Three GW undergradautes were shut out of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Tuesday’s election as local residents rallied to keep ANC 2A student-free as it has been for almost three decades.
The trio hoped to become the first students on the board, but lost in tight local races in which their candidacies sparked much of the election debate.
Some candidates said they will contest the results because voters were given incorrect ballots (see related story). Results will not be certified until later this month.
GW graduate Richard Sheehey, University employee and GW alumnus Greg Scoma, and retired Foggy Bottom resident Barbara Spillinger were elected to their first terms on the commission, according to preliminary results.
Present ANC Chair Dorothy Miller recaptured her seat in single-member district 2A05, defeating GW junior Ed Meinert by 45 votes. Miller received 151 votes (58.5 percent) and Meinert garnered 106 votes (41.1 percent).
Two other GW juniors were defeated. Alan Elias received 22 percent of the vote in ANC 2A04 against Spillinger, and Steven Mandelbaum lost as a write-in candidate in ANC 2A06 against Scoma and incumbent Sara Maddux.
Elias said although he lost his race, he is glad he ran.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I learned more from the ANC than I have in any political science class.”
Voters from the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods weathered daylong rain to cast ballots in one of the most candidate-packed ANC races in D.C. All but one race was contested.
Freshman Barnes Brooks, who lives in Thurston Hall, said he voted for Meinert because he is a GW student.
“I heard there was a GW student running, and I thought I should support him,” Brooks said. “(Meinert) came by and introduced himself. Since he goes to GW, GW people should support him. I think it would be a great thing to have GW representation (on the ANC) because GW is part of the community.”
Student candidates said they ran for the ANC to give students a voice on the commission because the University lies within three of the six single-member districts in Ward 2A. At least 75 percent of the business that comes before the ANC involves GW, said Maria Tyler, who ran unopposed for her fifth term in ANC 2A03.
In the closest race, Scoma, a GW security and safety specialist who is taking graduate courses at GW, won by one vote over Maddux, an employee of the State Department and a GW alumna.
Scoma said the close margin has him worried that additional absentee ballots may turn the election.
“It kind of takes the fun out of it because part of me wants to enjoy it but part of me knows there may be a late absentee ballot in the mail,” Scoma said.
Fewer than 100 voters came out in Scoma’s single-member district. Thirty-four of the votes went to Scoma, Maddux had 33 votes and 29 ballots were cast for write-in candidates. Mandelbaum, one of the three undergraduate candidates, ran as a write-in candidate.
With more than twice the number of votes, 2A02 incumbent Richard Price, an employee of the Congressional Research Service, defeated Mark Schaefer, a GW Law School alumnus.
In a race between GW alumni, Sheehey defeated Susana Bara?ano in ANC 2A01. He won with 62 percent of the votes.
Despite the loss, Elias said student candidates were trailblazers.
“I’m not tremendously upset because we set a precedent (Tuesday),” Elias said.-Matt Berger contributed to this report