Oregon Alliance VP drops out with only days left in ASUO election

Michael Kraan, former ASUO vice presidential candidate for the Oregon Alliance slate, dropped out of the election on Friday, April 5 amid controversy. ASUO elections kicked off Monday and end Thursday. (Courtesty ASUO voter guide)

Michael Kraan, Oregon Alliance’s vice presidential candidate, exited from the ASUO race last week. His former running mate, Joey Alongi, will continue his run for president without a VP candidate.

“I'm completely removed,” Kraan said. “I'm not in any capacity doing anything right now.”

Kraan had been surrounded by controversy because of his past affiliation with conservative activist organization Turning Point USA and the revelation of a Facebook post he made in March 2018 that compared a raised fist made by gun control activist David Hogg to an authoritarian gesture by using a photo of Adolf Hitler.

“I wasn't calling David Hogg a Nazi,” Kraan said, “and I absolutely was not endorsing or condoning anything Adolf Hitler did.”

He said the reaction to the posts fueled his choice to remove himself from the race.

“People took the picture of Hitler and lied and said I had it as my Facebook banner, and they removed all context of the post,” he said.

Kraan, who described himself as a moderate Republican, said that he has distanced himself from Turning Point. “I do think the manner in which they express their views is divisive, and I don't think it brings people together.”

Khang Ngo, another Oregon Alliance member running for Senate, separated from the slate as well because of his role in Turning Point. Ngo’s LinkedIn profile lists him as president of the organization’s University of Oregon chapter.

The other slates competing in this year’s election, Ducks Empowered and UO is Yours, expressed concern about if Kraan and Ngo’s removals were allowed under election guidelines. Both slates filed grievances against Oregon Alliance on April 5.

With polls closing on Thursday, elections commissioner Allison Dominguez said that Kraan's decision to remove his name from the ballot came too late. Although his name will remain, he will not be elected.

The development does not mean that Alongi would be without a VP should he be elected.

“Joey, if he's elected president, would get to appoint a vice president,” Dominguez said, “and he has to consider everyone that applies before he picks.” Dominguez said that applications for the position would come from the student body.

Alongi said that in spite of Kraan's departure, the slate is continuing in the same direction.

“We still have a very clear message, very clear goals,” Alongi said. “We're still very determined, and we're confident that the student body will approve, and make the right decision based on the message.”

Alongi described the reaction to Kraan as "disheartening."

“Any continued attacks on our slate and on him are a bit ridiculous because he is gone," Alongi said. 

Dominguez expressed disapproval with some aspects of the atmosphere in this year’s election.

“We regret that Michael did not feel comfortable in continuing to run. He faced harassment from other people and past students at the UO, and watching that happen was really disappointing for us. The University of Oregon preaches inclusivity, and that has to include beliefs that differ from our own.”

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