Voting for the Exec Elections has now opened and students are invited to have their say about who they want to represent them and their interests in the Union over the next year. With voting due to close on Wednesday at 6pm, it’s time to review the past week and make some educated guesses about who will walk away victors.
Let’s start with the Presidential race, Tommy Allen vs Rob Whittaker. I would be very surprised if Whittaker managed to pull ahead. Despite much scepticism at the beginning, especially from us at The Epinal, Allen has definitely made an impression and become something of the darling of campus and these elections. I always felt that he would be the choice for students disillusioned with the Exec and Union politics but he might even be drawing some of the conservative votes away from the more conventional Whittaker.
VP Education is a non-contest with Amy Ward having campaigned as though she is running against five people not just R.O.N. Similarly Dan Thomas’ unconcentested battle for VP Finance & Commercial Services has not disuaded him from putting in a lot of effort and his free pizza and strong presence have certainly made an impression. VP Democracy & Communication’s Liam Peoples has been less obviously present but it is rare that any candidate loses to R.O.N so it’s safe to say that they’ll all be elected without surprise.
VP Welfare & Diversity is less clear. With three very different candidates it is hard to guage where the voters will fall although I suspect Natasha White’s friendly demeanour might win over a lot of voters new to the section although Zoe Mumba has certainly had the strongest social media presence and campaign strategies and George Bollands does have Butler Court support to draw on. It’s almost certainly going to be too close to call up until the live results but I would hazard a guess at Mumba winning with White second and Bollands third, reflecting the current Epinal poll results but there is still two days of voting to go.
Action Chair’s uncontested race has been reflected in a significant lack of presence of Phil Jenkins around campus but as I said before, R.O.N. rarely wins when there’s someone else in the race which is perhaps reflected in Jenkins’ decision to not exhaust himself over the campaign week.
Rag Chair is going to go down to the line due to Dave Edwards and Danni Hitchins’ remarkably similar experience and skillsets. Though determined not to let it slow her down, it would be surprising if Hitchins’ injury hasn’t resulted in a decreased presence which Edwards may have been able to capitalise on. On the other hand Hitchins’ minions have certainly been swamping the social media and nights out so it will all depend on who is more memorable. I predict a win for Hitchins.
Sophie Farley and Chris Briggs have both made an effort to visit a variety of Societies over the past week in order to speak to the people that they will be responsible for although social media indicates that Briggs has managed to attend more events. This attention to Societies needs may not be enough though and Farley may win votes away from Briggs due to the focus in his manifesto on introducing more inter-sports matches to the Societies which may not appeal to those affected. There is also the formidable force that is Stage Society rallying behind Farley to take into consideration. I expect Farley will win but Briggs will put up a good fight.
AU President seemed like a done deal in favour of Steffan Lloyd with The Epinal article releasing his manifesto being the most shared of any candidate’s and his supporters getting behind him on the poll but since campaigning began, it’s been a different story. Martha Riggs has been all over campus in the past week with her band of tiggers at AU clubs, on nights out and even a flash mob in James France as well as being all over social media. Riggs has made her presence known and overshadowed Lloyd’s although he has made an equally good effort with door-knocking and shout outs. There was not much in it for the Bubble Debate so it will hinge on who manages to rally enough of their new supporters to vote. I’m predicting that the majority falls to Riggs.
Head of Media is hotly contested and much debated. With similar levels of experience though in differing sections and three personable, charismatic candidates it was always going to be close. Right now the poll on the site is at a dead heat with only a vote either way separating the candidates.I don’t think the battle is yet won in favour of any of the candidates. Both Wilkes and Reynolds have had across the board experience while Traies has reached a higher level of responsibility in one aspect. Traies and Reynolds are both keen to develop cross-platforming while Wilkes has already begun to implement it. Reynolds wants to cut down the number of Label magazines issued while Wilkes and Traies find it to be an integral aspect of LSMedia and awareness. There isn’t any one aspect in which any of the candidates has stood out so it will be to the masses to make distinctions. Whatever the result, I can only see it being very close at this stage but I am incapable of calling this race past personal preference.