Smith TUSG executive ticket abstains from endorsing others

Brian Smith's ticket said all TUSG executive candidates are capable of serving in office

The Smith ticket, which finished with nearly 1,000 votes in the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government executive election, has decided not to endorse in the runoff election between Brittany Benedict and Aundrea DeGravina.

The Smith ticket, led by former presidential candidate Brian Smith, came third in the first election with 22 percent of the vote. Smith voters, along with Kanin Pruter’s 11 percent, pulled enough votes from DeGravina and Benedict to force them in to a runoff election.

Brian Smith said his decision to not endorse was not because of a disagreement with the remaining tickets, but an attempt to not sway his supporters toward a candidate.

“As a ticket we spoke together and really just weighed the options on the table,” Smith said. “We honestly feel like everyone in a potential executive role is capable of doing the job.”

Smith said he hopes to encourage all of his supporters to vote in the runoff, which historically has a lower turnout.

“We definitely owe it to everyone who supported us to tell at least tell them it’s important to be engaged in the election process,” Smith said. “This is just a way of continuing to do what our ticket set out to do from the very beginning, which is serve people.”

Aundrea DeGravina, the presidential candidate for her ticket, said she respects Smith’s decision to remain neutral for the sake of students.

“I know Brian (Smith) really has the best intentions of students,” DeGravina said. “He wants to make sure the election is as fair and as nice and as respectful as possible.”

DeGravina said there was nothing that her and the Smith ticket couldn’t agree on that kept them from endorsing her. She said Smith’s decision may be similar to current TUSG President Brandon Bishop’s decision to be a non-biased source for any questions students may have.

“He wants to ensure that students can make up their own mind,” DeGravina said.

Although there have been zero election complaints this year, DeGravina said the controversy surrounding Dayton Potter, her candidate for vice president of policy, has made this election more heated than last.

Read more: Blog post detailing sexual harassment in TUSG casts doubt on DeGravina ticket

“It can be seen based off of some of the statements that we’ve released and some of the statements that Dayton (Potter) personally released, that this election has been full of, unfortunately, very hurtful comments and rumors,” DeGravina said. “I think the environment surrounding this (election) is more heated.”

In the last runoff, DeGravina received the endorsement of both losing campaigns, yet still lost to Brandon Bishop by .7 percent. 

Read more: Brandon Bishop wins Tempe USG presidency following close runoff election

“Last year we got both of the endorsements, which is great, but then again those endorsements don’t necessarily guarantee you’ll win,” DeGravina said.

The Benedict campaign, which received an endorsement from Kanin Pruter earlier in the week, said in a statement written by Brittany Benedict that they respect the Smith ticket’s decision to not endorse. 

“The only thing we have to say about the Smith ticket choosing not to endorse is that we have not been expecting endorsements from anyone, but we are excited when we receive them,” Benedict’s said in the statement. “We respect Brian's decision to stay neutral and not endorse.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @mitchellatencio on Twitter.

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