Ole Miss’ 2018 Homecoming Queen and campus favorites were announced Tuesday night, as well as the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior maids. The elections for Mr. and Miss Ole Miss will be decided in a runoff election this Thursday.
Jessica Tran and Jessi Lockett will compete in the runoff for Miss Ole Miss, while Chauncey Mullins and Mikhail Love will face one another in the runoff for Mr. Ole Miss. Hallie Gillam was elected Homecoming Queen in Tuesday’s vote.
Before Attorney General Austin Fiala read aloud the winners of each election, he announced that Mr. and Miss Ole Miss will both be going to runoffs this year, leaving the seven candidates vying for those positions in suspense while he read off the winners of other contests.
Finally, after what Mr. Ole Miss hopeful Mikhail Love called “the most stressful 10 minutes of my life,” Fiala at last moved to disclose the names of the candidates who will be competing in the runoffs for Mr. and Miss Ole Miss, which will be conducted this Thursday.
Competing in the runoff for Miss Ole Miss are Jessi Lockett, a biology major and orientation leader, and Jessica Tran, a biochemistry major and president of UM Active Minds.
“I am so excited,” said Tran, who received 46.86 percent of the vote for Miss Ole Miss.
“I looked around, and it wasn’t even the race or the campaign … I was so overwhelmed by the people who came out for me,” Tran said. “It feels like a dream to be in this place and surrounded by so much love. I just started crying — it was so incredible.”
Lockett, who received 25.54 percent of the vote, said this campaign has made her even more passionate about the platform with which she began her campaign.
“Ole Miss really is a family,” Lockett said. “I have seen my friends really believe in me. But even more impactful, I have seen so much family (among) candidates running for election on Business Row. We hand out opposing candidates’ stickers, and we all still support and love one another.”
Continuing the race for Mr. Ole Miss are Chauncey Mullins and Mikhail Love, both of whom are public policy leadership majors.
Mullins, a community college transfer student who entered Ole Miss as a junior, won the plurality of the vote, receiving 36.12 percent. Speaking about his outlook for the next two days of campaigning, Mullins said, “We are just going to keep working hard.”
“We knew we were the underdog when we entered the race, and we knew we would just have to work that much harder,” Mullins said. “Ole Miss is my dream school. I love these people, and I love this place.”
As for Love, who spoke about his campaign amid screams of excitement, the race for Mr. Ole Miss is one of personal meaningfulness. In a recently released campaign video, Love said, “I never thought that this place would have such an impact on me.”
“How I perceive the world and how I perceive people and how I perceive life, in itself … It’s that friendly face you see on your way to class,” Love said. “It’s that sense of belonging and that sense of unity that you have as a student body that makes this place like nowhere else on Earth.”
Taking the title of Homecoming Queen is Hallie Gillam, a public policy leadership major, who ran unopposed.
“I am just so excited and humbled by this experience,” Gillam said.
On the dynamics of running a campaign without an opponent, Gillam said, “I still wanted to run a campaign that would let people know who I am. I wanted to give people something to hold on to — something that sticks with them when they are voting.”
Freshman Maid was awarded to Alea Jones. Sophomore Maid was awarded to Gianna Schuetz. Junior Maid was awarded to Sloane Reid. Senior Maid was awarded to MaryScott Polk.
“We had 5,109 votes, and so that’s a very good voter turnout,” Fiala said.
In a Twitter poll recently posted on Monday by The Daily Mississippian asking, “Will you be voting in the Ole Miss personality elections tomorrow?” 32 percent voted yes and 68 percent voted no.
Each of these 5,109 votes were garnered under more campaign provisions than have been seen in any previous Ole Miss campaign season. New regulations on social media campaigning were enacted this year, according to Fiala.
“This year we looked to make a very detailed copy of social media regulations in this election,” Fiala said. “From the feedback we’ve already had, it was a rocky start, but it allowed candidates to be accountable and transparent.”