Competing chants of “Go Pat Go” and “Potter” thundered in J Street early Thursday morning, as campaign supporters awaited vote counts and the announcement of next year’s Student Association president.
But the Joint Elections Committee would return with no victor.
In the closest race for Student Association president in five years, Carrie Potter edged Patrick Macmanus by only 92 votes, forcing a runoff election for the SA’s top spot.
The JEC charter requires a candidate win 40 percent of the vote to capture the seat, but Potter and Macmanus missed the mark at 36.63 percent and 33.75 percent of the vote respectively.
Potter garnered 1,092 votes (36.63 percent) and Macmanus 1,006 (33.75 percent) in a campaign that drew the most voters in a campus election since 1989.
Sabina Siddiqui won 19 percent (563 votes) of the vote for the SA presidency, and Jason Ditzian received nearly 10 percent (9.80).
Now Potter and Macmanus are back on the campaign trail as they prepare to face each other in the runoff next Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It’s very important that over the next week – now more than ever – students know the issues of the two candidates,” Macmanus said after the announcement. “They need to know who’s got the vision, who’s got the issues, who’s get the record.”
“We’re going to do what we need to do to win,” Potter said. “We’re going to close the deal.”
Potter and Macmanus both credited their opponents, Siddiqui and Ditzian, for bringing different issues, perspectives and voters to the race.
“Jason brought up issues that have never been addressed in an SA campaign,” Macmanus said. “He represents students who don’t believe in the SA.”
“I think what I did this year was very viable and totally original,” Ditzian said. “I think it was worth it.”
Potter said she will try to get Siddiqui’s support going into next week’s runoff.
“Both Sabina and I have the same leadership styles and beliefs,” Potter said. “In theory, our philosophies of leadership are the same and I think her supporters would agree with mine.”
After nearly five hours of frenzied cheers and chants, Macmanus and Potter boosters shouted support until the JEC’s announcement at 2:45 a.m.
Among Macmanus’ supporters was his mother, Sandra, who came to D.C. Wednesday from New Jersey to campaign for her son.
“I always told my kids you can’t fix things by complaining,” Mrs. Macmanus said. “The only thing you can do is fix it and make it better. Patrick really internalized that.”
Looking toward another week of campaigning, Potter and Macmanus both said they were overwhelmed by the support they already received during the past three weeks.
“We all just pulled together,” Potter said. “Everything we did was above what I expected . Every night our posters got torn down and the next morning they went back up. We brought in a lot of freshmen and people not involved in the SA.”
“The best part of the campaign was when I had one person come up to me and say, `I believe in you,’ ” Macmanus said.
As Potter looks ahead to another JEC announcement next Wednesday night, she is optimistic the race eventually will lead to an improved SA Potter said.
“It’s going to be a very different SA next year,” Potter said. “It’s going to be a rebuilding year. The presidency will be much more customer-friendly.”
Macmanus echoed Potter’s sentiments.
“Everyone who ran has something to bring to the University,” Macmanus said. “Whoever wins next week will do a fantastic job.”
This year’s race is the first runoff for a campus office since 1995. It was the closest race for SA president since Scott Adams edged Jason Schwartz by six votes to force a runoff in 1993.
-Stacey Felsen, Alison Gazan, Helder Gil and Lee Rumbarger contributed to this report.