Day 93: 8/21/19

Wednesday brought around an insistence from Pete Buttigieg that free pizza is a good thing, an insistence from Joe Biden that he needs more ad money (again), and an insistence from Joe Sestak that I should care about his campaign events.

Someone stepped outside his comfort zone…

In a surprising twist, Pete Buttigieg was the most vocal on Wednesday, along with Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, all of them sending 3 emails each. Buttigieg and Gillibrand both restrained themselves to poking their non-donors, while Harris was an equal-opportunity emailer. Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang all sent 2 emails each.

Contest is picking up steam

Pete Buttigieg’s theme of the day was his Pizza with Pete (Pete-za) contest. Midnight on Wednesday night (Thursday morning?) was the deadline for entering to win a chance to have pizza, and Buttigieg did not want me to miss out.

He started with an email from his husband, Chasten, forwarding the email from Buttigieg to make sure it had my attention.

I know I’m biased, but I think my husband, Peter, is great company…

… There’s no place like South Bend — and no one like Peter. We’d love to show you around the Bend. Chip in by midnight to be automatically entered!

Good luck!

Chasten Buttigieg

About seven hours later, he followed up with a countdown.

(this was animated in the email)

Just after 8 PM ET, he sent an email with the subject “The last pizza email.”

We’ve sent out a lot of emails about pizza in South Bend with Pete. This will be the last one.

What we set out to do was straightforward: give you as many opportunities as possible to meet Pete face to face. This campaign grows stronger with every conversation Pete gets to have with voters like you. The pizza in South Bend is just an added bonus.

If you haven’t made a gift to be entered, we hope you’ll do so now. Not only does a donation get your name in the proverbial hat, but it also helps us strengthen this campaign. Pete has a vision to give America a fresh start, and he’d love to tell you about it over pizza.

Pete for America

As I talked about yesterday, this has absolutely been a push to try to sway undecided donors into giving that first “Yes.” After all, who doesn’t like free (or cheap) pizza? And a chance to talk face-to-face with a Presidential candidate? That’s not something many people get the chance for. Drinks with Elizabeth Warren, a whiskey with Kirsten Gillibrand, yoga with Tim Ryan, and now Pizza with Pete Buttigieg… these campaigns are all prodding you toward being heard and valued.

Personally, I love it, even if it is just pandering. The thought that middle-class me with nothing really special about me could have a chance to talk with someone who could one day change the world… and have them listen and hear me?

It’s almost as good as a free pen.

One thing I have noticed about these pizza emails, and it started back the other week when Buttigieg did his three fundraising emails in 24 hours, is that Buttigieg is using donation buttons now to give a range of donation options. He’s not the only one who’s started doing this recently. Andrew Yang has also started using the familiar six-button spread in his emails. Combined with Kamala Harris changing up her buttons (and today all of her donation buttons had the higher $10 instead of $5 option), it’s showing a trend toward candidates trying to shake up their fundraising strategies. Again, I’d love to know if the specific amounts instead of a generic “Donate” button makes a difference.

(One amusing side note about Yang: I received an email from his Organizing Director, Zach Fang. I immediately noticed that Fang rhymes with Yang, and I vaguely remembered that I’d received emails from a Zach working for Yang before, but a Zach with a long last name. I wondered if Zach long name had changed his name to rhyme with Yang, but when I looked it up, nope. Yang’s campaign manager is Zach Graumann and his organizing director is Zach Fang. Still made me smile.)

Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren have also been pushing their debate contests yesterday, with the standard “donate anything and maybe come to the debates in Houston on our campaign!” Joe Biden was running one as well, but he didn’t talk about it on Wednesday. Instead, he talked about his new campaign ad.

Biden is very proud of his first ad in Iowa, though he keeps reminding me that he needs me to help him get $40,000 by tomorrow to keep his ad live for the month.

Let’s pause for a moment, shall we?

On Tuesday, Biden needed $75,000 in the next 3 days. Clearly, the $40,000 is just indicating that he already raised $35,000 of his goal, and sure enough, as of 6:33 PM ET on Wednesday, Biden only needed $25,000 more.

“So?” you may ask. Why is that a big deal?

Well, on August 11, I got this email:

So, after looking at the books, I wanted to be transparent with all of you. Because we are behind on our fundraising, we need to cut our ads budget

But here’s the truth: We’re completely out of money for our August ad budget.

Patrick Bonsignore, Director of Digital Advertising, Biden for President

And on August 12:

I reached out to ask this team to help us raise enough money to fund our August ads budget — and the response was incredible!

Thanks to our great supporters, we are SO close to reaching our goal of fully funding our budget (and keeping our digital engagement efforts online), but we still need to raise $15,000 in order to cross the finish line on this one.

It looks like you may not have chipped in to this goal yet. Will you please consider donating before midnight to help us meet our goal and fund our August ads budget?

Patrick Bonsignore, Director of Digital Advertising, Biden for President

Does a tv ad in August not count as part of the August ad budget? If the ad budget was nearly fully funded last week, only $15,000 short, does this mean they went over-budget by at least $60,000 on the tv ad? After realizing they were so in the red they needed to cut the budget completely?

Is this an example of incredibly poor budgeting skills, or is it a crisis they’re manufacturing to get money out of their supporters? If it’s the former, it’s not the sort of fiscal responsibility we should want in our governmental leaders right now, and if it’s the latter… why bother saying “I want to be transparent” if you’re going to be anything but?

I was expecting at least 2 Outside emails today.

Bernie Sanders was pushing his baseball card for the third time, but while he mentioned he played at the Field of Dreams, there was no mention of the team he played against or any contribution (most people give $10, he let me know) being given to the LBA Foundation. In his email yesterday, he had phrased it as “a small portion of your contribution” instead of a “split,” as most campaigns call it when they split donations 50/50 between the outside cause and themselves.

For the richest Democratic campaign in the field, Sanders sure is money-hungry. These little subtleties keep building and building, and they don’t bring about a good feeling.

While no one asked for Outside help on Wednesday, 2 candidates did send emails with no real asks, just information. Joe Sestak emailed me his weekly schedule so I’d know when and where he was speaking.

Sestak’s is the only campaign that regularly keeps me in the loop on his whereabouts. I appreciate it: if I followed him more, I would know what events to search for, what livestreams to find, what recordings might be on YouTube, etc. However, Sestak is also only campaigning in Iowa. I’m not in Iowa or near Iowa. I don’t particularly care about his Iowa schedule. If he let me know when he was on a news channel, that would be more helpful as an outsider trying to keep up with his appearances.

The other candidate offering info was Jay Inslee. In yesterday’s post, I said it sounded like he was preparing to drop out. In Wednesday’s emails, he did. He sent a long message talking about what it meant to him to have gotten as far as he did (the ability to shape the entire national dialogue around climate change), why he ran in the first place (so in his final days he can tell his grandchildren that he did everything in his power to defeat the crisis), and what’s next.

I know you agree that our mission to defeat climate change must continue to be central to our national discussion — and must be the top priority for our next president. But I’ve concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be the next president of the United States.

… As we turn to the future, I will have more to say about what comes next for me in the days ahead. I can assure you that I will continue to lead, to demand bold action, and to do everything in my power to ensure the fight to defeat climate change stays at the top of the national agenda.

But for now, I want to once again thank everyone who helped in this effort. We have so much to be proud of. Make no mistake, we also have a lot more work to do.

So early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and organize. Together we will continue the fight to defeat the climate crisis.

Jay Inslee

Look for the farewell to Inslee recap going live in an hour. I have to say, I will miss his superhero emails.

Another one bites the dust.

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