On Tuesday morning, Paul Duffy ’05, Jillian Grant ’05 and Brett Ritterbeck ’05 had different goals: they had different plans for Fairfield, different running mates, and different campaigns.
By late Tuesday night, they were elected to the three highest positions in FUSA.
Duffy, Grant and Ritterbeck will head up FUSA next year as President, Vice President of Programming and Vice President of Senate, respectively.
The results of Tuesday’s FUSA elections make odd bedfellows for members of next year’s executive branch. Two candidates from different tickets were elected as vice presidents, with a candidate without any running mates elected as president.
These three are now in a unique position. For these three juniors, coalition-building seems imperative for FUSA to be effective next year, with plans from three different platforms winning some degree of voter approval.
Grant and Kevin Neubauer ’05 ran on the same ticket, as they did successfully last year. This year, however, only Grant got a nod of approval from voters. The ticket of Ben Manchak ’05, Ritterbeck and Amy Gasiorowski ’05 bore fruit only for Ritterbeck. Duffy ran without any running mates yet had the most substantial margin of victory.
Duffy, the biggest winner on Tuesday, defeated incumbent president Neubauer ’05 by 413 votes.
Duffy received 304 more underclassmen votes than Neubauer, a spread that accounted for 74 percent of his final winning margin. Both candidates could be seen around campus campaigning in the days running up to the election, but it appears Duffy’s message resonated more with students.
However, Grant, the incumbent Vice President of Programming who ran on a ticket with Neubauer gained re-election over Gasiorowski by a vote of 663-410, a comfortable margin of victory.
The race for Vice President of Senate was the closest of the three executive positions decided on Tuesday. Ritterbeck, who ran on a ticket with Gasiorowski and Manchak, a presidential candidate who lost in last week’s primary, defeated Kevin Saville ’06 by a margin of 576-468.
Duffy’s mandate appears to be substantial, more than doubling Neubauer’s vote total. It puts the two final presidential candidates in a pretty odd position; the current FUSA president traditionally “trains” the president-elect, and now Neubauer, who faced Duffy in the election, will be faced with the odd prospect of training Duffy to be his successor. Fortunately, it seems, both candidates are ready to put their election differences aside for the good of FUSA.
Grant seemed to benefit from better student reception to FUSA programming this year, highlighted most notably by the bookings of comedian Dave Chappelle and rock group Third Eye Blind.
Voter turnout was also up from past years. For example, there was a 25 percent increase in seniors voting for FUSA president from last year. For juniors, the figure was up 31 percent.
Sophomore turnout actually dipped 16 percent, probably because Neubauer ran as a sophomore last year and there was no sophomore candidate for president this year. Freshman voters turned out the most in comparison to last year, with a 50 percent increase over last year’s numbers.
Duffy, a resident assistant in Jogues, was evidently successful in turning out the freshman vote overwhelmingly in his favor. Still, he maintained his cool Tuesday night, shaking hands as supporters mobbed him after hearing the results.
As the dust settled in the campus center at almost midnight, Duffy stood alone on the first floor, pacing back and forth, talking on his cellular phone with his mother, Elizabeth.
The elder Duffy made the trek from Staten Island to campaign for her son, wearing a white T-shirt with “Duffy” emblazoned on it in green letters all day at Paul’s campaign table, trying to win votes for him.
Evidently, the strategy worked. Now, Duffy’s mission will be to convert his incredible margin of victory into real results for Fairfield students.