In the closest election race in five years, Cooper Anderson and Jennifer Babos emerged as student governmentâ€™s top leaders Wednesday night.
The winning team grasped their candidacy by only 88 votes, said Matt Strauch, spokesperson for the Associated Students of CSU. In total, 21.6 percent, or 4,779 students, cast their vote in the 2010 elections as compared with the 5,583 who voted in 2009.
â€œAfter four oâ€™clock I relaxed a little because I knew it was out of my hands,â€ Babos said. Searching for words to describe the moments leading up to the results announcement, she said all she could remember was her heart starting to race.
â€œIt kind of leaves me speechless,â€ Anderson said as the Senate chambers emptied after the announcement and his family ÂÂâ€“â€“ mother, grandmother, father and fraternity brothers ÂÂâ€“â€“ watched from the gallery.
The best part about the campaigning process, he said, was meeting new students and hearing their thoughts, which he said makes him proud to be a part of the CSU community.
Comprised of â€œbig, bold ideas,â€ the Anderson/Babos platform tackles: enhancing sexual assault education, working with lawmakers to save higher education in Colorado, increasing RamRideâ€™s fleet, ending 7 a.m. finals, reworking CSUâ€™s grading system and lighting the historic Aggie â€œAâ€ to promote school spirit.
When asked how they plan to celebrate the big win, Babos pointed to the gallery at her friends and said â€œwith friends and family, those amazing people who make me happy.â€
Jack Becker and Darrie Burrage came in second with 2,068 votes, and ousted candidates David Ambrose and April Ragland got 323 write-in votes.
Becker, who was overwhelmed with emotion, said he had nothing but positive feelings about the election outcome and was excited to work with the president-elect and vice-president elect in the future.
â€œRight now I feel perfect, I mean, I feel great,â€ he said, adding that he couldnâ€™t believe so many students voted for their ticket.
Ambrose and Ragland, who were booted from the campaign after a chorus of complaints was filed against them, â€œfirmly support the decision made by the student body,â€ they said in a press release.
The team was the first in ASCSU history to be dismissed from elections for exceeding their $2,000 campaign budget limit by nearly $1,000.
The Elections Committee ruled that Ambrose and Ragland violated committee rules when they hand delivered literature to the residence halls surpassing CSU mailing and postage policy. The committee determined the fair market value of the postage was $1,260, or 28 cents per handbill.
After filing an appeal with the ASCSU Supreme Court against the committeeâ€™s decision, the court upheld the price of postage and the Ambrose/Ragland ticket were officially out of the race.
The team urged supporters to write them in, claiming it would prompt change within the organization. But after losing, they congratulated Anderson and Babos.
The first thing on their agenda, Babos said, will be to rework and balance the ASCSU budget â€“â€“ a task they have less than a week to complete.
â€œIn the next five days, theyâ€™ve got a lot on their plate,â€ said current Vice President Tim Hole, adding that he has faith in Anderson and Babosâ€™s ability to serve the students.
As a token of advice, Hole said the team should carefully handpick their staff, become well versed in ASCSUâ€™s inner-workings â€“â€“ particularly getting â€œup to speedâ€ on how to run Student Fee Review Board â€“â€“, build strong relationships with university administration and, most importantly, stay focused.
â€œIn the beginning, a lot of people are going to be pulling them in different directions, and itâ€™s challenging to stay focused,â€ he said.
After one of the most controversial elections in ASCSU history, Hole said he thinks the duo will be able to pick up the pieces and successfully run the organization, even if itâ€™s a little more challenging than in years past.
â€œI think we always go through the tearing and healing process,â€ he said.
Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.