Student Council president race goes uncontested
Third-year College student Eric McDaniel to run unopposed
According to the newly released ballot from the University Board of Elections, third-year College student Eric McDaniel will be running unopposed for Student Council president, marking the first time in at least 10 years the position has gone uncontested.
McDaniel must still collect 300 signatures to run, but with the Monday deadline for candidate registration having past, no other candidates can put their name in for the race.
Though running uncontested, McDaniel still hopes to speak with students about his plan, as well as to participate in endorsement interviews. He has already held meetings with representatives from the Minority Rights Council and the Inter-Fraternity Council to gather input from student organizations on what they would like to see from Council in the coming term.
McDaniel said that no other candidates publicly expressed serious interest in running for the position. “There were information sessions [about the position] and there were always rumors — in students leadership circles people always speculate — but it’s not always based on fact,” he said. “I don’t feel comfortable speculating on why it happened.”
It’s unusual for a University-wide position to be uncontested, said elections board Chair Jessica Hassanzadeh, a fourth-year College student. “Last year the StudCo Presidential race was closely contested, with five students running,” Hassanzadeh said in an email. “Both the current [Vice President for Organizations] and [Vice President of Administration] races have at least three candidates vying for the position, which is more on trend with years past.”
Though he is now comfortably sitting as the de facto president-elect, McDaniel said he recognized the benefits of a contested election.
“I wouldn’t have minded going through with the whole campaign,” he said. “Would I have preferred that this be a contested election? Yes. That being said, every student at the University had the opportunity to sign up for this race and none but myself chose to do so.”
Neil Branch, previously rumored as a potential candidate for president, is seeking re-election as vice president for organizations in a contested race. “A lot of people have asked me [why I’m not running for president] and I think it’s a justified question,” Branch said. “At the end of the day, you need to look at where you can best serve the students, and I think the VPO needs to be there for two years to observe the process and see where changes need to be made.”
Branch speculated the uncontested race for president may raise questions among students about Council operations, but still thought elections would cause debate. “I don’t have an explanation for why [the presidential race] is uncontested, but it will increase attention on the VP race and hopefully draw greater scrutiny to what their platforms are,” he said.