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UW students reject the Freedom Caucus' vision for student government with the election of Murfitt-Knull

Two young men in suits smile at the camera. One is wearing a cowboy hat.
Courtesy of Kirby Federocko
Kameron Murfitt and Paden Knull were elected by their fellow students to serve as student body president and vice president for the next year. In a ranked choice election, UW students rejected a presidential ticket backed by the state's far-right Freedom Caucus.

Starting in May, the University of Wyoming (UW) student government will be led by Kameron Murfitt and Paden Knull, who won the Associated Students of UW election last week for president and vice president.

"I feel so thankful to the community of students here on campus for believing in us," Murfitt said. "We don't want to disappoint. We are super excited to serve the students on this campus and hopefully make meaningful change."

In a ranked choice election, student voters picked Murfitt and Knull over two other sets of candidates. That included Gabe Saint and JW Rzeszut, who were endorsed by the state's far-right Freedom Caucus. The final vote tally came to 51.5 percent for Murfitt and Knull, and 48.5 percent for Saint and Rzeszut.

Minutes after winning the election, Murfitt said his administration will aim to focus on student issues rather than partisan state politics.

"One thing that we really want to maintain is that we are a nonpartisan organization, and we respect the opinions of all students," he said. "We advocate for all students."

Vice president-elect Knull said his administration will focus on its campaign promises — setting up a new testing center, establishing new scholarships, and improving the culture of student government, which he said has suffered in the past year from burnout and resignations.

"I really want to work to position ourselves in a way where it's not your political beliefs that are dictating what you say out on the floor," Knull said. "It's what you believe is best for students that's determining your actions out there."

Murfitt and Knull were endorsed by a number of student groups, including the political science club, the college Democrats and the Queer Community Coalition.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include the final vote tally and names of the runner-up ticket.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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