Staff writer James Cody was a campaign intern for the Kennedy campaign. He shares his recap of the campaign process and election night.
Crisp early mornings and enthusiastic campaign visibility in the bitter cold, phone calls and door knocks, election day yielded a satisfying culmination of steadfast campaign efforts for Democrats.
Democrats won big across the country and in Massachusetts. Joe Kennedy III decisively won the new 4th Congressional district, winning Barney Frank’s old seat. Kennedy's candidacy – founded on the simple principle that each and every citizen deserves the fair chance to make the most out of what they have – clearly resonated with young voters, particularly college students. Frequently, the campaign headquarters at 1254 Chestnut Street, Newton, were populated more with undergraduates and recent graduates than actualized adults.
Election night was a time for celebration, considering all of the tireless work that went into making that moment when the returns – overwhelmingly in Kennedy’s favor by about 2 to 1 – came pouring in. Kennedy, very graciously as the results were being made official, attributed the win to the successful ground game that the campaign and its volunteers had executed. Speaking specifically about the young volunteers, Kennedy said, “They worked their hearts out, and we owe this election to them.”
The tens of thousands of homes that the campaign contacted during the final week were possible because of youth involvement in the campaign. Every day, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at night, the campaign would phone bank, calling voters all over the district, hoping to convince them to give Kennedy and Elizabeth Warren their vote.
On weekends, the campaign would canvass neighborhoods, providing that personal contact that independent voters crave. The success Kennedy and Democrats nationally saw was arguably the consequence of having candidates young people could truly believe in.
“The interns were the heart of this operation,” Sam Stratton, the intern director for the campaign, said. No time illustrated this more often than the events that transpired before Kennedy's penultimate debate on Fox 25. Getting up early, for many before 5 a.m., to go and hold signs along a highway in the near-freezing temperatures, was a true testament to the dedication that ran through this campaign. Most of interns had classes later that day, but all knew that this was important, that this was how campaigns were won and lost. Something a bit more important than a Freshmen Writing Seminar class, unfortunately.
On election night, the interns were given a surprise. They spent the previous weekends on “Seal Team 4”- canvassing hard to reach areas not particularly friendly to the campaign’s message or party. When North Attleboro, Dighton, and Norton, among other towns went for Kennedy, some by huge margins, it was the final and most tangible result that the past few months were something special. Every early morning and every late night (which sometimes turned into early mornings): it all ended perfectly, just in time for he interns to get a few hours of sleep Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, and return to normal life.Which is what again?
Staff writer James Cody was a campaign intern for the Kennedy campaign. He shares his recap of the campaign process and election night. All photos courtesy of James Cody/Gavel Media Staff