Meisner defeats Rice for SA presidency

Student Association President-elect Phil Meisner left a crowd of cheering supporters to call his mother and father early Friday morning after being declared the winner in last week’s runoff.

But Meisner said it was hard to explain to his parents that he actually won.

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“What’s been going on is difficult to explain with all of the recounts and miscounts,” Meisner said. “I think we’re going to run into this problem as well next year.”

Meisner received 54 percent of the runoff vote (796 votes) to Alexis Rice’s 45.8 percent (672).

The Joint Elections Committee declared Alexis Rice president-elect after the March 3-4 election. But recounts indicated she was a few votes short of the 40 percent necessary to win outright, placing her in the runoff election that Meisner won.

Meisner said next year’s elected officials will have to focus on rebuilding what he calls “a shattered kingdom.”

“The Hatchet editorial said the SA shot itself in the head with the help of the JEC this year and we did. Now we have to perform emergency surgery,” Meisner said. “We have to begin planning because we have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to now rebuild the house we spent over two months destroying.”

Rice said she agreed next year will be difficult because of the problems generated by the miscounts and the election in general.

“The SA has lost a lot of credibility during the elections,” Rice said. “I hope the new elected officials can work hard for students so students can have more respect for the SA. I wish everyone elected the best of luck.”

Rice said she was disappointed, and somewhat surprised, to learn she lost the election, but she said she is happy with the way she conducted her campaign.

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“We thought we had a good chance of a second victory,” she said. “It’s a hard thing to be already declared winner, and then later be declared not. But I am proud we can say we ran a fair, clean, honest campaign, following the rules. I just hope the JEC next year will handle things in a more responsible manner.”

Meisner, who received fewer votes than Rice in the preliminary election, said he also was somewhat surprised by the results, but attributes his win to the dedication of his supporters and being on the runoff ballot. In the original election, the JEC removed Meisner from the ballot, but he continued to run a write-in campaign.

“I was sitting here before and I felt it was over; I thought it was lost,” Meisner said. “I was surprised when I won but we had the energy and we maintained our momentum and that helped us. It also tends to help when you’re a candidate and you’re on the ballot, which I was this time.”

Rice said she believes she lost votes because many students, including graduate students whom she said supported her campaign, decided not to vote in the runoff because they were disgusted with the election.

Rice and Meisner said they were happy the election was finally over.

“Win or lose, I’m glad to have some closure,” Rice said. “Now everyone can move on. I can work on my academics and hang out with friends. I can move forward and look toward the future.”

But Meisner said it is hard to believe it is all over.

“It feels like an incredible weight has been lifted,” Meisner said, standing outside the bowling alley on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center. “Geez, I really hope it’s all over. If it’s not all over, Alexis and I may have to bowl to see who gets to be president.”

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