By Natalie Schwartz and Carly Taylor
Senior staff writers
One Party candidate A.J. Pruitt, the student affairs vice president, won the Student Government Association presidency with 85 percent of the vote Monday night, according to the SGA Elections Board.
Pruitt defeated unaffiliated candidate Chris Boretti, a freshman finance major. The One Party platform listed health, student life affordability and community as its main priorities, according to its website. The One Party was running virtually uncontested after the Unity Party dropped out following The Diamondback report that the party failed to disclose all of its contributions.
With 2,235 votes, about 8 percent of the undergraduate student body cast ballots in the president election. This year's turnout rose from last year, which saw 1,576 students vote. Last year's presidential election was uncontested.
Pruitt, a junior economics and government and politics major, has been involved with the SGA since his freshman year. He previously served as a parliamentarian during the 2014-15 academic year before becoming the deputy city affairs liaison and eventually the vice president of student affairs.
"It's exciting to have worked in an organization for that long and then get the opportunity to help it move forward," Pruitt said. "I'm happy for all the people that voted. I'm honored to have their support and I hope that we can all work together moving forward."
One Party candidates Christine Hagan, Alia Abdelkader, and Chris Ricigliano ran uncontested for the rest of the executive board. Hagan, the current sustainability director, was elected vice president of academic affairs, finance committee member Abdelkader was elected vice president of financial affairs and Ricigliano, the current speaker, was elected for vice president of student affairs.
Pruitt said his presidency would focus on higher education funding at the state level and becoming more involved with state politics.
Despite his loss, Boretti said he plans to continue advocating for issues such as garnering more student involvement with the SGA, increasing voter turnout and amending "problematic" election rules.
"I'm going to push [the SGA] and make sure that I'm active and keep getting involved," he said.
Last semester, Pruitt helped draft an SGA proposal to request a $34 annual student fee to help support the underfunded Title IX office. The SGA later withdrew the fee after the university announced the creation of six new positions across two different offices to address sexual misconduct. Pruitt said he would advocate for even more funding for the office as president and has shown support for an expansion of in-person sexual assault prevention training on the campus.
Pruitt voiced limited support for an RHA-proposed $130 mandatory fee, which would provide on-campus students with unlimited Metro access. In a debate, he said the fee was too high and would need to be discussed further.
Pruitt has also proposed allocating resources to keep the health center open 24 hours a day. He said he wants to continue discussing turning the SGA into "the advocacy organization that it needs to be," and proactively address student concerns.
"SGA is an organization for [students], and our door is always open," Pruitt said "We are always looking for feedback and we're always looking to see how we can help people."
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly stated that 2,176 votes were cast in the SGA presidential election and did not include abstentions. There were 2,235 votes cast in the election, including 59 abstentions. This post has been updated.