Earl/Schafer wins MSA presidential election, referendum passed to move election to spring

Earl: “I know the real work really kicks in now. I’m looking forward to getting back to what MSA is supposed to do.”
Newly elected MSA president and vice president Sean Earl and Tori Schafer pose for a photo with the outgoing MSA president and vice president Payton Head and Bill Vega March 2 in Traditions Plaza minutes after the election results were announced.

Presidential candidate Sean Earl and vice presidential candidate Tori Schafer won the Missouri Students Association special election, the Board of Elections Commissioners announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Traditions Plaza.

Earl/Schafer won 45 percent of the vote, runner-up slate Sam Turner and Clay Evans won 37 percent, and Andrew Hutchinson and Lydia Ghuman won 18 percent. The total number of votes cast was 3,683.

Participation in the special election was down 34 percent from the fall’s presidential election, in which 5,620 students voted. The special election came as a result of the resignations of former president-elect and vice president-elect Haden Gomez and Chris Hanner. Gomez and Hanner won with 46 percent of the vote, totaling 2,590 out of 5,620 total votes.

The ballot also contained a referendum to permanently move the presidential election from the fall to the spring. MU is the only SEC school that holds its elections in November. Full Senate passed the legislation in the Feb. 24 meeting before the student body voted. It passed with 82 percent of the vote and 3,597 students participating.

“We did it,” Schafer said. “That’s what I keep telling people. I’m like, shaking right now, so I can’t really say anything more than that.”

Earl said he had already had a conversation with recently-elected Senate Speaker Mark McDaniel and that they were “on the same page” about what MSA needs.

“I know the real work really kicks in now,” Earl said. “I’m looking forward to getting back to what MSA is supposed to do.”

Earl/Schafer campaign manager Sophia Dieckhaus said she wasn’t surprised by the result.

“I believe in them,” she said. “They are amazing and they believe that giving the voice back to the students is the number one priority.”

Presidential candidate Andrew Hutchinson said he was confident in Earl and Schafer’s leadership. Lydia Ghuman was unavailable for comment.

“We ran a great campaign,” he said.

Runner-up presidential candidate Sam Turner also expressed confidence in Earl and Schafer’s leadership and said he hoped they would take ideas from all slates’ platforms.

“I wish them the best of luck in this upcoming year,” he said. “I now have time to go cake testing with (my fiancee) Samantha, and I'm looking forward to that.”

Interim vice president Bill Vega said he was happy Earl and Schafer won. He said he would stay involved with the budget until it was presented to Senate and that he planned to continue to play an active role in MSA.

Interim MSA President Payton Head called Earl and Schafer “go-getters” and said he was certain that they cared about students. He said MSA had been a big part of his identity, but he was ready to move on.

“I’m happy that I can graduate,” he said. “That’s what I need to be focusing on. This was cute, but it’s time to graduate.”

Edited by Waverly Colville | wcolville@themaneater.com

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