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Hodges, Payne to lead SMC students

Katie Kohler | Friday, January 26, 2007

Kim Hodges and Kelly Payne came away with a narrow victory over opponents Colleen Ferreira and Jenny Antonelli in the Saint Mary’s student body presidential and vice presidential elections Thursday.

The pair received 300 total votes over Ferreira and Antonelli’s 263 votes. The two tickets met in a runoff when the results from Tuesday’s preliminary knocked out third ticket Annie Davis and Courtney Kennedy.

Hodges-Payne clinched the victory by less than 10 percent in the runoff with 52.2 percent versus Ferreira-Antonelli’s 45.7 percent.

Prior to the election, the race was neck-and-neck, with the pairs within two percent of each other. Tuesday, however, saw Ferriera-Antonelli in the lead.

“I am not surprised by the results at all,” Hodges said. “I am just surprised how close it was.”

Ferreira found no security in holding the lead during the preliminary vote.

“It is an election. It could go either way at any time,” she said.

Hodges and Payne ran a dedicated campaign and attributed their success to their persistence. The pair said the main difference between winning and losing was meeting new people.

“We did whatever we could to get our message out. We sat outside the dining hall, went door-to-door in dorms and put up posters everywhere,” Payne said. “There are always your friends who you know you can count on for a vote, but it is important to meet new people and convince them that you are the right people for the job.”

The pair’s platform also separated it from its opponents, Hodges said.

“Our platform was the most realistic and strategic for the school as a whole,” she said.

The pair will officially assume its duties at the beginning of April. In the mean time, Hodges does not plan to slow down while finishing her term as vice president of the Student Diversity Board.

“Right now, I am working on the Diverse Students Leadership Conference, which will be March 1-3,” she said. “There is a lot to do between now and then.”

Ferreira said she felt her ticket ran a strong campaign, relying on a platform of tangible goals that could have been accomplished if she and Antonelli were elected.

Hodges and Payne are confident that they are the best candidates for the job based on their public support from the Davis-Kennedy ticket, who was eliminated Tuesday.

“The girls [Davis-Kennedy] recognized that we were going to do a good job,” Hodges said. “That is why they want to be on our boards. They are supportive and will be very helpful in the future.”

Ferreira and Antonelli did not return Observer phone calls Thursday night.

The election itself was “typical,” elections commissioner Christin Molnar said.

“The turnout was pretty average, but there were more people who voted in the runoff than the preliminary, which was different,” she said.

While Hodges-Payne were victorious, Molnar saw potential in each of the three original tickets.

“All three [tickets] had strong points,” she said. “Some had less feasible ideas, but they all wanted it and probably would have done a good job.”

Ferreira echoed Molnar’s confidence in the candidates.

“Everyone did a good job presenting their issues. Each had their own specialty and the student body has its own tastes. That is just the way it goes,” she said.