The first full week of campaign emails was a real doozy of a week, falling at the end of the month where almost everyone was trying to get my attention. A grand total of 172 emails from 19 campaigns came flooding in. This is up 68 emails from last week and up 1 campaign from last week.
At 17 emails in just 7 days, Julian Castro wins “Most Industrious Beaver.” Cory Booker was the runner up at 15 emails, and Michael Bennet took third place with 14. What things did Castro have to talk about that took up 17 emails? Oh, you know. Fundraising. Donating. Donating for the fundraising. Fundraising goals. Donating money.
Both the Info and Donate slices in this chart are skewed by the dates covered. On Memorial Day, the 8 campaigns that emailed were all effectively wishing me a happy holiday and giving some information on either the holiday or what it meant to the candidates or both. This is absolutely not a typical campaign email. Only 2 other emails had Info as their main ask this week.
- Elizabeth Warren announced her Universal Childcare Calculator, available on her website, so I could figure out how much her plan would help me.
- Andrew Yang had a long email about LGBTQ+ issues at the start of Pride month and what he would do as President to make things better.
The Donate skew was because of the end of the month. The closer we got to Friday, May 31, the more emails I received begging for my money.
Again, Monday was Memorial Day, so the numbers are skewed. Based on the rest of the numbers, I would have assumed somewhere around 20 emails would have arrived if it hadn’t been a holiday. Friday was the last day of the month, but the drop-off from Friday to Saturday was so sharp I almost had to double-check that my inbox was still active. On Saturday, I only received 13 emails. Last week, I had 19 emails on Saturday and 23 emails on Friday.
Last week, I had 24 emails on my busiest day. This week, I averaged 25 emails per day. I am going to make a prediction that as we draw closer to the first debates at the end of June, my inbox is going to make this week look quiet.
With the change to how I measure Tone laid out in The Framework, this chart becomes a bit more interesting. It’s much easier for a campaign to be Neutral (it’s moving along with no major victories or pitfalls) and much harder to fall into one of the other three categories. That didn’t stop 3 campaigns from finding a Pessimistic tone this week.
- Joe Biden warned against believing in the polls. He took perhaps the best aspect of his campaign right now, that he is top of the charts by a large margin, and threw it out the window in favor of begging for money.
Look, we know what you’re thinking — we’re ahead in the polls, so these deadlines don’t matter. We are here to tell you that is dead wrong.
Polls change every day. The only way to keep our lead is to continue to get out there, knock doors, hold events and talk to voters. And that takes money.Team Biden
- Cory Booker took a wild 180 from his earnest, upbeat, unflinchingly positive messages with an email from his Chief Financial Officer Judy Zamore with a thin threat that if the money doesn’t come in, she’ll have to do something unpleasant.
If we fall short, I’ll have no choice but to send some tough emails. No one wants that.Judy Zamore, Cory 2020
- John Delaney sent a short email calling me out in bold red font for not being on his donor roster and telling me to rush a donation right now. I’m sure it was meant to be a “join the party!” message, but it came across feeling much more like a demand.
So far, thousands of supporters — from every state in the country — have chipped in to help get John Delaney on the debate stage!
But as of today, we don’t see your name yet on our donor roster!John Delaney for President
A big theme this week was definitely charts. What easier way to show getting closer to the goal but not quite there could you be the one to push us over the edge? than a good old fashioned horizontal bar chart slowly filling up. Kamala Harris definitely got in first with her chart saga from last week, but the others gave it a shot, painting their brand over the data.
Joe Biden emailed on Sunday, May 26, with a simple, flashing chart in his campaign colors:
Not to be outdone, Amy Klobuchar dropped this animated beauty into my inbox on Tuesday, May 28. Like Biden, she stuck to her campaign colors:
Just when I was starting to worry that Kamala Harris was ashamed of her non-animated chart, she dropped an update in my inbox on May 29 and another on May 30:
Cory Booker also took his campaign logo and turned it into an animated fundraising chart. He sent me the first one on May 28, the second on May 30, and then switched up his chart completely for an emoji chart in the subject line on May 31. Needless to say… I don’t understand his math.
According to that subject, he has 5 black boxes out of 7 boxes total. 5/7 is 71.4%. 71.4% of $96,880 is $69,200. He lost money? He also says he has $19,802 to go. If we understand that the boxes are not meant to be an accurate depiction, $19,802 is 20.4% of $96,880. Technically, yes, that means he had raised 0.6% in the day between the 81% chart and the inaccurate emoji chart, but that’s less than $6,000. If Booker made only $6,000 in 24 hours (being generous), then how did he make $66,847.20 in the two days prior to that? Harris has a town hall that could explain her sudden boost, but Booker didn’t make any mention of any major fundraising in that time. I don’t trust his charts.
Kirsten Gillibrand was feeling a bit left out, so she jumped in with a chart of her own. She had been reporting on daily fundraising goals not where she wanted them to be, so perhaps this snazzy thermometer was what it would take to get people to donate:
Everyone was better about their use of color this week. Amy Klobuchar still favored her salmon buttons, and several people were highlighting in bright yellow still, but overall, there were no emails that made my eyes bleed.
Some candidates spoke up this week, with Pete Buttigieg emailing me for the first time with no plea for money but rather a missive explaining his campaign’s values. One of his supporters in my comments said that they met his husband, Chasten, and Chasten told them that the Buttigieg campaign will never do one of these “donate before the urgent midnight deadline!” fundraising pushes because they find those dishonest. Time will tell if the Buttigieg campaign manages to uphold that, but I appreciate the candor.
Bill de Blasio also started to get the hang of emails. After a long stretch of practically nothing, he emailed me three days in a row, and twice on Friday. According to de Blasio, he’s already met the polling threshold for the debates, a fact I seriously doubt. He’s also having a bit of a struggle with his identity: on May 29, he signed the email himself, but referred to “The Mayor” in third-person. On May 31, the campaign staff signed the email, but there was a “Join me” reference in the body. I’m sure by the time the debates roll around, he’ll have everything straightened out.
Or maybe I’m just being optimistic.
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