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Sunday, November 18, 2018

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Barrett defeats Zhang for SGA president in runoff election


Graduate student in economics Cameron Barrett threw his hands up after the SGA Election Commission announced he will be SGA president for the 55th Administration. | Dana C. Jones/The Cougar

Graduate student in economics Cameron Barrett won a runoff election for SGA President with 54.49 percent of the vote, the SGA Election Commission announced at noon Thursday. Barrett and his running mate, corporate communications junior Davis Darusman, lead the Student Unite party.

Barrett and his senators were gathered behind the podium where the Associate Election Commissioner for Marketing Anna Purcell announced the results. Current SGA President Winni Zhang, who lost the runoff, was watching from the second floor of the Student Center North with other members of her party, Spirit RED. 

“Who wins an SGA election — it doesn’t matter what your name is or what background you come from,” Barrett said in a speech to his supporters. “The reason why we won is because all of you worked the hardest and all of you were the best team.”  

Last week, Barrett, Zhang and four other candidates were on the ballot for the first vote for SGA president. In that initial round of voting, Barrett earned 33.32 percent of the vote and Zhang garnered 26.33 percent, the Election Commissioner Chase Cummins announced on Friday.

More than 1,000 fewer students voted in the runoff than last week’s election. In the runoff, votes were split with 1,450 and 1,211 between Barrett and Zhang respectively.

Once Purcell announced the results, Barrett, Darusman, Student Unite senators and their supporters erupted in cheers.

“When I first came to UH, I had three things in mind: get good grades, get a degree, and get the hell out,” Darusman said in an interview after Barrett’s speech. Instead, he got involved on campus his freshman year with the Student Program Board.

After the speech, Barrett headed straight to work tutoring at the Athletics/Alumni Center. In an interview, he said he had no expectations heading into the results announcement.

“I was incredibly nervous and just ready to die honestly,” Barrett said.

Barrett said that in the weeks leading up to his inauguration, he plans to focus on writing new bylaws for the SGA Constitution, something he focused on heavily as a graduate-at-large senator.

He said members of Students Unite campaigned until 1:30 a.m. Thursday in an attempt to leave “everything on the table.”

“Winni’s no slouch when it comes to campaigning,” Barrett said.

Winni Zhang could not be reached for comment.

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