"Cleo Thomas wins by a wide margin" Glen Johnson The Crimson White February 10, 1976
Cleo Thomas defeated Machine candidate Joe Williamson for the SGA presidency by more than a 500 vote margin in Thursday's election which saw a record turnout for a runoff vote. The runoff total of 4905 was larger than that of Monday's general election.
Thomas is the first non-Machine presidential candidate to be elected since Jim Zeigler was elected in the 1970 race.
Describing himself as "very relieved and very excited" over his victory, Thomas said that he would have to be careful to be "not the first black president of the SGA but the president of the SGA and a representative of all students."
THOMAS SAID that two areas to be covered by his new administration from the start will include election reform and judicial reform.
When asked if he believed that his victory at the polls would prove a "killer blow" for the Machine, Thomas replied that he didn't believe it to be the end of the Machine but that sororities had gained new political confidence from the race.
Thomas commented on the "signs of more independent thinking of students, particularly those in sororities and in dorms. It's a signal that times are changing."
In a statement delivered to the press Thursday night, Williamson said, "I would like to thank my supporters for standing by me through this campaign. It has been a trying experience but one I have enjoyed immensely."
"I WOULD LIKE to sincere congratulations to Cleo on his election to the SGA presidency. Cleo is a very capable person and I wish him success during his year at the top. No matter what has happened during the past two weeks, I do not regret running, it is an experience I shall always remember," said Williamson.
Election returns were:
For president: Cleo Thomas--2,699, Joe Williamson--2,182
Arts and sciences senator: John Barganier--746, Harding Fendley--725
Communication senator: David Davis--215, Marsha Lefkovits--128
Graduate school senator: John Laskow--70, Galen (Skip) Hughes--77, Bruce Lowrey--89
Education senator: Jimmy Moorer--282, Jim Young--274
Law school senator: James Powell--171, Lucian Gillis--116
Men's Dorm senator: Bryant Langham--324, Allen Tuckeró321