Alexis Rice got good news as the sun rose over J Street Thursday morning.
The Joint Elections Committee declared Rice the new Student Association president after more than six hours of waiting for results.
“I’m really shocked,” said Rice, who received 868 votes. “We ran a clean, honest, fair campaign that was focused on the issues and that’s what I’m proud of.”
Rice received 41 percent of the vote to defeat Phil Meisner, who garnered 37 percent in a write-in campaign. Ed Meinert finished with 12 percent of the vote and Paul Prados received 7 percent.
Caity Leu and Cat Sadler will face each other next week in a runoff for SA executive vice president, defeating Derek Grosso in a tight race.
“I’d rather not have a runoff, but it was a really tough race,” Leu said. “I want to bring the troops home and win this one.”
Sadler, visibly shaken by Meisner’s loss, said she was surprised that she will advance to a runoff.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I haven’t thought about what I am going to do with the campaign next week, but I am going to get some sleep and some rest, but I’m not happy.”
Grosso lost the opportunity to advance to a runoff by 5 votes.
“This was a rough race,” he said. “It was very professional.”
Leu won 34 percent of the vote and Sadler received 32 percent. A candidate must win 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.
Of 2,119 students who voted for SA president, 1,598 voted with write-in ballots, which led to a long delay in vote tally.
Hour after hour, eager students waited in J Street Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. And at 5 a.m., after numerous promises of “results in a half hour,” GW students still did not know who their new SA president would be.
“It’s taking forever,” said sophomore Brad Kellogg. “I have class tomorrow morning and this is crazy.”
With members of the Joint Elections Committee counting ballots upstairs, anxious students sat through the Monica Lewinsky story on television, performances by the Pitches and the Troubadours and numerous interviews with the candidates.
“I had time to watch Monica tonight,” Rice said. “It was good, and it was relaxing.”
While some candidates avoided J Street until early in the morning, others sat waiting.
“There should be a better process,” Leu said. “I think it’s completely ridiculous to hold people in J Street to the wee hours of the sunrise.”
JEC officials said an exorbitant amount of write-in ballots contributed to the delay in results.
“We want to make sure we’re not wrong, no matter what,” said Kristen-Marie Kaczynski, the JEC’s spokesperson.
In an organized attempt to gain write-in votes, Meisner, Sadler and other candidates who were removed from the ballot distributed stickers with their names on them, so voters could save time.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Meisner said. “We clearly had the necessity there.”
Rice becomes the second woman to serve as SA president, following current President Carrie Potter. And the SA is guaranteed a female EVP.
But for now, Rice hopes to sit back and enjoy her victory and her 21st birthday this weekend.
“I’ll be celebrating,” she said.
-Theresa Crapanzano, Francesca Di Meglio, Andrew Ganz, Tammy Imhoff, Steven Postal and Jason Steinhardt contributed to this report.