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The Daily Wildcat

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Allen Wins Again

Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

James Allen, political science junior, celebrates after Thursdays special election. Allen won with 66 percent of the vote, while Daniel Hernandez brought in 21 percent of the vote.
Ernie Somoza
Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat James Allen, political science junior, celebrates after Thursday’s special election. Allen won with 66 percent of the vote, while Daniel Hernandez brought in 21 percent of the vote.

After longer than a month of violations, accusations and legal wrangling, James Allen had been named the new ASUA president.

About 60 people in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership in the Student Union Memorial Center gathered to hear the announcement, and the room broke into cheers as his name was read.

Allen prevailed with 66 percent of the vote, virtually the same margin as in the March 9 general election. He garnered 1,312 of the 1,986 ballots cast during the 12-hour special election.

Allen, with tears in his eyes, was mobbed in the center of the room as supporters and well-wishers went to congratulate him on his win.

Brett and Bryan Ponton, members of Allen’s candidate slate who were named administrative and executive vice president, respectively, in the general election, rushed to Allen as soon as the news was announced. Allen also received a congratulatory phone call from Chris Nagata, a former president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.    

“”It feels great,”” a visibly emotional Allen said after extricating himself from the crowd. “”I’m so passionate about this, this office, that’s why I’ve pursued it to this point. I’ve meant every word I’ve said and to finally come to the completion and this result is an unbelievable feeling.””

To Allen, it was the student’s belief in him as a candidate that spurred him to victory with a substantial margin.

“”I think (students) trusted me and believed in my legitimacy as a candidate,”” Allen said. “”I can’t express what that belief means and I promise that I won’t let them down.””

Allen also said he believed his margin of victory proved that his platform resonated with students, but that he would work to win over any who still doubted his legitimacy after being disqualified from the general election for an excess of campaign violations.

After the announcement, Allen shared a long embrace with current ASUA President Emily Fritze.

“”I just told him ‘You’re done,'”” Fritze said afterward. “”But he’s only done with this part, now the real work can begin.””

Fritze said that Allen’s late ascension to the presidency could present challenges, such as hiring ASUA staff for the fall.

“”I’m very relieved that we have a president,”” Fritze said. “”But we need to start the transition and preparation for him because next year is going to be an exciting year, a demanding year and a life-changing year.””  

She said she is committed to helping him succeed and believes he will.

“”I realized long ago that I probably wouldn’t be done by May 2,”” Fritze said, laughing.

Fritze also congratulated all five of the candidates who ran in the special election.

“”I’m very proud of all of them,”” she said. “”It takes a lot of gumption to run for student body president, a lot of dedication.””

As for Allen, Fritze said she thinks his dedication is clear from how he’s handled the drawn-out election process.

“”I hope him running again shows (the students) how much resolve he has,”” she said. “”I hope that same dedication will carry over into his presidency and he can prove to the students how hard he is willing to work.””  

Daniel Hernandez, who finished second with 22 percent of the vote, declined any comment after the results were announced. Robert Rosinski, a former ASUA Senate candidate who elected to join the president’s race for the special election, shook Allen’s hand and congratulated him on the win. Rosinski finished with 3 percent of the vote.

The other two special election candidates, Jesse Gunsch and Myles Tacher, finished with 6 percent and 2 percent of the vote, respectively.

Allen said he believes the challenge of going through two elections will serve him well as he prepares to take on his new role as ASUA president.

“”I ask the students to trust me,”” Allen said. “”I ask them to give me the opportunity to prove myself.””

 

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