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Harvard Affiliates Overwhelmingly Back Warren With Campaign Donations

Warren poses for a photo with some members of the Harvard College Democrats in 2018.
Warren poses for a photo with some members of the Harvard College Democrats in 2018. By Amanda Y. Su
By Alexandra A. Chaidez and Aidan F. Ryan, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard affiliates have never been shy about supporting liberal candidates and so far in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, they’ve opened their wallets for United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

A Harvard Law School professor emerita and Cambridge resident, Warren has pinned her candidacy on a series of detailed policy proposals that aim to address issues like affordable housing, the electoral college, and social security. In response, Harvard affiliates have given more than $42,000 to her presidential campaign — more than any other candidate — according to fundraising data from the Federal Election Commission.

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete P. M. Buttigieg ’04 and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro — who attended the College and Law School, respectively — both raised significantly less money from Harvard University affiliates.

Buttegieg garnered less than half of the amount Warren raised from Harvard affiliates, coming in at $20,000 in donations. Harvard affiliates only donated $250 to the Castro campaign.

The FEC lists Harvard University as the second largest employer for donors to the Warren Campaign, behind Google.

Warren also outraised former U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, whose campaign is polling at least five points above Warren’s, according to a new CNN poll. Biden raised nearly $19,900 from Harvard affiliates.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) accumulated slightly more than $11,000 from Harvard affiliates. U.S. Representative Seth Moulton ’01 (D-Mass.), who dropped out of the race in August, raised roughly $10,600 in donations from Harvard affiliates. Moulton graduated from Harvard College, Business School, and the Kennedy School.

Warren’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Experts attribute this popularity to Warren’s many years in academia, specifically more than a decade as a full-time professor teaching bankruptcy law at the Law School.

Stonehill College professor of political science Peter N. Ubertaccio said that while many Harvard alumni run for president, it is less common for professors themselves to begin a bid for the nation’s highest office.

“You don't often find, however, someone who made their livelihood working at the institution who’s running a presidential campaign,” Ubertaccio said. “We've had other law professors as president, but none who really made their career in the field.”

Ubertaccio noted that former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both served as law professors for several years, but it is Warren that is known for her career within the halls of the Law School.

David A. Hopkins ’99, a political science professor at Boston College, said many people at Harvard and in higher education more broadly are supporting Warren because of her detailed policy proposals.

“She’s running as a wonk, that’s the sort of thrust of her campaign,” Hopkins said. “Wonks like wonks.”

“She fits the persona of a lot of people who work in academia and work in academia,” he added.

Though Warren has served in the U.S. Senate since 2013 — she is currently serving her second term — she has sometimes waded into local Harvard issues. In 2018, she endorsed Harvard’s graduate student union weeks before their unionization election, and she called on the University to remove Arthur M. Sackler’s name from campus in May.

Since announcing her run in January, Warren has enjoyed a rise in popularity and in the polls. A CNN poll released Wednesday put her second in the race for Democratic nomination behind Biden as she continues to attract thousands at rallies across the country.

On Thursday night, Warren participated with nine other candidates in a nationally televised debate.

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at alexandra.chaidez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.

—Staff writer Aidan F. Ryan can be reached at aidan.ryan@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @AidanRyanNH.

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PoliticsUniversityUniversity News2020 Election