Mazen is a Muslim-American activist and MIT graduate who served two terms on the Cambridge City Council following his elections in 2013 and 2015. Mazen did not seek reelection in the 2017 City Council race, instead vying for the national stage.
Though he cited personal health concerns as a determining factor in his decision to end his campaign, he said his primary reason for withdrawing from the race was campaign financing.
“It's a learning experience for me, and I need to learn how to raise the big dollars for congressional campaigns,” Mazen said.
Several candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination in the district that includes Lowell, Mass. Daniel A. Koh ’07, former chief of staff to the mayor of Boston, Barbara A. L’Italien, a state senator, and Stephen J. Kerrigan, the 2014 Democratic nominee for Mass. lieutenant governor, are all contenders in the crowded field.
“When you run for a congressional race and you see someone raising $1.6 million in big corporate money, or you see someone who was Obama’s campaign finance director in 2012 and has nationally raised half a million dollars overnight, that signals to me that there's a big gulf between running a movement, and getting people engaged on the local and state level, and running a strong congressional campaign,” Mazen said.
Mazen said that other candidates had more established financial networks, an advantage in a busy race.
“I don't have those networks and I wouldn't want to have fundraising success be based on wealthy business contacts like others have,” Mazen said. “I would want that to be based on a movement of people who want to see a new type of legislator.”
Now, Mazen, a tech-based entrepreneur, is turning all his attention to his new app Outvote.
“It is the dream I’ve had for a long time of supporting others through the importance of voter engagement,” he said.
The app, which aims to generate enthusiasm and support for candidates across the country, will be debuting in the 2018 elections, according to Mazen.
—Staff writer Benjamin E. Frimodig can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer Isabel M. Kendall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @IsabelMKendall.
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