Reich Garners Student Support

By DAVID S. HIRSCH

AND CHRISTOPHER M. LOOMIS

CRIMSON STAFF WRITERs

It’s quiet on campus.

Even as the Massachusetts Democratic Party prepares for one of the most hotly contested gubernatorial primaries in recent history and Republicans jockey for position in the race for Lieutenant Governor, Harvard political organizations show little signs of life.

In one notable exception, however, Democratic candidate and former Harvard Lecturer Robert B. Reich has made his presence felt on campus—and been rewarded with active student support.

In the Donkey’s Lair

In the Democratic gubernatorial race, four candidates—Reich, Shannon P. O’Brien, Warren E. Tolman and Thomas F. Birmingham ’72—are vying for their party’s place on the ballot for the general election on Nov. 5. While O’Brien has taken a strong lead in recent polls, the outcome of tomorrow’s primary is hardly a foregone conclusion.

Choosing to focus their main effort on supporting the candidate who wins the primary, the Harvard College Democrats (HCD) will not endorse a candidate for the primary election.

HCD formed campaign subcommittees to support the gubernatorial candidates last spring, but with the exception of the Reich camp, these groups have failed to gain much momentum.

The Tolman subcommittee cites a lack of leadership in drumming up support for their candidate, while an O’Brien subcommittee failed to materialize due to lack of interest amongst the HCD membership.

While the Birmingham subcommittee does have a contact list of several dozen names, their primary concern has been getting subcommittee members to the polls.

Following the primary, HCD is planning a series of events to unify its members’ support for the winner of the primary election. In the event of an O’Brien victory, the strategy may help to bring the large corps of Reich supporters into the winner’s camp.

“People are going to be upset [if Reich does not win],” says Jessica L. Diaz ’05, communications director for HCD. “But then they are going to realize [Republican candidate] Mitt Romney may be ahead in the polls.”

Diaz says HCD events after the primary will focus on providing members—who may not be enamored with the Democratic nominee—with opportunities to get a taste of the “campaign experience,” as well as to meet other Democrats throughout the state, rather than supporting a specific candidate.

Sonia H. Kastner ’03, president of HCD, says the group, in cooperation with the Institute of Politics (IOP) is also planning a bus trip to New Hampshire on Sept. 28 to kick-off the group’s campaign effort.