Hitting the Trail With Candidates

6:00 p.m. City Councilor Alice K. Wolf is going door-to-door to solicit votes for today's Cambridge elections. Knock, knock. A voice from inside the apartment shouts to her, "Come in." Leaflet in hand, the first-term incumbent opens the door, ready to introduce herself, and sees a huge hairy man, lying in bed with a woman on either side of him.

Just another day on the campaign trail in Cambridge.

But personal contact with voters is the most important part of local elections, Wolf says, because the city's proportional representation (PR) election system forces candidates to base their campaigns largely on popular appeal and neighborhood support. In PR elections, voters rank all of the candidates in order of preference--one, two, three and so on.

10:00 p.m. Harvard students are heading back for a study break, and Councilor David E. Sullivan is there to meet them. Sullivan is one of four progressive candidates this election who is actively seeking the student vote.

With the help of volunteers from the Democratic Socialists on campus, Sullivan starts at Greenough and makes the rounds from Yard dorm to dorm, introducing himself and his platform, and explaining to potential voters how the Cambridge system works.


"I want to make students more aware of the University's role in the community," says Sullivan. "I want to point out that they have some responsibility for Harvard's actions as an institution."

6:30 a.m. Hugh Adams Russell '64 sits down at his typewriter to write nearly 2000 letters outlining his stand on housing issues and describing his political experience.

"I tried going door to door and I hated it," said Russell. "When you write a letter, you can really explain yourself in detail, not just superficially," the local architect points out.

As the first openly gay person running for the nine-member council, Russell has sent out several mailings to the Cambridge gay community. The former Planning Board member who is supported by the Coalition '85 also sends campaign literature to his professional colleagues, architects in the area.

7:00 a.m. Walter J. Sullivan is working out at the YMCA before hitting the campaign trail. After an early start, Sullivan spends all day and most of the night at wakes, receptions and parties as he has been doing for his 36 years on the council.

"I campaign 365 days a year," he says. "Of course, it gets a little more hectic right before elections, but you have to keep it up all year.