Emerging from a heated race, Jeff Gordon ’12 will be next president of the Yale College Council.

Gordon’s election — by a razor-thin margin of just 71 votes — comes after a runoff with Courtney Pannell ’11 on Thursday, a day that also saw clashes between the two candidates’ camps. He had trailed Pannell in the first round of voting earlier this week by just two votes.

[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”6787″ ]

Of 3,121 votes in the runoff, Gordon took 1,596 to Pannell’s 1,525. Turnout remained high — just 280 fewer votes than in the first round.

Gordon ran on a platform advocating certificates of proficiency in foreign language and changing lab classes from half credit to full credit, along with improving Yale Dining and Undergraduate Career Services.

Gordon’s victory comes after a tense campaign that divided YCC candidates and members-elect. Four of five members of the newly elected editorial board endorsed Pannell on Wednesday, while Pete Croughan ’12, the third-place candidate for president, initially supported Gordon. Croughan pulled his support today after Gordon’s campaign aide, Charlie Jaeger ’12, sent an e-mail in which he compared Pannell, who hails from Milan, Tenn., to Sarah Palin and Caitlin Upton (former Miss South Carolina Teen USA who gained fame for her garbled response to a question about geography at the Miss Teen USA pageant).

For the full story, see tomorrow’s News.