The College Democrats endorsed Alexis Rice and the College Republicans endorsed Phil Meisner for Student Association president when the political groups assembled Thursday for their annual endorsement hearings.
The event drew a crowd of more than 100 students, with about 50 CRs and 50 CDs casting ballots.
The CRs endorsed Meisner and executive vice presidential candidate Cat Sadler in a close vote. The CDs unanimously threw their support to Rice and executive vice presidential candidate Caity Leu.
“This was the biggest of any of the forums,” said CRs Chair Jared Hosid. “What was really positive for me was that this year, we brought people into the picture who wouldn’t normally get involved. Usually, the only people to show are the candidates and their people.”
“Our members came out this year to vote for the candidate who would best represent the organization and the students,” said CD President Marc Shaller.
During the two-hour hearing, more than 50 students running for 15 graduate and undergraduate positions addressed the members.
SA presidential and executive vice presidential candidates delivered a 90-second introduction followed by questions from Hosid and Jennifer Holtz, who represented the CDs. Candidates running for other offices made brief introductions and answered audience questions.
In their brief speeches, the presidential and vice presidential candidates discussed issues such as dining services, housing, campus security, Internet access and use of Web sites to promote activities. Politics and student group funding were among the hotly debated issues.
“Candidates’ track records in fighting for students and student group needs are huge issues that are extremely contested,” Shaller said.
The candidates called the forum a good opportunity to inform students about their platforms.
“I am glad to have a forum to get out ideas to interested people,” said freshman Alli DeSevo, an Elliott School of International Affairs undergraduate Senate candidate.
The CRs ballot also featured a “straw poll” for members to vote for their choice for president in the 2000 election. Front-runners in the poll were Texas Governor George W. Bush, Elizabeth Dole and Hosid.
While CRs and CDs threw their support to different candidates, members of both organizations said they were impressed by the bipartisan nature of the event, a trend they said they hope to continue in the future.
“The bipartisanship of this year between the College Democrats and Republicans is rare,” Shaller said. “It was a breath of fresh air.”