David Morin of Amherst is 5th write-in candidate for Senate seat

  • State Senate write-in candidate David Morin of Amherst poses for a portrait at UMass Amherst. FOR THE RECORDER/SARAH CROSBY

For the Recorder
Published: 5/25/2018 10:44:24 PM

AMHERST — David Morin of Amherst pulled papers to run for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcestor Senate seat in early March. He collected signatures and quietly started talking with supporters about running a campaign focused on “social justice, fairness and clean, honest politics.”

But as the deadline to submit signatures to the state approached, he decided not to, out of respect, he said, for former Sen. Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst.

Then, the results of an ethics investigation into whether Rosenberg broke any Senate rules in relation to charges of sexual misconduct brought against his husband were released, two days after the deadline.

Rosenberg relinquished the seat he had held for 27 years, and Morin was left to consider whether or not to run a write-in campaign against Northampton Democrat Chelsea Kline, the only name on the ballot this fall.

Morin formally announced his write-in candidacy for the Senate seat at a meeting of the Amherst Democrats Thursday and now joins four other write-in candidates vying for the position.

The other write-in candidates are: David J. Murphy, a Newton attorney with Amherst ties; Northampton City Council President Ryan O’Donnell; Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services Director Steven Connor of Northampton; and Northampton resident Jo Comerford, a campaign director for the progressive advocacy organization MoveOn.org.

Morin plans to run a “scaled-back, grassroots campaign,” he said. He doesn’t want to be beholden to big donors. He doesn’t have immediate plans for a website, and he won’t host big campaign events.

He knows that makes an already difficult write-in campaign even more complicated, but said he has “deep philosophical concerns” about taking money, even from average people.

“I don’t want to be influenced by anything,” he said. “That might be overly idealistic, maybe even unrealistic, but I want to represent the people and the Commonwealth with integrity.”

A graduate assistant with the faculty senate at UMass Amherst, where he is pursuing his master’s of English, Morin has been involved with the Democratic Party for some 10 years. He said he was inspired to become active in politics by the grassroots campaign run by Barack Obama in 2008, and became active in politics at the state level after drafting a bill with Springfield legislators in response to what he said was a personal experience of police brutality in 2010.

A Springfield native, Morin was on the Agawam Democratic Committee from 2009 to 2016 and has held positions from secretary to vice president to president of the Pioneer Valley Young Democrats, which is now the Western Massachusetts Young Democrats.

He interned twice with Obama’s re-election campaign in 2011 and 2012, and was on the board of directors for the Young Democrats of Massachusetts from 2010 to 2014. He’s held a variety of leadership positions as a student at Holyoke Community College and then UMass Amherst, including student trustee on the HCC board of trustees.

At 30, he knows he’s young, but he said he feels ready.

“I wouldn’t be going in to the Statehouse with a head full of steam thinking that I have all the best ideas,” Morin said. “I would be coming in there as a novice and being honest about that and saying ‘I’m here to learn, I’m here to work my butt off to do what’s right and to do what’s best for the Commonwealth.’”

As for Rosenberg, Morin said he has known the senator for many years and has great personal respect and admiration for him, part of the reason he didn’t submit his signatures. He also didn’t want to split the Amherst vote.

He said he spoke with Rosenberg on Thursday about his candidacy and that Rosenberg wished him well, saying choice is good for democracy.

Like many other candidates in the midterm elections this year, Morin said the 2016 election galvanized his efforts politically. If there’s one issue he differs strongly with Rosenberg on, it was the senator’s public endorsement of Hillary Clinton, he said.

“Obama got me into politics, but Trump really got me back into politics,” Morin said. “Trump is absolutely out of control and really dangerous. I want to do whatever I can, including running for state Senate, to let people like Trump know that my generation and young people and all sorts of people aren’t going to stand for that. People care and people pay attention.”


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