Updated, 4:09 p.m. Even as the presidential runoff between Jeff Gordon ’12 and Courtney Pannell ’11 reaches its close, the hotly-contested campaign doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Charlie Jaeger ’12, who Gordon described as a “close friend who has put a lot of work into the campaign,” sent a controversial e-mail in support of Gordon that compared Pannell to Sarah Palin and Caitlin Upton, the former Miss South Carolina Teen USA famous for her garbled response to a question about geography.

After the e-mail made its way around Yale’s panlists, Gordon asked Jaeger to step down from his campaign, and Jaeger posted a Facebook status apologizing to both candidates for his role in the election cycle.

In an e-mail to the News, Gordon said he had nothing to do with the e-mail, and that Jaeger acted independently of the campaign.

“The bottom line is that I want this election to be decided on the issues, and this negativity is just distracting us all,” Gordon wrote.

As the controversy spread through inboxes across campus, Pete Croughan ’12, who placed third in the first-round of voting for YCC president and subsequently endorsed Gordon, officially withdrew his support.

Croughan said he did so “only to disassociate myself with the petty politics on both sides. I’m frustrated that the last two days have not been spent talking about the important issues that motivated me to run but rather who’s endorsing who and political maneuvering.”

Pannell, who is also a multimedia editor for the News, said, “We should focus on the two candidates and keep this election as positive as possible.”