The 2017-18 Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidential race that ended with Riley Nilsen being named next year’s student body president had a number of firsts.
The election was the first in Cal Poly history to feature a spending cap on the presidential campaigns, set at $2,000. Additionally, it was the first presidential race in the past five years where the winner was not the candidate who spent the most.
Turnout increased marginally from 26.8 percent during the 2016-17 ASI elections to 27.14 percent this year. This was higher than any election since the 2013-14 elections, when voter turnout was at 39.18 percent.
When a lower spending cap of $1,500 was proposed earlier this year, current ASI President Jana Colombini cited concerns about decreased voter turnout in opposition.
All candidates spent less than the spending cap of $2,000. The election’s highest spender was business administration sophomore Archie Mitchell who spent $1,795.51 and received 18.72 percent of the vote.
Close behind was agricultural sciences junior and now ASI President-elect Riley Nilsen who spent $1,772.97 and received 40.63 percent of the vote. Chase Dean, political science junior, spent the third highest at $929.37 and received 30.67 percent of the vote. Biomedical engineering junior Davis Negrete spent $71.57 and received 9.04 percent of the vote.
The cumulative campaign, which includes all candidates’ campaign expenditures, hit a historic low of $4,569.42. Likewise, the average amount spent by each candidate was lower than any election in the past five years at $1,142.36 per candidate. Overall, total spending in the presidential race decreased by almost $1,500 since last year’s elections.
The 2014-15 election was the next lowest with an average spending level of $1,825.43 per candidate. Joi Sullivan, that year’s presidential race winner, spent $2,696.28 on her campaign much more than her competitors.
Overall, the vote was more split in the 2017-18 presidential race than in previous races. Riley Nilsen secured 40.63 percent of the vote, while previous winners Jana Colombini, Owen Schwaegerle and Joi Sullivan earned 71.22 percent, 48.14 percent and 63.71 percent respectively.