As the race for the Student Association presidency heats up, two of the senate’s most active members are facing off for the top spot.
Nick Gumas, CCAS-U, and Daniel Egel-Weiss, U-At-Large, will both run for SA president, teeing up a neck-and-neck election that could be tough for outsider candidates to break into, but would give the winner a jumpstart for his campaign goals.
Hours away from the end of candidate registration, this year’s election is also the smallest in years, with just three presidential candidates and two executive vice president candidates as of 4 p.m. So far, all five executive candidates are men.
Both Gumas and Egel-Weiss have served as chairs of senate committees and are already touting their lobbying efforts and ties to top administrations in their campaigns.
“I have two years of experience working with the administration. I know pretty much everybody in the administration,” Egel-Weiss said this week, adding that he’s already starting working on his plans to reform the 4-Ride shuttle system and increase alumni-student interaction at sports games.
Gumas has also touted his Rice Hall connections, which he said would help him achieve goals like creating a peer counseling system and nixing fees for students to receive credit for internships.
“All of the priorities that I’ve outlined are certainly obtainable in a year,” he said. “All of these things we can get to a point where this is going to happen. I’m confident of that.”
Gumas and Egel-Weiss are up against sophomore and SA outsider Ryan Kaminsky, who was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity until it lost its charter in December.
The juniors’ campaigns make it likely that a senator takes the organization’s top seat for the first time in five years. Former Sen. Julie Bindelglass, CCAS-U, won the presidency in 2009.
Still, previous SA experience has been a key factor in recent campaigns. This year’s president Julia Susuni previously served as the organization’s vice president of public affairs, and 2011-2012 president Jason Lifton had been elected executive vice president the prior year.
This year’s executive vice president pool includes one candidate with SA experience, Sen. Chris Stillwell, ESIA-U, as well as sophomore Class Council member Paul Lisbon.
Gumas and Egel-Weiss, who were both elected to the SA Senate as freshmen, have each introduced multiple bills that tackled issues ranging from discrimination in student organizations to setting aside more money for small groups.
Sen. Ryan Counihan, SOB-U, said it was too early in the race to name a front-runner, but said both Gumas and Egel-Weiss would benefit from their relationships with top administrators over the last two years.
“They both have their own records,” said Counihan, who is also chair of the finance committee. “It’s nice to have people coming in that have some record with the SA and know how it works.”
Omeed Firouzi, U-At-Large, said their affiliations in organizations outside the SA would likely make it a competitive race. Gumas and Egel-Weiss boast name recognition as presidents of Allied in Pride and Zeta Beta Tau, respectively.
“They’re both people who clearly have demonstrated that they can display leadership on behalf of students,” he added.