By Jens Manuel Krogstad
a private room at Campus Pizza, approximately a dozen people mobbed Tom
Zearley and Amy Jo Pierce to congratulate them on their Minnesota
Student Association presidential win.
In a tight undergraduate race, Zearley and Pierce garnered 991 votes
out of 4,420 for president ’Äî or approximately 22 percent. They beat
Ashley Sierra and Chris Montana by 77 votes.
An MSA constitutional amendment to use instant runoff voting in next
year’Äôs presidential race passed by a comfortable margin of 76 percent.
More than 1,300 additional students voted this year than last, with a
4,634 total this year in the all-campus election.
After the initial excitement at the Zearley camp, almost everyone
dialed their cell phones, including Pierce, who wiped away tears.
’ÄúTom Zearley is our next student body president!’Äù campaign
manager Aaron Solem, yelled repeatedly.
At 6:55 p.m., a ring sounding like a loon’Äôs call ’Äî Zearley’Äôs
tribute to his Detroit Lakes, Minn., hometown ’Äî came from his cell
Everyone in the room held their breath and Solem chomped on his thumb
like it was a piece of meat.
Keeping a poker face, Zearley calmly asked for the results to be
’ÄúExpress something!’Äù yelled supporter Amanda Hutchings.
Zearley milked the suspense for all it was worth, telling everyone
the margin of victory before making them guess who won.
At the Sierra-Montana camp, campaign manager Andy Pomroy took the
call while both candidates were out getting a grill for a barbecue at
Sierra, on the phone with her dad after getting the news, reacted in
’ÄúWe lost by, like, 40 ’Ä¶ to a stupid boy!’Äù she said. ’ÄúI would
have been, like, the third woman president ever.’Äù
Montana said losing by such a slim margin made it especially tough.
’ÄúIt’Äôs nice to know it was that close, but it does make it
worse,’Äù he said. ’ÄúUltimately, Zearley’Äôs a good guy and he’Äôll do
While waiting for the phone call in the back room at Annie’Äôs
Parlour in Dinkytown, presidential candidate Mike May showed little
May picked at his basket of fries, but running mate Kevin Wendt was a
little more relaxed as he wolfed down a BLT sandwich.
When May received the call telling him that he had finished third, he
once again showed little emotion as eight of his close supporters looked
for any indication on his face.
’ÄúI’Äôm happy with the results,’Äù May said about Zearley’Äôs win.
’ÄúTom will do an outstanding job as president.’Äù
May and Wendt said they were glad all the campaigning was finally
over so they could get some rest.
’ÄúThe last three days all seemed to run into each other,’Äù May
said. ’ÄúIt just seemed like one long day.’Äù
Presidential candidate Brian Adamovich finished fourth.
’ÄúIt’Äôs rough, but Tom and Amy Jo fought a good fight and they
deserve the win as much as anyone,’Äù Adamovich said.
Vice presidential candidate Betsy Raguse, who ran with Thomas Rupp
and placed fifth, said she does not regret campaigning so much that she
averaged two to four hours of sleep per night in the week preceding the
Winners of the MSA Forum election:
Raguse said Zearley and Pierce have been very dedicated MSA members.
’ÄúThey told people they’Äôre going to do a lot for students, and I
hope they can accomplish that,’Äù Raguse said.
Presidential candidate Jason Will placed sixth.
’ÄúCongratulations to Tom,’Äù Will said. Because of all-day National
Guard duty, presidential candidate Bob Gindorff, who came in seventh,
did not have time for last-minute campaigning.
He said he is hopeful Zearley and Pierce ’Äî who are sophomores ’Äî
will accomplish a lot, but said he is concerned about their limited MSA
’ÄúThey have good intentions, but by themselves I don’Äôt think
they’Äôll accomplish much,’Äù Gindorff said. ’ÄúWith the right help,
they have the chance to do a lot of good.’Äù
’Äî Patricia Drey, Hank Long and Jared Roddy contributed to this