In what will be the largest candidate pool since 1992, eight students filed to run for Student Association president by the deadline Friday. After a year of financial scandals, investigations and multiple resignations, candidates said they are looking forward to a clean race.
The candidates, mostly juniors, come from diverse backgrounds with varied amounts of experience with the SA. They include John Costanza, David Feldman, Adam Greenman, Kris Hart, Jon McDaniel, Graham Murphy, Steve Sobel and Daniel Teles.
Many students and SA members said they are not surprised at the large number of students vying for the position.
“A lot of people have been influenced by my grassroots campaign,” current SA President Phil Robinson said. “Things have changed and student politics are now being seen in a different light. It’s exciting that so many people want to get involved in the SA.”
Other students blame SA deficiency for the large turnout.
“The Student Association has been incredibly disappointing,” Sobel said. “(Its) complete lack of accountability and inability to take on student issues has been noticed, and a response from students is now very apparent.”
While only six of 32 current senators are seeking reelection, some of the races will be competitive.
In the largest field, 16 candidates are running for six available undergraduate seats for the Columbian College of Arts and Science.
Sophomore Chrissy Trotta (U-CCAS) will be seeking reelection for her senate seat but said she felt most current senators “were disheartened” by the problems the organization faced this year. She said she is looking forward to the large number of candidates and plans to run on her record.
“Since so many people are running, it will bring a lot of new blood and fresh faces and make the SA an effective organization,” Trotta said. “This is completely different from last year … there are a lot of independent candidates with many different issues.
SA Executive Vice President Eric Daleo, who ran unopposed last year, is also seeking reelection but will be facing competition from five other candidates.
Mundo Acosta, Jason Cabrera, Laura DeLucia, Jeff Schrimmer and Reid Wilson will be contesting Daleo for the number two seat.
“I don’t necessarily have anything against Eric Daleo, but I feel that I can do the job well and reform the SA,” said DeLucia, a junior.
Daleo said he is looking forward to the race.
“I look forward to running again,” Daleo said. “Collecting signatures was a great experience to talk to students, to get in touch with them and hear about their problems.”
Despite the large candidate pool, he remained optimistic about the election.
“I hope to continue to build the Student Association into an accountable and respected organization,” Daleo said.
Both current officials and candidates have recognized the difficulties of a large candidate pool, which will likely lead to a run-off between the top two candidates.
“So many candidates will lead to runoff elections, which leaves little time left for transition,” Robinson said. “Also, it makes it harder for each candidate to make his own personal touch to students. There is only so much media open to student candidates.”
Some candidates, however, said the large number of candidates will ensure that all viewpoints are represented.
“I think it’s great that so many students are running,” Greenman said. “A mix of candidates will allow all of the issues to get out, and everyone will have a different perspective.”
Though some students expected Sen. Dan Moss (U-SBPM) to make a run for president, he said he will be seeking reelection for his Senate seat.
“I want to improve the financial situation of the SA,” said Moss, who is currently chair of the senate Finance Committee. “I’m glad to hear that people want me to run for president, but I don’t feel that I could dedicate my time to that position.”
The candidates have expressed mixed satisfaction with the SA and varying campaign goals.
“I think that the SA has done some really great things this year, though (it’s been) overshadowed (by scandal),” Greenman said.
Murphy, however, expressed less satisfaction with the SA.
“The SA has potential, but it doesn’t seem to do anything,” Murphy said. “Everyone wants to reform the SA, including me, but everyone wants to do it differently.”
Members of the Joint Elections Committee, a five-person panel overseeing the election, said they were hoping for a smooth election.
“It’s great to see so many interested in student government at GW,” said freshman Peter Feldman, a member of the JEC.
Voting is set to take place Feb. 26 and 27 with a runoff scheduled for March 6 and 7.