Dondro wins A.S. race

In a presidential race in which each candidate accused the other of negative campaigning, Adam Dondro took the top seat in the Associated Students election.

The election, held online April 14-15, also saw the passage of a $26-per-semester fee increase to pay for student programs.

Dondro, who secured 60.7 percent of the student vote, campaigned largely on his knowledge of the A.S. budget gained in his role this year as executive vice president. His opponent, Bob Ray, who got 38.3 percent of the vote, addressed issues such as textbook costs, A.S. employee salaries and the city’s aggressive stance on Halloween. Ray is also putting together the May 1 community parade, which, after an online vote, will be called the Pioneer Days Parade.

Dondro said he’ll look into some of the issues raised by Ray, including the idea of a Halloween concert as an alternative event, and hiring grant writers to raise funds for the A.S. While Ray had pledged to be more of a presence in the community, Dondro said his style is to meet with city leaders and others on a personal level.

As the election neared, rumors circulated that Dondro’s campaign was backed by off-campus conservatives and featured a large donation from City Councilmember Dan Herbert. But Dondro said his support was broad, and he combined his savings with contributions from his family and the parents of outgoing A.S. President Michael Dailey to finance his campaign with less than $1,000. He said Herbert gave him no money.

“It’s the exact same thing Bob Ray did last year,” Dondro said. “He told people Michael Dailey got thousands of dollars from the Republican Party.”

Ray countered that his campaign was clean and it was Dondro’s camp that painted him as a liar who can’t get along with people. “That [Herbert rumor] didn’t come from me. I didn’t start any rumors.

“I felt like I ran a good, positive campaign on the issues,” Ray said.

Ray said Christians formed his opponent’s “biggest voting bloc,” but Dondro, a Democrat, countered that those groups alone could not have accounted for the 1,800 votes he received.

Turnout was low, as usual, in the 21-percent range.

Dondro was especially relieved that students passed the fee increase (with 66.8 “yes” votes), since the alternative would have been to cut programs such as the Women’s Center, C.A.V.E., Adventure Outings and the Community Legal Information Center. “It’s a clear message from the students that these programs are what are important to them.”

The race for executive vice president resulted in a runoff between Thomas Whitcher (46.4 percent) and Ray’s running mate, Jonathan Maples (35 percent), which was to be held online April 21.

Mike Palotay secured 52.7 percent of the vote to become vice president of business and finance over Amee Nelson. Kegan Warren, who ran unopposed, will be vice president of facilities and services. Various directors and commissioners were voted in as well.

Also, 85 percent of students voting passed an advisory measure urging the university not to issue parking permits to students who live within a mile of campus.