Photo by Lauren Horsch, editor-in-chief
After weeks of campaigning, meetings and a run-off election, the winner of the First-Year Senator election was announced at 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 9. Groups gathered around Pomerantz Stage at 11:45 p.m. the night before, and an anxious buzz filled the room when the candidates, Mollie Wheeler and Cole Schwartz entered.
The tension in the room increased as the clock reached 12 a.m. The Election Commission arrived on stage at 12:15 a.m. and announced that over a third of the first-year class voted, declaring Schwartz the winner with 65 percent of the vote. Despite the continuous chanting of “Speech! Speech!” from his supporters, Schwartz thanked the crowd quickly and congratulated Wheeler on a great race before reporting to David Karaz, Student Senate Vice President and temporary head of the First-Year Interest Committee.
“I was pretty nervous (before the announcement),” Wheeler said. “I woke up really confident this morning, but as the day went on I got more anxious.”
Wheeler said she didn’t feel “great” about the outcome of the election.
“I would’ve started sooner — gotten more posters out and started campaigning earlier,” Wheeler said concerning changes she would make to her campaign. Despite the loss, Wheeler still plans on being an active member of the Student Senate committee on community outreach.
Schwartz said he entered Olmsted feeling, “nervous, but excited to find out the results.” He said his nerves hit about five minutes before the announcement but he had, “…good faith that his friends had helped him get the word out as much as possible during the day.”
Schwartz plans on tackling his campaign goals right away, focusing first on the possibility of adding printers to residence halls, then on a first-year community service project and finally on initiating programs for professional outreach in the Des Moines area.
Following the announcement, the crowd continued to congratulate Schwartz. Schwartz’s roommate, Tom Fischer, created a parody Twitter account, @SenatorSchwartz, following the announcement. He tweeted, “I would like to thank all 299 voters. Thank you for allowing me this position, I will not do you wrong. Also I’ll provide some laughs.”
The campaign had been a long process for the two candidates, with the run-off election ending in a write-in ballot at the last minute. With the election finally over, the First-Year Interest Committee, guided by the newly elected senator, can begin working on their plans for the class of 2016.