Student Groups Hone Focus As Primaries Progress

Harvard student groups are continuing to focus their efforts in Massachusetts for their respective candidates prior to Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada and upcoming primary elections in South Carolina.

On the Democratic side, Harvard Students for Bernie have “had a lot of momentum” after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s victory in the New Hampshire primaries, Justin G. Curtis ’19, vice president of the group, said. This week, the organization made hundreds of calls to voters in Nevada during two phone banks that the organization held this week.

“In the next couple of weekends we’ll be canvassing in Massachusetts in preparation for Super Tuesday,” Curtis said. “It’s a lot easier to get kids to canvass around Harvard than in New Hampshire.” {shortcode-865cb93db475fc4b135fdb1248de55b381ab80cb}

Harvard Students For Hillary have continued holding phone banks and hosting canvassing trips to rally support for former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton.

Thanks to advice from the Clinton campaign, which has a “robust operation in Nevada and South Carolina,” the student group has primarily made calls to Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, board member Sarah E. Graham ’17 said.


“Maine is a caucus state and they typically have low turnout, so we feel like we can really make a difference there,” she said.

The group has planned canvassing trips around Cambridge during the two weekends leading to Super Tuesday—on which about a dozen states hold caucuses and primaries—and on the actual day of the primary election.

“I feel that as a group we have been putting in a lot of effort,” Graham said. “We’re pretty optimistic about the results.”

Harvard Republicans are regrouping after canvassing in New Hampshire for several weeks, according to Gwen R. Thomas ’17, Harvard Republican Club president.

“Everyone is just waiting to see how things play out,” Thomas said.

Currently, Donald J .Trump leads nations polls and many Harvard Republicans are uneasy about the possibility of the controversial businessman becoming their party’s nominee.

Last semester, the Republican Club conducted an internal straw poll, and those who voted were split nearly 50-50 between Florida senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for primary election. Currently, Bush places fifth in delegate count, lagging behind other establishment competitors Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich in national polls.

Thomas, who said she is uncertain how club members’ opinions have changed since their first poll, said the group will conduct another straw poll to gauge preferences as the number of candidates whittle down.

Recent CNN/ORC polls in Nevada show Clinton and Sanders in dead heat at 48 and 47 percent respectively amongst Democratic voters. On the Republican side, the South Carolina race is less contentious, with Trump leading the polls at 38 percent to Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s 22 percent. Rubio lags further behind at 14 percent.

—Staff writer Kabir K. Gandhi can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @KabirKGandhi.

—Staff writer Daniel P. Wood can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @DanWood145.


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