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UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Editorial: Exciting SG elections ring in new era

To borrow a line from sports broadcasting legend Al Michaels, Do you believe in miracles?

The Yellow Party achieved the seemingly impossible in the Student Government spring 2010 general elections, dethroning the electorally dominant Red Team Party.

The Red Team, or some iteration thereof, maintained an impressive undefeated record over the last 15 SG elections, including seven consecutive student body presidential contests.

Yellow Party sweat equity and a surprise assist from the United Osprey Party stymied the Red Team from adding to this intimidating string of victories.

Student Body President-elect Sitou Byll-Cataria and Student Body Vice President-elect Giovannie Medina virtually came out of nowhere.

Yellow flawlessly executed an under-the-radar, grassroots campaign comprised of students from various backgrounds and student associations.

The student body rewarded Yellow’s weeks of indefatigable campaigning with a near electoral sweep.

Not only did Yellow capture the SG Executive Branch, 10 out of its 11 Senate candidates (out of 20 general seats total) were also elected.

Byll-Cataria and Medina aggressively mobilized their party, promising their constituents change and transparency if elected.

That sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

While the Spinnaker congratulates the Yellow Party on their improbable victory, we’re not going to simply take them at their word or pull any punches when it comes to holding them to it.

Yellow talked a big game. We’d like to believe in them. But we will be applying the same standard of scrutiny and accountability to the new administration that we do to all elected officials.

No pressure, gentlemen.

Perhaps the most curious development of the election was the abrupt exit of outgoing Student Body Vice President and United Osprey presidential candidate Mike Saathoff from the race.

Saathoff sagaciously read the tealeaves and decided the best chance to derail his former party was to throw his support behind Yellow.

Without Saathoff’s support, it’s difficult to envision Yellow pulling off the upset. United Ospreys unquestionably played kingmaker. But it was well within its rights to endorse another candidate. It’s still a free country — at least until the neoconservatives take over again.

Though Red may demur, Saathoff, his running mate Brandon Alanis and their team are exemplars of political pragmatism.

United Ospreys deserve plaudits for its decision to put their convictions above personal gain.

Red Team presidential candidate Tom Blanchard deserves praise, as well, for breaking the longstanding tradition of losing candidates filing frivolous election violation claims against their opponents.

Paraphrasing Saathoff, this election wasn’t muddy, but it sure as hell was murky.

The distinction between negative campaigning and dirty politics is an important, though subtle one. It’s a fine line, but we don’t think any of the three parties crossed it.

Tensions ran high in this competitive contest. And while we can’t say it was exactly a clean election, we can say there were no blatant, infamous or decisive violations.

We thank Blanchard, his running mate Laura McGregor and their team for coming to the same conclusion and deciding to let votes decide the outcome of the race instead of litigation. It couldn’t have been an easy decision to make.

We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize SG Elections Supervisor Erica Richey for the great job she did in organizing and administering the election.

Last fall, when elections were canceled due to a dearth of interested candidates, we went to great lengths to castigate SG and Richey in particular.

The editorial page, by its very nature, can never be wrong in sentiment. Therefore, this should not be taken as a retraction of last year’s sardonic barrage.

However, if we can dish out opprobrium when we feel compelled to do so, surely we can convey approbation when it is earned.

We commend Richey for bringing order to chaos and conducting a fair, smooth election.

Lastly, congratulations are in order for the student body.

You showed up to vote in record numbers. Pat yourselves on the back. You we’re engaged in the process … OK, maybe you were just there for the free pizza and election merch, but humor us.

All kidding aside, we believe the student body took this election seriously, got excited and got involved. As it should be.

Students’ voices were heard, and a new day has dawned in SG.

Here’s to a new direction.

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