U.C. Hopefuls Begin Races

In a field that is noticeably missing a number of the bigwigs in Harvard’s student government, four candidates will run for president and three for vice president in this year’s Undergraduate Council race, election officials announced over the weekend.

The presidential candidates and their running mates, respectively, are Joshua A. Barro ’05 and Christina L. Adams ’06, Aaron S. Byrd ’05 and Divya A. Mani ’05, Matthew W. Mahan ’05 and Michael R. Blickstead ’05 and Jason L. Lurie ’05, who is running for president alone.

The candidates, certified by the seven-student Election Commission, are allowed to start spending money on their campaigns today.

Voting will begin on Dec. 8 at 12:01 p.m. and end on Dec. 11 at 11:59 a.m., according to the Election Commission.

Fewer candidates than expected are seeking the presidency this year, with Campus Life Committee Chair Jack P. McCambridge ’06, Student Affairs Committee Vice Chair Sheila R. Adams ’05 and council member Justin R. Chapa ’05 conspicuously absent from the list of hopefuls.

Chapa, whose friends tried to encourage him to run with a website—www.draftjustin.org—announced that he will instead work on the Mahan-Blickstead campaign.

McCambridge and Adams were expected to run on the same ticket for president and vice president, respectively.

But Adams recently decided to study abroad next semester, which put a kink in the team’s plans.

“They would have made great candidates,” council member Teddy E. Chestnut ’06 said. He added, however, that he thought “students won’t be worse off” since those running have been significantly involved with the council.

McCambridge and Adams now sit on the election commission.

Election Commission Chair David I. Monteiro ’04 said that he was unsure about why the pool of candidates is smaller this year than last, when six teams ran.

Barro said that the decrease might be due to an apprehension about following current president Rohit Chopra ’04, who has led the council through a whirlwind of legislation since taking office last year.

“He leaves big shoes to fill,” Barro said. “We have to think about how to be as strong as we once were without him.”

Barro said he does not think that the small number of candidates will make this year’s election any less competitive.

“Last year there were three really serious tickets and this time I think that there are three really serious tickets,” he said. “I don’t think the election dynamic is going to be that much different.”

Mani also said that the race this year will be just as intense as last year’s.

“We think the smaller field will highlight the real differences between the various tickets,” she said.

Another source of the decrease in the number of candidates may have been the linking of Mahan, who chairs the Student Affairs Committee, and Blickstead, the council’s treasurer—a formidable set of opponents, according to some.

The pairing came as a surprise to both council members and the candidates themselves.

“I really thought Mike was going to run against me for a while,” Mahan said.

Due to a policy change, this year’s potential candidates were allowed to campaign while collecting signatures for their election petitions.

Last year, the election commission banned campaigning until the petitions had been submitted.

“I think that they were good changes,” Barro said. “While collecting signatures you can tell people what you would do if you won. I talked to mostly freshmen.”

—Staff writer Ebonie D. Hazle can be reached at hazle@fas.harvard.edu.