UVM Students Express Mixed Feelings About Dean

The Howard Dean campaign, which has been running on all cylinders for the past six months, has slowed down recently due to his recent finishes in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Dean, who finished third behind Massachusetts Senator, John Kerry and North Carolina Senator, John Edwards in Iowa’s caucus on January 19, finished a distant second behind Kerry in New Hampshire. Dean received 26% of the vote while Kerry received 38% and Edwards received 12%.

“(Dean’s finish in the New Hampshire Primary) is still a respectable second place,” said UVM’s Political Science Department Head, George Moyser. “He is clearly well ahead of Clark and Edwards…and he is the primary alternative to Kerry. But at the same time his is a distant second. Had he finished with 30% or more of the vote then I think he would have been in the same territory as Kerry. I think privately he was disappointed he was not in the 30’s.”

Dean had been the Democratic front-runner for nearly eight months coming into Iowa, especially after receiving endorsements from the 2000 Democratic top guns, Al Gore and Bill Bradley. But recent footage of Dean at a rally in Iowa showed the former Vermont Governor making a fiery speech, which portrayed him as being angry and overly caught-up in the moment. The press was quick to criticize and the voting swing started to go to Kerry. The day after the New Hampshire Primary, Dean returned to Burlington to rest and refigure his campaign strategy for the upcoming primaries in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

The UVM campus had mixed feelings about Dean’s finish in New Hampshire. Andrew Schmidt, UVM junior and Milwaukee, Wisconsin native was a bit confused by the loyalty showed by New Hampshire voters. “I thought New Hampshire and Vermont were friends. I see New Hampshire being more alike with Vermont than Massachusetts. If you ask me, it would only make sense for them to vote for Dean. If New Hampshire doesn’t think he is a good candidate, then does South Carolina or Delaware? I don’t think this looks good for Dean.”

Senior Anna Sciortino remains a bit more optimistic. “I don’t think that this is a big deal at all. The votes that went to Kerry in New Hampshire will more than likely be more spread out to Clark and Sharpton. Dean will keep his following that he already has and everything will even out. I also think that Trippi leaving and Roy Neel taking over at the helm will be a good thing too.”

And from the hit Dean received in the polls, they also had an internal shake-up when Dean’s campaign manager left the campaign the Wednesday after the New Hampshire primary. Trippi helped Dean go from a small state governor to a Democratic candidate front-runner primarily through internet fundraising and grassroots campaigning. Trippi’s idea to have supporters donate $100 at a time through internet websites revolutionized the way campaigning is done and raised $40 million for Dean.

Trippi is said to have left due to financial constraints on the Dean campaign which, according to CNN, is holding paychecks to employees for another two weeks.

Sources close to The Cynic said that Trippi’s agreement with Dean to run his campaign was a 15% cut of whatever money that was raised, which would be close to a six million-dollar payout for Trippi. Roy Neel, Al Gore’s former Chief-of-Staff is now the new chief executive office for Howard Dean.

UVM College Democrats President and Dean campaign employee, Selene Hofer-Shall feels that things still look good. “The money is still rolling in and Roy Neel is wonderful, very supportive, and has a few good strategy changes.

“As of now we’re shooting to win Michigan which as a lot of delegates. We may be behind in the polls and in votes but as of now we have more delegates and superdelegates than Kerry.”

Superdelegates are those who aren’t won by caucuses and primaries, but have their own vote. Patrick Lahey is a super delegate.Dean declared his candidacy for the presidency in late 2002 and by doing so was the first Democrat to declare such a thing. By August 11, 2003, he was simultaneously on the cover of Time and Newsweek while his campaign was exploding onto the political scene. While he and the Reverend Al Sharpton are the only two candidates without any Washington experience, four of the last five presidents had at one time been the governors of their state.