During freshman biology lab classes in the fall of 2015, they were partners, but later this week the two will be facing off in a hotly contested runoff to be Auburn's next SGA president.
Dane Block, junior in finance, and Patrick Starr, junior in poultry science pre-vet, received the most votes in the 2018 SGA election.
"It's been an incredible week and to extend that for two days, it's even better," Block said. "To have so many students to turn out and vote is the most important thing. We have two extra days to share our vision and our platform."
Even though they're now campaign rivals, during their first semester of college, they helped each other through labs every week, Starr said.
"I love Dane Block," Starr said. "It's honestly so strange. But he sat next to me and we worked every week together."
The race moves to a runoff scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8, after no candidate received more than 40 percent of the vote from the Tuesday election.
Block finished first with 3,504 votes at 36.57 percent, and Starr finished second with 3,063 votes at 31.97 percent — less than 500 votes separating the two. According to SGA election law, the two candidates with the most votes move to a runoff.
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Block said he felt honored to be in the runoff with Starr.
"He's an incredible leader," Block said. "I couldn't be more blessed to be with him for a few extra days."
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To read a longer profile on Dane Block, click here: Dane Block aims to enhance the student experience if elected SGA president
To read a longer profile on Patrick Starr, click here
The pair will relish in their success tonight but will begin campaigning early Wednesday with only one full day to make their case and win over new voters.
Starr, who ran on his platform "Go Far with Patrick Starr," said he was encouraged that the student body believed enough in him to send him to the runoff.
"I encourage the students to think about over the next two days exactly what they want the vision for the University to be, who they want on their side, standing up for what they believe in, who would advocate best for them and who has the most heart," Starr said.
Starr and Block were first appointed to SGA during the same year — both of them serving in cabinet positions, with Starr assisting in the first ever Creed Week and Block working on the organization block seating program.
This year, Block served as a College of Business senator and Starr worked as assistant vice president of programs in SGA cabinet.
The other three candidates for president — junior Bri Thomas, senior Mike O'Key and junior Porter Kennedy — received fewer votes than Block and Starr and were eliminated from the runoff.
Thomas finished with 1,432 votes at 14.94 percent, O'Key with 925 votes at 9.65 percent and Kennedy with 658 votes at 6.87 percent. In total, 10,359 students voted in this year's election at a turnout rate of 37.05 percent of eligible student voters.
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Block ran on his campaign platform "Build With Block," promising to focus on safety, access and affordability, unity, dining and transportation.
"I sat in the debate last night, looked around and realized I was with some incredible leaders," Block said of the other candidates. "It's so great to work with them and see their heart through their work."
Starr chose his platform name with his priorities in mind, choosing Go Far as an acronym for the game day experience, an open-door policy, Family Fridays, Auburn city relations and research and development.
"I want people to remember my passion, my drive and my sincerity and that I'm a real person," Starr said.
Starr said he has the "highest respect" for the others who ran for SGA president this year.
"I text the other candidates tonight that this week we've learned a lot, that each candidate brought something different to the table," Starr said." Whoever is student body president is going to act on the other concerns that were brought up during this election."
Block said he wants to embrace his role as a servant and advocate for students.
"I just want them to know that I love Auburn," Block said. "I'm not doing this because I love SGA but I'm doing it because I love the students and the University as a whole. The success I want to see for Auburn is the passion and drive behind this."
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