Curran wasn't trounced
Vijith Assar's follow-up article on the Curran Jhanjee Student Council campaign [News March 17, 2005: "Curran's count: Not enough for 1st place (or 2nd)"] was much appreciated by the folks on Team Curran, but it probably could have used a slight clarification on the rather bizarre "instant runoff" system used at UVA. This is mostly my fault, since I neglected to mention it during our interview. (I was on Spring Break; things were a bit hazy.)
Basically, in all University elections, students have the option of "ranking" their choice of candidates. If no one gets a majority, the last-place finisher is eliminated and his or her supporters' votes are redistributed accordingly.
This year, because it was such a close race, no one got a majority in the first round: Jequeatta Upton (the eventual winner) received 1,947 votes, Tom Gibson received 1,839, and Curran came in third with 1,488. Greg Jackson, with 1,264, was eliminated first, pushing the vote to a second round in which Curran moved up to 1,630 votes.
Tragically, this wasn't enough. Curran was eliminated as the vote moved into a third and final round, in which Jequeatta beat Tom 2,993-2,555.
So yes, Curran lost, but he certainly wasn't "crushed." He was the first choice of 22.7 percent of the voters– which, when compared to Jequeatta's 29.8 percent, ain't too shabby. Especially for a totally reluctant candidate.
Politicos, watch out.
Campaign Manager, Ran Curran Ran