February 20, 2004

Dean Backers Move On

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Cornell Students for Dean has officially declared its support for John Edwards. Howard Dean ended his campaign for presidency Wednesday because of his heavy loses in Wisconsin. With the upcoming “Big 10” primaries on March 2, which includes New York State, this change in support among Deaniacs could have a significant effect on the outcome of the Democratic National Primary.

Cornell Students for Dean is the first student organization to officially transfer its support. “For an Ivy league University as liberal as Cornell to make this switch makes it safe for Deanheads across the country to switch to Edwards.” said Peter S. Cohl ’05, president of Cornell Students for Dean. According to Cohl, there are approximately 120 members of Cornell Students for Dean and only one person in the group objected to the decision to endorse Edwards.

Recently, Edwards had a strong showing in the Wisconsin primary which has added new life to his campaign. With 95 percent of the vote counted, John Kerry leads with 40 percent, Edward’s with 35 percent, and Dean with 18 percent. According to the Associate Press, Edwards is known for his favorable draw among Independents and Republicans and his late-breaking upswings before elections. With the addition of support from Dean fans, “Super Tuesday” in Ithaca holds a lot of potential for Edwards.

“[Dean supporters] tend to like Edwards, so there is likely to be an outpouring of support. The type of fervent, active support that Dean has had in the past.” said Jake Honigman ’04, co-president of Cornell Students for Dean.

This year there are exactly 4,322 democratic delegates for the Democratic primary contest. One candidate needs to win 2,162 delegates to win the primary. According to the AP, so far Kerry has won 613 delegates while Edward’s has 192. The “Big Ten” offers a total of 1,151 delegates, of which 236 are from New York State.

“We love Howard Dean in our hearts, we love the progressive nature of his campaign and we feel the best way to defeat George W. Bush is with a candidate who will stir passions in a way similar to Howard Dean,” Cohl said. “Edwards’ stance on fair trade and populism attracts us.”

Yesterday, Edward’s gave a speech at Columbia University and stated “those trade deals were wrong … they cost us too many jobs and lowered our standards.”

A recent Gallop poll declared Kerry leads 55 percent to 43 percent against Bush. Similarly, Edwards also leads Bush with 54 percent against 44 percent of respondents.

“We will recruit Dean students from as far away as Berkeley in the Super Tuesday states.” Cohl said. Cornell Students for Dean will also try to arrange a visit by Edwards either in Syracuse or Ithaca during his upstate New York tour. They will also continue with their ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts.

“The Dean people coming to Edwards makes perfect sense. Between Edwards and Kerry it’s obvious what candidate they can pend their hopes on for change” said Rachel Gage ’03 who represented Edwards at the Cornell Caucus last Thursday, Feb. 12.

Another surprising trend is the higher turnouts in voters in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Carolina during their primaries and caucuses. “I would anticipate the turnout would be a little greater [in Tompkins County] because there is still a viable race happening right now” said Steve DeWitt, Democratic commissioner of elections of Tompkins County.

“Dean has had a good following in New York and most of those supporters will vote for one of the remaining Democrats” said Irene Stein, Democratic party chair of Tompkins County.

On March 2, there will be voting booths set up on North Campus in the Robert Purcell Community Center. On West Campus the voting booth will be in the Class of 1926 dorm. This is a change from the normal site of the Class of 1922 because of current construction of the West Campus Residential Initiative. The Board of Elections recommends that off-campus voters call 274-5522 to learn where other polling sites are.

Archived article by Casey Holmes