“Tell Mom we won!”
Carrie Potter, GW’s first female Student Association president, could not hold back tears as she spoke to her sister in Nebraska, minutes after hearing the runoff election results in J Street Wednesday night.
“I’m just so happy with everything that has happened,” Potter said. “We did it our way and we did it right.”
A huddle of supporters surrounded the president-elect and chanted “Potter” as she took turns hugging and posing for pictures after the announcement.
Potter garnered 1,662 votes in the runoff election, 570 more than she received in last week’s general election.
Patrick Macmanus, who received 40 percent of the vote, acknowledged Potter’s work for the University.
“Carrie inspires people,” Macmanus said. “People have to find in an individual what their hope for the future is.”
Potter said her focus on academics and campus diversity helped propel her to the SA presidency. She also said her victory showed women are capable of handling leadership positions.
“When it came down to it, it was who would be the best for the job,” she said. “The person with the best leadership skills and the best support team won.”
Potter said the endorsement of Sabina Siddiqui, a former presidential candidates in this year’s election who won about 20 percent of the vote, was crucial to her victory. Potter’s votes in the runoff exceeded the total votes Siddiqui and she, combined, captured in the general election.
“It helped because it makes us continue to believe we are doing the right thing,” she said. “We campaigned under the same goals of making the SA a diverse body.”
Potter said she was surprised at the large voter turnout and that she won by a margin of more than 500 votes.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Potter said. “We knew people who believed in me would come out again.”
The runoff turnout closely matched that of the election last week – only 172 fewer votes were cast this week. The 2,809 votes cast in the runoff was a large contrast to the last runoff in 1995, where 1,595 students voted and Mark Reynolds won the presidency.
Potter said she came into the runoff with confidence since she had received the most votes of any presidential candidate. But SA rules require a candidate win 40 percent to claim victory in the general election.
“We kept doing the same thing we’ve been doing all along,” she said. “Win or lose this race, we knew we’d win overall.”
Macmanus hugged a large group of supporters after the announcement was made and stood on a table to blow kisses to his family.
“I’m disappointed, obviously, that I lost,” Macmanus said. “I thought I was going to be a lot more upset, honestly.”
Macmanus said he enjoyed the experience of campaigning and echoed sentiments of his mother that he would learn from his mistakes. “I’ve taken this as the single greatest life lesson,” he said.
“I am eminently proud of him,” Sandra Macmanus said of her son. “Pat and I talked last night at length and I told him, `Real stupid is someone who makes the same mistakes consistently and expects different outcomes.’ “Macmanus said he will stay active in the Senate for the rest of his tenure, and that he would be happy to assist Potter.
“No one’s seen the last of Patrick Macmanus,” he said. He said he would continue to work to increase school spirit on campus.
“I want to make sure my final goal – instilling a sense of hope on campus – gets done,” Macmanus said.
Macmanus had kind words for the president-elect.
“She’s a student leader – people recognize that,” he said.
Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar, current SA president, said he expects a smooth transition between him and Potter.
“This was an amazing election,” Golparvar said. “It was extremely intense and both campaigns should be commended.”
Jesse Strauss, who last week was elected executive vice president for next year, posed for photos with Potter after the announcement.
“Tonight was the real victory,” he said.