered a chance to “take a step back (to) reevaluate” their overall campaign goals.
After hearing the candidates defend their platforms to almost 80 students and ASCSU members, Smoot said, “We have a really good crop of candidates this year,” but that “each (platform) has some holes to a limited extent.”
“I don’t think they all did research into the power the ASCSU president has,” Smoot said, explaining that he thinks the candidates with “expensive promises” will inevitably run into opposition from administrators and legislatures at some point down the line.
Smoot offered some advice to the future presidential leaders.
“Who ever gets elected should follow through on their campaign promises,” he said, “Or they should prepare themselves for a very long year.”
Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at email@example.com.