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Harvard Prof. Danielle Allen Loses Democratic State Committee Election

Danielle S. Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University. Allen lost an election for Democratic State Committee Woman for the Middlesex and Suffolk district.
Danielle S. Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University. Allen lost an election for Democratic State Committee Woman for the Middlesex and Suffolk district. By Courtesy of Steve Lipofsky / Wikimedia Commons
By Madeline E. Proctor, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard University Professor Danielle S. Allen lost an election for Democratic State Committee Woman for the Middlesex and Suffolk district to former Cambridge Mayor Henrietta J. Davis in Tuesday’s primary elections.

Unlike the blowout results in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, Davis and Allen’s race was competitive: Davis won 3,577 votes to Allen’s 3,055 at the time of publication, with attorney Olivia A. Walsh placing a distant third.

The results marked the second electoral loss for Allen, who staged a failed campaign for Massachusetts governor in the 2022 Democratic primary.

Allen, a Government professor, was also reportedly considered for the Harvard presidency in the 2018 presidential search that ultimately resulted in Lawrence S. Bacow’s selection. Though she is a plausible candidate in the search for Harvard’s 31st president, her highly publicized affiliation with the Democratic Party could prove a liability as the University remains at the center of high-profile political battles.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party elects one man and one woman from each of the state’s 40 senate districts to the State Committee, which supports Democratic candidates and shapes the state party’s platform.

In a statement to The Crimson, Allen wrote that it was a “fun and truly competitive” race.

She added that she intends to remain involved in local party politics.

“I will continue to move forward my proposal that the party establish a Commission on Healthy Democracy in my role as Chair of Ward 2 for Cambridge Democrats,” wrote Allen, who leads the Allen Lab for Democracy Renovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Allen’s campaign website reads that her proposed commission would “find solutions for inclusion, engagement, and competitiveness” challenges to democracy.

Davis is a Harvard Kennedy School alumnus with a long history of public service in Cambridge. She served 10 years on the Cambridge School Committee and 16 years as a City Councilor before becoming mayor.

In her Wednesday statement, Allen wrote that she officially conceded the seat to Davis the prior evening.

“I texted Henrietta last night to congratulate her on her victory and to thank her for a great race,” Allen said. “I’m proud of the race we ran and of our showing across Cambridge, Everett, Charlestown, and Chelsea.”

—Staff writer Madeline E. Proctor can be reached at maddie.proctor@thecrimson.com.

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