Kayyem Gains Early Student Support

With the 2014 Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial caucuses coming to a close, Harvard students have thrown their early support behind Juliette N. Kayyem ’91, volunteering for her campaign and backing her in last month’s caucuses in Cambridge’s seventh and eighth wards, where she gained the support of most delegates.

“I think the overall reason why we’re seeing so much support for Juliette on campus is because she is a young, exciting face in Massachusetts politics, and she’s progressive, I’d say, more than the other candidates in the race,” said Simon M. Thompson ’14, who is currently leading the group of students supporting Kayyem.


Although only 12 to 15 students are registered on the mailing list, Thompson started to recruit student supporters from the Harvard community. He said that he believes this is a strong start.

Gubernatorial Candidates
The Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor met at the Institute of Politics on Tuesday evening for a discussion moderated by Harvard College Democrats President Daniel Ki ‘15.

“In terms of being eight to nine months out from the gubernatorial election and having nearly double of that in students who are willing to spend a couple of hours each week helping out, I think that really speaks to the fact that people are excited about her,” Thompson said. “I haven’t heard anyone who is volunteering for Martha Coakley or Steve Grossman.”

In an early February poll—the most recent to be released—Kayyem trailed Massachusetts Attorney General Martha M. Coakley and State Treasurer Steven Grossman.

Still, Kayyem’s Harvard supporters said they believe that her progressive politics make her different from the other democratic candidates.

“I think a lot of Harvard students are liberal, but it takes a specific quality about a candidate to get people excited, and I think it’s her progressiveness,” Jordan T. Weiers ’16 said.

Thompson said he and other Kayyem supporters believe that it is her progressive politics that make her the best candidate to take on the Republican candidate—presumably Charlie Baker—in the general election this November.

“She hasn’t been running for every office for the last 15 years and she’s really got this new vision for Massachusetts that I think will galvanize a lot of support behind her for the general election if she makes it through the Democratic primary,” Thompson said.

Kayyem is a columnist for the Boston Globe on leave from her appointment as a lecturer at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is married to Law School professor David J. Barron ’89, a former president of The Crimson, who chairs the Electronic Communications Policy Task Force.

—Staff writer Conor J. Reilley can be reached at

—Staff writer Zohra D. Yaqhubi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @zohradyaqhubi.