Posted: Friday, March 5, 1:26 a.m.: In a landslide victory, junior Omar Woodard won the Student Association presidency Thursday night, garnering more than two-thirds of the votes cast in a win over junior Lee Roupas.
Sophomore Anyah Dembling narrowly edged junior Ed Buckley in a hotly contested executive vice president contest that was decided by 150 votes.
Supporters mobbed Woodard after it was announced that he had won almost 68 percent of the vote. Woodard attributed his lopsided win to a grass-roots campaign that sought to reach out to “apathetic” students who have been alienated by the SA.
“I’m really excited for the numbers,” Woodard said in an interview shortly after election officials announced the results in the Hippodrome at about midnight. “It really means students are ready for a change.”
Woodard garnered 34 percent of the ballots in the general election last week, but failed to get the 40 percent necessary to win the election outright. Roupas took 23 percent in the initial vote.
Dembling also received the highest amount of votes last week, taking 35 percent of the vote, leading to the runoff with Buckley.
A dejected Roupas huddled with his campaign team before hugging Woodard and congratulating him on his victory.
“Omar will do a great job,” Roupas said. “I’m happy for him, he did great.”
Roupas, who is currently an SA senator, said he was unsure if he would remain active in the organization.
He said that he was happy with the effort his team – which included a student in a monkey suit – made during the run-off campaign.
“We worked so hard this week. I’m so proud of my team, I couldn’t ask for more,” said Roupas, who is also chairman of the College Republicans and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Dembling, who anxiously awaited the results with a flushed face as pink as her campaigners’ T-shirts, held three cell phones in her hands as she told family and friends about the win.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed,” she told the Hatchet. “I just want to catch up on my sleep and say thanks to everyone.”
Despite the loss, Buckley’s supporters rallied around their candidate and chanted a campaign song.
“We ran one of the finest campaigns we’ve ever seen,” he said.
Following a recent trend, the turnout for the runoff was significantly lower than last week’s election, which featured a crowded field of fourteen presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Only 2,174 students went to the polls Wednesday and Thursday compared with 2,990 last week. Last year, about 700 less students voted in the runoff.
Woodard said he wants to reestablish students’ trust in an SA that was plagued last year by a financial scandal that resulted in the resignation of several senators. He also promised to press University officials on student complaints about Student Judicial Services procedures and Greek-letter Townhouse Row.
“This is not going to be…an SA that is deferential to the needs of the administration,” he said.
– Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.
Omar Woodard 1,478 votes 68%
Lee Roupas 696 votes 32%
Anyah Dembling 1,097 votes 54%
Ed Buckley 927 votes 46%