Daily 49er

ASI candidates deny attempt to ‘slim down’ presidential elections

ASI+Chief+of+Staff+James+Ahumada%2C+right%2C+poses+with+Lucy+Nguyen%2C+senator+of+the+College+of+Business+Administration%2C+at+an+ASI+candidate+meet+and+greet+event+Tuesday+afternoon+at+the+Southwest+Terrace.+Ahumada+is+the+only+candidate+for+ASI+president.+Nguyen+is+running+for+ASI+vice+president.
ASI Chief of Staff James Ahumada, right, poses with Lucy Nguyen, senator of the College of Business Administration, at an ASI candidate meet and greet event Tuesday afternoon at the Southwest Terrace. Ahumada is the only candidate for ASI president. Nguyen is running for ASI vice president.

ASI Chief of Staff James Ahumada, right, poses with Lucy Nguyen, senator of the College of Business Administration, at an ASI candidate meet and greet event Tuesday afternoon at the Southwest Terrace. Ahumada is the only candidate for ASI president. Nguyen is running for ASI vice president.

ASI Chief of Staff James Ahumada, right, poses with Lucy Nguyen, senator of the College of Business Administration, at an ASI candidate meet and greet event Tuesday afternoon at the Southwest Terrace. Ahumada is the only candidate for ASI president. Nguyen is running for ASI vice president.

Brian Cuaron, Managing Editor

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Former Associated Students Inc. presidential candidates denied a judicial complaint that claimed they conspired to get candidate James Ahumada elected. They said they dropped out for personal reasons.

Five candidates originally filed to be in the presidential election. Two candidates — Jason Aula and Avis Atkins — dropped out of the race in the first round of filing, which ended Feb. 19.

Two other ASI presidential candidates — Vice President Omar Gonzalez and Attorney General Paxcely Marquez — dropped out during the second filing round, which ended March 4. This had left Ahumada as the only presidential candidate.

Aula filed a judicial complaint against the ASI board of elections and James Ahumada. The complaint said Gonzalez and others plotted to “slim down candidates for ASI president.”

The complaint called for Ahumada to be disqualified from the election and for ASI Judiciary to investigate Gonzalez and Marquez.

Ahumada, ASI chief of staff, denied Aula’s charges, saying one has to pull at strings to connect him into a conspiracy with Gonzalez, Marquez and others.

Dropping a candidacy and major
Gonzalez, who is in the same fraternity as Ahumada, said he dropped out of the race because he wanted to graduate this year.

He said before he filed was a double major in business and international marketing, and had already filed to graduate at the end of this academic year. However, an adviser told him he still had seven units missing for his international marketing major.

At that time Gonzalez said he decided to stay another year at Cal State Long Beach since the classes he needed weren’t being offered during the summer. It was then that he decided to run for president.

Yet after filing for the race, Gonzalez decided to drop his international business major, thus nearing his graduation date.

“I’m excited to get into the real world now,” he said, explaining he didn’t want to wait another year to graduate and that there was no other reason why he dropped out of the race.

Ahumada said he and Gonzalez had only one conversation about the election after he heard that Gonzalez had filed for the election.

“I was just surprised he was running,” Ahumada said, calling Gonzalez a “good friend.”
Gonzalez confirmed this was the only conversation about the election that the two engaged in after he declared his candidacy.

Dropping a candidacy for other priorities
As attorney general, Marquez is now in charge of an effort that’s been underway for three years, starting a CSULB student-operated law periodical.

“I just wanted to focus more on what I was already doing, rather than just taking something else on and not having enough time,” said Marquez, explaining why she dropped out of the race.

The Undergraduate Law Review periodical will give students the opportunity to write and publish legal scholarship. It will be published online at the end of the academic year.
Marquez said starting that periodical is her main focus in ASI. She added that a lot of people had given up on starting the law review before she undertook the effort, and she didn’t want it to suffer by focusing her attention elsewhere.

However, when she decided to drop out of the race everyone else had already done so except for her and Ahumada. According to Marquez, because of that reason she thought about staying in the race.

“But then I just ended up dropping out,” she said.

Ahumada said that he and Marquez also had only one conversation about the election after he knew she was going to run. He said it was during a regularly scheduled meeting between the two about the law review periodical due to their positions in ASI.

According to Ahumada, Marquez notified him that she was running and the two decided to “keep the campaign out of the office.” Marquez confirmed that this conversation took place.

Marquez said there was no other reason she dropped out of the race.

“No one tried to convince me to drop out,” she said. “Mostly, my friends were just encouraging me to stay with it.”

Aula admits he has no proof; files another complaint
Aula said “there’s no proof” that Gonzalez or Marquez conspired to get Ahumada elected.
He told the Daily 49er the connections between the two and Ahumada — Gonzalez as a fraternity brother and Marquez as an ASI colleague — only gives him suspicions about a plot to “slim down” the candidates.

He also told the Daily 49er that he has filed another judicial complaint, requesting that the ASI board of elections reopen the filing period for the ASI presidential election. He called an election where only one candidate runs to be “under-representative.”

“It kind of reminds me of an election in Iraq,” Aula said.

Ahumada said the fact that he has already extensively campaigned “wouldn’t be fair to whoever chooses to apply at this point.”

ASI Director of Student Involvement Kim Tabari said it isn’t ideal for ASI to have only one person running. Tabari said ASI makes a point to recruit students to run for positions, but that students cannot be forced to run for office.

Marquez said, “If it were reopened I don’t know who would decide to run for the presidency, just because James has been campaigning.”

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