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Local News

January 10, 2014

Kayyem courts local Democrats

Gubernatorial candidate touts experience in Homeland Security

NEWBURYPORT — Political campaigns often conclude with rousing televised ceremonies in colorful public arenas, but they sometimes start on dark, cold nights in public buildings with a little parking lot.

Democrat Juliette Kayyem is running for governor, and this week she visited local Democrats at the public library. Each local Democrat who stamped their feet when entering the library bemoaned the frigid weather, and their journey was only a matter of minutes.

Imagine the experience for Kayyem, a Cambridge resident who has never run for office, traversing the North Shore in a search of delegates during an aggressive cold snap that could have frightened a snowbank.

“My job now is to meet people in the hope of getting delegates this spring,” said Kayyem, a Harvard-educated lawyer who has worked in the administrations of both President Barack Obama and Gov. Deval Patrick.

“I’ve been in government, but I haven’t been in politics or run for election,” she said.

Party candidates for governor are decided by a vote of delegates. The statewide Democrats are scheduled to meet in Worcester Friday and Saturday, June 13 and June 14, to make a choice.

Prior to that oft-chaotic session, community Democratic parties from around the state meet candidates as a means for making their choices.

The Newburyport Democratic City Committee will caucus on Saturday, March 1, to choose delegates who will have votes at the statewide gathering, said Ed Cameron, a city councilor who heads the local city committee.

Kayyem said she needs to win 15 percent of delegate votes at the state level in order to be listed on the ballot on the state primary.

Kayyem was the first aspirant to visit the local Democrats, Cameron said. Other Democrats who have announced their interest in the governor’s office include state Treasurer Steve Grossman and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

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