Gonzalez drops out of presidential race, supports Lajara
The race to be the next Student Association president is down to three.
Alejandro Gonzalez and MikaElla Rectin-Hernandez formally ended their campaign to be the 2018-19 SA president and vice president respectively on Tuesday, Feb. 27, less than five days into the month-long campaign season.
“It was a decision based on an assessment of priorities,” said Gonzalez, who is currently the secretary of Middle Earth, an intern at the State Assembly and is trying to secure SA funding for the Christian group Cru. “It wouldn’t be fair to the students if I was divided and I couldn’t give them my full attention.”
According to Rectin-Hernandez, Gonzalez was the one who ultimately decided to end the campaign, a decision she fully supported as his running mate.
“He brought up the idea and I said I’ll support him in whatever decision he makes because we are a team,” said Rectin-Hernandez who noted the pair had two conversations leading up to the final decision to withdraw their candidacy.
Upon exiting the race, Gonzalez announced he would be supporting the ticket of Jouly Lajara and Alexander O’Leary going forward.
Rectin-Hernandez is currently not supporting any candidate.
Gonzalez noted his endorsement of Lajara and O’Leary was not a knock on the other two tickets – Langie Cadesca and Nicholas Pepe; and Mark Anthony Quinn and Patrick Carroll – who he called “extremely qualified,” but had to do more with a shared vision of SA going forward.
“We were unified in our platforms in that we wanted to make SA more transparent and we wanted to make the student body more aware of what SA is doing,” he said of his decision to support the Lajara and O’Leary ticket.
Gonzalez is unaware of what role he will play in helping the campaign going forward as of writing. A meeting between both parties is expected to take place in the coming days.
“I was surprised,” said O’Leary who learned of Gonzalez’s intentions Wednesday afternoon. “It also excited me…our message and our vision that we’ve been explaining it resonates with people. It resonates with a person who was once an opponent and is now an ally.”
Lajara did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
News of Gonzalez’s decision to drop out of the race came as a surprise to the other candidates who noted they would have liked to have seen his ticket remain in the race.
“I always think it’s good when there is a multiplicity of candidates,” said vice presidential candidate Carroll. “I think it adds more to the discussion.”
When asked if Gonzalez’s decision to endorse the Lajara and O’Leary ticket changed their campaign strategy, Quinn and Carroll replied simply, “No.”
“It’s disappointing,” said Pepe, a candidate for vice president. “Granted, he was one of our competitors, but we still want to see everyone get involved whether it’s going up against us or whatever.”
“I don’t think it necessarily has changed anything for us,” said Cadesca who said she’s happy Gonzalez has found a candidate to rally around. “We have a mission and we’re going to get it done by any means necessary.”
Both Gonzalez and Rectin-Hernandez said they have aspirations to run for SA senate in the future, but have no officials plans yet.
“No matter what we’re doing as students here on campus, it’s not going to change the relationships we want to make with people,” said Rectin-Hernandez. “It’s not going to change the fact that we want more transparency within SA.”