Emilio Vicente, the gay, feminist illegal immigrant from Guatemala who was campaigning to become the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, failed to win Tuesday’s runoff election.
Vicente was, in fact, crushed by a 27.43-point margin, reports The College Fix.
The final tally in the runoff for student council president at North Carolina’s flagship taxpayer-funded university was 2,681 votes for Vicente (35.47 percent) and 4,760 votes (62.9 percent) for his opponent, U.S. resident Andrew Powell.
About 30,000 students attend the school.
Vicente came to America when he was six-years old with his parents. They entered the country illegally.
He received enthusiastic support from a number of campus factions and began something of a national cause célèbre. Last month, “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria urged UNC students to vote for Vicente. He also received an endorsement from al-Jazeera.
Leftist students in particular had pinned their hopes on Vicente’s candidacy. According to The Fix, one student proclaimed that the illegal immigrant “represents the Carolina that is fighting back against the political forces that want to make public education accessible to only…upper class white students.”
It’s not clear why Vicente lost so handily. He was far and away the front-runner after the first election round with 41.08 percent of the vote.
At the end of the day, The Fix speculates, Vicente likely lost the election because he was famous for his illegal immigrant status but could not translate that status into a meaningful platform for garden-variety students.
During his campaign, for example, Vicente had constantly stressed his personal story but described his platform as “organic and evolving.”
Additionally, near the end of the campaign, Vicente’s platform writer, Ishmael Bishop, publicly abandoned Vicente by way of Facebook, calling Vicente “NOT a transparent character” and someone lacking in “competence and tact.”
Vicente’s platform promised to “continue to support advocacy for undocumented students to have in-state tuition” — a policy public universities in many states are adopting.
Other aspects of Vicente’s program included battling sexual assault and supporting the interests of UNC students within the larger UNC system.
Powell promised to do what the student government can to address perpetually rising tuition and fees. He also discussed more mundane local concerns that affect students’ lives such as, for example, a municipal law limiting the number of roommates a person can have.