Support from BU students lacks, Smith falls short
In the elections for Second District Peoria City Council, Curphy Smith didn’t garner enough Bradley student support at the polls and fell to incumbent Barbara Van Auken.
Van Auken got 1,388 votes, enough to defeat her opponent Curphy Smith’s 1,021, by 367 votes. That correlates to 57.6 percent of the votes for Van Auken.
“I’m delighted,” Van Auken said. “Someone had told me early on that people don’t forget when you provide good service to them. And I’m gratified to know that’s correct.”
Zephanie Custer, a student who volunteered for Smith’s campaign, said his goal was to get 500 Bradley students to vote for him. She worked a voter registration drive on campus and tried to get Bradley students to register and show up to the polls.
Although there are more than 1,000 students registered to vote in Peoria, student voter turnout was not as high as expected, Custer said.
“He lost by 360-some votes, and in [Van Auken’s] election four years ago she won by 360 some votes, so she essentially got the same percentage of votes this time as last time,” Custer said. “So my reasoning would be probably not very many Bradley students voted, because they didn’t vote a lot four years ago.”
Custer said she is not surprised that many students didn’t show up to the polls.
“If they would have gotten the 500 Bradley students, he would have won,” she said. “Everything the fraternities get with the noise violations they deserve because they could have stopped this.”
Former president of Sigma Nu Caleb Matheny said he is disappointed with the election results because he thought Smith “was a candidate we could work with.”
Sigma Nu is in the process of suing Van Auken for trespassing on fraternity property in the fall.
“We’re just hoping to shift gears and start to bridge the gap between the greek community and the Peoria community and improving the relationship with Van Auken is an important step to doing that,” Matheny said. “We’re going to try to sit down with her and smooth things over.”
Matheny said he thinks Van Auken’s victory can be a “fresh start” for her.
“She’s done some things in the past that have to change,” he said. “The current relationship between the Bradley community and the outside community is kind of strained.”