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Five in a Row.

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T.J. Rodgers, Todd Zywicki, Peter Robinson, the constitution, and now Stephen F. Smith.

Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees will be joined by a fourth petition Trustee. Stephen F. Smith ‘88 has won the latest election, with 9,984 votes. 55% of voting alumni cast a vote for Mr. Smith. This makes him the most successful petition Trustee candidate in Dartmouth history. T.J. Rodgers ‘70 previously had that record, earning 8,025 votes in his 2004 election and the support of 54% of voting alumni.

Turnout in this Trustee election was the largest in recent history—28% of alumni filled out a ballot, compared to roughly 25% when Rodgers, Robinson, and Zywicki were elected. And the proportion of voters casting a vote for a petition candidate increased as well; Stephen Smith’s share of the vote was larger than any of the three other petition Trustees.

Stephen Smith ran against three officially nominated candidates: Richard “Sandy” Alderson ‘69, Sherri Oberg ‘82, and John Wolf ‘70. His principal opponent was Mr. Alderson, who to the dismay of many alumni ran a campaign premised on preventing a “hijack[ing]” of Dartmouth’s Board by Mr. Smith. Mr. Alderson sent out photo postcards in support of his candidacy. The columnist George Will, a friend of Mr. Alderson’s, endorsed him. William F. Buckley endorsed Stephen Smith later in the race.

For his part, Mr. Smith mailed two letters to the alumni body—one several months ago seeking petitions and another during balloting; that latter was a detailed four-page document laying out his platform. It can be read with footnotes here.

Mr. Wolf and Ms. Oberg engaged in minimal campaigning.

I was pleased as punch to endorse Mr. Smith in this post. Dartblog also wrote extensively against last year’s controversial constitutional overhaul, which, had it passed, would have changed the election rules to severely impair petition candidates. In the event, the constitution failed to pass by eighteen points and the 2007 Trustee election was conducted pursuant to the traditional rules.

UPDATE: Dartmouth’s official press release is here.

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UPDATE: A. S. Erickson at The Dartmouth Review posts some thoughts.

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