Recently, Democratic politician Dan Koh ’03 ran a bid for Congress in Massachusetts’ Third District, which encompasses towns such as Andover, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, and more.
The Primary elections for Massachusetts were on September 4. In the primary, initial counts showed Koh at a 52-vote deficit to Lori Trahan, another candidate from Lowell. Because of the close margin of victory, a recount was issued.
“I think it was important to have the recount as Dan was only 52 votes away from Lori Trahan. I feel that margin is too close to be ignored. I feel like even though we didn’t win the recount, it was important that we did it to just show respect to the democratic process,” said Megan Vaz ’21, a former fellow for his campaign.
During the recount, volunteers from various campaigns hand-tallied 89,000 votes. The final tallies from the recount show that Koh lost by a 145 vote margin to Trahan, who was officially declared the winner on Monday, September 17.
Koh’s first campaign office opened in downtown Andover this January. From that office and others around the district, Koh employed campaign fellows from all over the district, including some Andover students.
“A lot of what we did was organizing files for canvassing and for VoteBuilder on databases which I found really interesting because I really like the behind the scenes work on campaigns,” said Vaz.
Koh recruited fellows through a variety of events, including an on-campus discussion about his candidacy last spring. Maya Shkolnik ’21 went to the discussion and was inspired to join the campaign.
“Going to Dan’s lecture on our campus was so inspiring. His words about taking a stand for our community made me want to join his campaign. Although he lost, working for him throughout the summer was a great experience,”said Shkolnik.
Koh announced his campaign in a video released on October 25, 2017. In it, he highlighted his Korean-Lebanese heritage and discussed his platform for candidacy.
“Our country is the greatest the world has ever known. But America is not perfect. We have work to do,” he said in the video.
He continued, “I’m from this district, and I’m asking, ‘What can we do?’ How do we make our community better? Our country better? Like the countless who have come before us? It’s our turn to do the work.”
According to Vaz, student campaign fellows were disappointed by the loss, but are optimistic that this is not the last they will see of Koh.
“I’ve worked on a couple campaigns, winning and losing, so I’m not too put down because I think Dan will continue with a public service career…. I’m sad Dan didn’t win but I respect Lori as a candidate,” said Vaz.
Koh issued a statement via email and Twitter following the defeat.
He said, “It’s time for us to unite behind Lori Trahan to be sure this seat stays Democratic. Plus, there’s so much to be thankful for… To think of how far we’ve come, and what we’ve built, makes me more grateful than I will ever be able to express.”
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