Reich Gains Cambridge Support
More than 50,000 party faithful turned out across the state for the caucuses, which marked the first step in picking the Democrats’ candidate for governor.
Early polling shows the crowded democratic gubernatorial race led by state Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham ’72, a Cambridge resident.
State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien follows close behind, but both have to compete for convention delegates with Reich, former Democratic National Committee Chair Steve Grossman and former state Representative Warren E. Tolman.
Each candidate must have the support of 15 percent of the nearly 750 delegates at the state convention in order to even appear on the ballot in next fall’s Democratic primary.
Delegates may declare their support for a particular candidate but are not bound by this promise. Any attempt to tally delegate support for a particular candidate can only be determined by the guesswork of local Democratic committees and campaigns.
Based on unofficial results of this Saturday’s caucuses Birmingham and O’Brien are almost assured spots on the ballot, while Grossman is a likely third candidate, said Debra Kozikowski, vice-chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
But according to state Democratic leaders, Reich still faces an uphill battle.
“I’m the vice chair of the state democratic party and I’ve never met him,” Kozikowski said.
Reich’s standing throughout the state was overshadowed by the top candidates, but Cambridge’s caucuses tipped their support behind Clinton’s former labor secretary.
In Cambridge, Reich won all five delegates in his home ward—Ward 8, which includes many Harvard Houses.
Helped by a strong student showing in Cambridge, Reich swept 19 of the 20 delegates up for grabs in the three wards that include Harvard undergraduate housing.
“There was an excellent student turnout,” said Helen Glickman, Ward 8 vice-chair, who said that hotly-contested races attracted students to the process.
“I’ve been on the ward committee since 1988 and this is the largest student turnout,” she said.
When Reich kicked off his gubernatorial bid last month—long after O’Brien and Birmingham had been on the campaign trail—he attributed his decision to run in part to a Harvard course he had lectured in last fall.
Christopher J. Lewis ’02, a member of that class, Religion 1529, “Personal Choice and Global Transformation,” said those lectures were his first encounter with Reich.
After seeing him speak, Lewis decided to join the Reich campaign.
At the Saturday caucus in Ward 8, he was elected an alternate delegate.
“I believe in his candidacy and his stance on education and equality,” Lewis said. “He is the best candidate for the task at hand and will bring the labor sector into the 21st century.”
Lewis is one of five Harvard students who will attend the state party convention in Worcester this summer as alternates.
“The great thing about my campaign is that young people have become excited about politics,” Reich said at Saturday’s caucus.
“I would like to think I am talking about issues that matter and igniting ideals that many young people feel but have been afraid to act upon because of overriding cynicism of American politics.”
President of the Harvard Democrats, Sonia H. Kastner ’03, said she was pleased with the student showing at the caucuses.
“It is important for students to register in the local district,” she said. “Harvard makes up a huge part of Cambridge and we can make our presence known through voting.”
—Staff writer Jeslyn A. Miller can be reached at email@example.com.