Harvard political student groups are refocusing their energies on Massachusetts ahead of next week’s Super Tuesday, when 12 states will hold primaries and caucuses in the presidential election.
On the Republican side, Harvard Students for Rubio has been actively phone-banking and canvassing throughout Massachusetts. The transition back into the state follows a successful period of calling into South Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada, Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18, National Co-Chair of Students for Rubio, said.
The Harvard student group experienced some difficulty with canvassing in the Cambridge area, given the lower concentration of Republican voters. Still, Khansarinia said the group will do everything possible to ensure that they do not “cede any part of the state.”
“We will be working very hard across the state to door knock. It’s not as easy as it is for our counterparts on the left. We can’t just walk around Cambridge, Boston, and Jamaica Plains because there simply aren’t any Republican voters there,” Khansarinia said.
Harvard Students for Rubio will be focusing their efforts in central, western, and northern Massachusetts primarily, and have plans to canvass in Vermont and Maine before voters in both states go to the polls next week.
“If someone says ‘don’t campaign there,’ we’re going to campaign there because Marco Rubio is the candidate who can reach across party lines,” he said. “We’re not ready to cede that vote to anybody.”
Harvard Students for Bernie, meanwhile, have been making similar efforts in phone-banking and canvassing, with plans to focus their campaigning in and around the Cambridge area, said He Li ’16, president of Harvard Students for Bernie. The group will canvass throughout the weekend and on Super Tuesday will focus on encouraging already dedicated Sanders’ supports to “Get Out The Vote.”
“In the days leading up to the primary on Tuesday, we will be focusing on getting out the vote through the weekend and on the Tuesday, the primary day,” Li said. “We’re going to be reminding people to show their support by going to the polls.”
In addition to canvassing and phone-banking, the group also took a trip to Central Square on Monday evening where the founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream company distributed free ice cream to show support for the Vermont senator.
On the other side of the Democrats, Harvard Students for Hillary have been working with other Boston-area colleges on phone-banking and door-to-door canvassing. The group has arranged three to four phone-banks a week, primarily into the Boston area, and canvassing trips on the weekends close to campus, according to Michael K. Kikukawa ’17, outreach captain of Harvard Students for Hillary.
Kikukawa said that phone-banking into Massachusetts has been more rewarding than in other states because locals have been more willing to learn about the merits of the candidates.
“I think the Massachusetts voters have been a little less saturated with calls than the New Hampshire voters so they are more receptive to being talked to about who is the best candidate for the Democrats and who is the best person to be President of the United States,” he said.
The latest poll conducted by Emerson College Polling Society and released Feb. 22 has Clinton and Sanders tied at 46 percent each, and Businessman Donald J. Trump 34 percent ahead of Rubio in Massachusetts.—Staff writer Kabir K. Gandhi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KabirKGandhi.
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