A last-minute ASB Attorney General’s investigation disqualified Taran Carrasco, who received a majority of the votes in the Miss Ole Miss runoff election, due to a campaign violation of the ASB Code and Constitution concerning bribery.
ASB Judicial Chair Liza Boyer confirmed that Carrasco was disqualified due to bribery, but added that “it was less of a violation against the candidate who was disqualified. It was organization of person on their campaign team was the one to commit that violation. By association, that is how we came to that conclusion.”
Carrasco is a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, and in advance of rush week, Delta Gamma sent flowers to the other sororities, wishing them luck during recruitment. Written on the card delivered with the flowers, Delta Gamma also added “Don’t forget to vote tomorrow!” Though she had no knowledge of the message sent on the flowers, Carrasco was held responsible and ultimately disqualified.
Boyer confirmed that Carrasco was not aware of her sorority’s actions leading to the violation.
Following the results, Carrasco said that she “had no hard feelings toward Cecelia (Trotter). I am sure she will take this duty responsibly and represent us well.” She added that she understood ASB had a job to do and respected them for executing it.
Supporters began to gather around the Lyceum steps at 7 p.m., and following a series of delays due to the investigation, at 10:20 p.m., Deputy ASB Attorney General Jake Fanning announced Stefano Subauste as Mr. Ole Miss, Cecelia Trotter as Miss Ole Miss and Carl Tart as the university’s first ever homecoming king.
ASB Attorney General Austin Fiala announced that 5862 votes were cast, marking the second highest voter turnout in Ole Miss election history: second only to Tuesday’s primary election.
As the night wand, students outside of the Lyceum grew visibly weary, leaving in droves with each announcement that the results were delayed. However, when Fanning announced the winners, the Circle exploded in applause.
Subauste stood on the steps of the Lyceum, looked out over the crowd of students still in attendance and boomed the ‘Hotty Toddy’ chant. Following the chant, Tart was carried down the steps on the shoulders of his supporters. The trio of winners embraced on the Lyceum landing, and Subauste yelled to the crowd: “Give it up for your first homecoming king!”
Tart was visibly animated following his victory.
“Thank you to everyone who voted me to be the first homecoming king,” Tart said. “I just can’t describe how I feel right now. It’s amazing and I just really thank everyone. I love Ole Miss and I love everyone.”
This is the second time in as many elections that controversy has plagued the announcement of runoff results.
During the ASB executive officer elections last spring, the runoff election for vice president was sent to a second runoff as the ASB judicial council invalidated the initial runoff election votes due to a campaign violation also concerning the ASB code on bribery.
The newly elected Homecoming court will be announced on-field at halftime of Ole Miss’ homecoming football game vs. Vanderbilt on Oct. 5.