No Champagne for the Runners-Up

As the Petersen-Sundquist celebrated their victory in Currier House last night, the mood at five other campaign headquarters scattered across campus was somber as the runners-up reacted to news of their loss. With the champagne shelved, these candidates reflected on two weeks of campaigning and began to contemplate post-election life.


The booming music and excited voices slowly quieted down as supporters realized that presidential candidate Tom D. Hadfield ’08 was circling the room, trying to hear the long-awaited election results on his cell phone.

“Can you say that again?” Hadfield asked. “Aw, well, that’s a shame.”

Hanging up the phone, Hadfield turned to thank the around 50 supporters—some of whom were crying—for their work on the campaign. Though the music quickly came back on at full blast, approximately three-quarters of supporters left immediately after thanking Hadfield—leaving champagne bottles, beer cans, and pizza boxes unopened.

Teary and red-eyed, vice presidential candidate Adam Goldenberg ’08, who wore a yellow shirt that matched his ticket’s chosen campaign color, said it was a disappointing end to a long race.

“I really don’t know why we lost,” he said. “I am so proud of our campaign. I’ll never regret this for as long as I live.”

The candidates, who are both Crimson editorial editors, said they looked forward to their lives returning to normal now that the campaign was over.


Ali A. Zaidi ’08 and Edward Y. Lee ’08 broke up the their 40-strong campaign party—which was decidedly alcohol-free—to answer the phone call delivering the news of their strong third-place finish.

Once the music turned off, campaign members unglued their eyes from the basketball game on the big-screen television, turning their attention to the elevated platform where Zaidi and Lee stood.

“This has become more than a campaign team—it’s become a family to us,” said Lee to a cheering crowd.

Zaidi expressed regret that the student body was not more receptive to “Harvard’s Promise.”

“It was a very idealistic idea and I guess the campus wasn’t ready for it this year,” he said.

Zaidi and Lee, both of whom serve on the UC, said they plan on keeping their vision alive and encouraging a new ticket to follow in their footsteps next year.

“The difference between our campaign and others is that ours wasn’t a campaign—it was a promise,” said Zaidi.


Several doors down from Hadfield-Goldenberg campaign headquarters, Tim R. Hwang ’08 and Alexander S. Wong ’08 held a little soiree of their own with Oreos, candy canes, and milk.

“We’re an anarchist campaign so it’s kind of hard to get people together for anything,” Hwang said of the minimal turnout of two or three supporters.

Hwang’s senior policy adviser, R. Kyle Bean ’10 agreed. “Our sleeper cells are moving towards revolutions.”

While his running mate Wong looked on in silence after a late arrival, Hwang, sporting his signature red jumpsuit, seemed at ease.

Upon hearing that their ticket came in fourth place with just over 10 percent of the vote, Hwang was undaunted.

“We will not rest until the UC is torn down stone by stone,” he said. “We have underclassmen positioned to take our stead and we will continue to campaign year after year until the UC is destroyed.”

Hwang said he was happy with the way the campaign turned out. “We look forward to many revolutions in the future.”


While waiting for the election results last night, Amadi P. Anene ’08 and running mate Kyle A. de Beausset ’08-’09 chatted and snacked on cupcakes in the Leverett private dining room. Anene put up a bright orange campaign poster to mark campaign headquarters, while passersby in Leverett House wished them good luck. The pair, joined later by campaign housing coordinator Effie O. Johnson ’08, passed the time reminiscing about rowing freshman crew.

“I remember I hit Amadi in the back one time,” said de Beausset, as Anene laughed. Growing slightly impatient, de Beausset checked the Team Zebra blog, where they discovered Petersen’s presidential victory.

“Party’s over...more time to work” said Anene, who has a paper and a problem set due today. Still, the ticket decided to wait for the official phone call before disbanding. “I guess we’re done,” said an exhausted Anene, after a call informed them of their second-to-last finish.


Always the unconventional presidential candidate, Brian S. Gillis ’07-’08, combined his election party with the bi-weekly Cabot House Stein Club.

Gillis, who donned his high-school tuxedo in preparation for a Delta Gamma formal later in the night, brought a “Gillis-Wimberley” campaign poster to the event.

Morgan C. Wimberley ’08, who did not speak to the press or make public appearances during the campaign, joined her running mate at the Stein Club.

“The last few days have been really great, and it’s cool to get acquainted with a different side of Harvard,” the press-shy Wimberley said.

After calling for silence while he answered his cell phone, a still light-hearted Gillis reported his last-place finish to the crowd of around 40 people.

“In possibly the greatest upset in UC history...the Gillis-Wimberley campaign did not win,” he said, eliciting laughs.

After thanking his supporters, Gillis walked—with his arm around Wimberley—over to President-elect Ryan A. Petersen ’08’s party in Currier House.

—Kelly Y. Gu, Victoria B. Kabak, Elaine Liu, Nathan Strauss, and Shoshana Tell all contributed to the reporting of this story.