Bill limiting senate campaign collaboration fails

Legislation split into two parts; 'running mate' definition passes

 

A contested student senate bill that would have limited the number of candidates who can campaign as running mates for senate seats failed to pass Wednesday night by a vote of 18-11.

The original bill, which has been frequently discussed and revised by senators since early in this semester’s sessions, was split to be voted on in two parts Wednesday.

The first part of the split bill proposed to define a running mate as “someone who is on another senatorial candidate’s campaign staff and visibly campaigns with another senatorial candidate.” That section of the bill passed by a unanimous vote. The running mate definition applies only to visual campaign materials where candidates’ and their staffs names appear, but does not apply to personal endorsements.

The first half of the bill was essentially a moot point, however, once separated from the second half of the bill, where much of the contention was held among the senators.

It proposed to limit the number of running mates per school to one less than the majority of seats in the district. For instance, candidates running in District 1 for the College of Arts and Sciences, which occupies 14 senate seats, could form a campaign group of no more than seven candidates running together had the bill passed.

The failed bill was sponsored by senators Ashley Farr, Andrea Eggleston, Kate McKinney, Christian Bailey, Patrick Bailey and Hazel Bridges.

The bill’s supporters said their goal was to prevent senate campaigns from turning into popularity contests, with candidates running as part of a larger group more likely to be elected than candidates running on their own.

“If you build a ticket, the whole concept is that people play off of each other and they get votes,” Business Delegation Chair Farr said. “It’s a good campaign strategy, but it’s always kind of bothered me because it discourages personal merit in my opinion.”

The bill’s opponents said that allowing candidates to campaign in groups helps them get their messages out to more students than if they campaigned alone. They also noted that all candidates are voted on individually, whether they campaign as part of a group or independently.

“Limiting the ability of people to run together would inhibit the ability of senators getting their names out there, getting their messages out there,” said President Pro Tempore Caroline Hendricks, who voted against the bill.


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