Day 113: 9/10/19

On Tuesday, Kamala Harris sounded the alarm about her fundraising, Pete Buttigieg celebrated his fundraising, and Andrew Yang was trying to give (or sell) coins away.

Only one campaign didn’t think it was a slow day.

Kamala Harris once again took the lead with 4 emails in one day. Nobody else was even close: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang all only sent 2 emails each, and everyone else was even quieter!

Variety of things to ask for.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised when I tell you that all of Harris’ emails were asking for donations.

Kamala Harris has set a $250,000 in online donations goal by Thursday evening when she takes the debate stage. According to her emails, she is struggling.

This looks familiar…

Yes. Harris used red alarm emojis to draw attention to the fact that she’s behind on her fundraising goal. Where have I seen that before?

Oh yeah…

Harris is also worried about how much money Joe Biden is spending in Iowa, as he’s staffing up and shoring up his support.

Biden, on the other hand, is worried that his opponents are circling.

Does anyone else wonder about the use of so much red for a Dem campaign? Just me?

While Biden is ahead in the polls and nervous, Steve Bullock is behind in the polls and confident.

Now, a few words about our path forward:

1. It’s still early — and the state of this race can change every day. At this point in 2007, Barack Obama was behind in the polls. In 2015, Ben Carson and Donald Trump traded the lead in the Republican field. We have a long way to go until the first vote is cast in this election, so Governor Bullock is going to focus on winning votes the way he always has: by going everywhere and talking with everyone.

2. When we launched this campaign, we knew that a strong presence in Iowa would be the key to success. Since then, we’ve built one of the strongest ground games in the entire field of candidates. We have 25 organizers in Iowa talking with voters each and every day and Steve is still the only candidate with an endorsement from a Democratic statewide elected official. Our momentum on the ground is getting stronger each day — and with your help we can continue to build our grassroots base in Iowa.

3. Steve Bullock is our best hope to defeat Trump in 2020 — and Republicans know it. One of Trump’s top advisors said Steve is the candidate he fears most. And a longtime Republican strategist said the GOP sees Steve “just wiping [Trump] out” in a general election. Steve Bullock is the only candidate in the race who’s won a Trump state — when Trump won Montana by 20%, Steve won by 4%. He’s the only one who’s proven he can win back voters we lost in 2016, which will be the key to beating Trump in 2020.

Jenn Ridder, Campaign Manager, Bullock for President

It’s absolutely true that at this point in 2007, Obama was behind in the polls.

Second place.

With 22%.

It’s good to be optimistic, but there’s a difference between <2% and 22%. Still, there’s also a difference between 2007 and 2019, and between that open primary and this crowded one. If Bullock isn’t counting himself out yet, I’ll still track him.

Bullock isn’t the only candidate going everywhere and talking with everyone. Joe Sestak has been doing that all across Iowa, and he’s just started moving his strategy into New Hampshire.

The piece quotes Sean Bagniewski, chair of the Polk County Democratic Party (the biggest county party in Iowa), as saying: “He’s got a guerrilla campaign… It’s kind of the traditional, good old-fashioned way to win the caucuses.


The piece goes on to describe my on-the-ground strategy: “His goal is to hit as many counties as he can — including often overlooked rural areas — as many times as possible. He estimates he’s been in 50. “Amateurs do tactics, experts do logistics,” Sestak often says.”

Joe Sestak

Sestak seems to be running his campaign like Beto O’Rourke ran his Texas campaign for Senate. The problem is, as O’Rourke has discovered, America is a lot bigger than just one state, and this “visit every county” approach doesn’t scale up very well.

What does scale up? Good graphics.

Imagine it without the white bars.

Pete Buttigieg followed up his “almost made it” email of Monday with a “We did it!” email on Tuesday. There was some confusion over this: how was he at 95% on Monday and 100% in 24 hours on Tuesday? However, the above graphics did point out that it was “within 24 hours” and not necessarily “on Saturday.” It’s possible that the campaign found by shifting the time frame by an hour each way or something, they found a 24-hour window with $750,000 raised (Just as an example of how this could happen and not actually making any claims on behalf of the campaign). There’s also the question of time zones, or perhaps donations not clearing until late: Harris is raising her $250,000 solely online, but maybe this $750,000 included checks.

Regardless, Buttigieg put together a snazzy, feel-good graphic to share with his supporters and for them to share with their friends. This message was much more on-brand for his campaign, and I saw it getting passed around quite a bit yesterday. Not only did it celebrate what Buttigieg did, it got the message out there: look who is supporting me! It is a potential engagement vector to start conversations and get some undecideds asking their friends what made them give to Buttigieg.

No variety here.

While fundraising was clearly the topic of the day, the debates were picking up steam. Andrew Yang had several debate-related emails. His first was sent only to donors.

Yes, you have to buy it. $25.

Yang’s campaign is all about the collectibles, and this coin is no different. I don’t know how he’ll restrict it just to the first 130,000 donors, but I do technically count as one.

That coin, though… the image looks like pictures I used to make in Paint Shop Pro by taking a photo and applying the “Hot Wax” filter.

Yang also issued a challenge to his supporters.

Friend —

We know that the Yang Gang likes a challenge — and we know that you are the most dedicated supporters in this race.

So we’re setting a new goal that will show everyone watching just how strong this team is. With the Houston debate just two days away, we’re trying to hit 10,000 contributions before Andrew takes the stage Thursday night.

Team Yang

He hasn’t yet given me a fundraising update, but I’ll let you know how he goes.

One thing I do want to mention here: that’s the donor version of the email. Notice how it starts with “Friend?”

When making a donation, you have to provide your full name. All of the campaigns I’ve donated to have since used my name to personalize their emails to me. Non-donor emails would be addressed to “Friend” or “Team” or “Folks” or left blank, while donor emails would use my name.

In the last 27 emails he sent, Yang has only personalized 2 of them. It’s one thing if he addresses his emails to “Yang Gang,” as he occasionally does, but when he sends a donor email addressed to “Friend,” I wonder if his team is getting a little lazy.

Julian Castro also wanted to talk about the debates. In true Castro fashion, he only just found out about Tom Steyer qualifying.

My heart just dropped. 

I just learned that there will be a second stage at the next debates. 

That’s because another candidate just qualified — after flooding the race with millions at the last second. 

Julian Castro

It’s a good thing I don’t use campaign emails for news updates. Castro has “just learned” something the rest of us knew on Sunday. In today’s 24-hour news cycle, emails like this, with this phrasing, can make a candidate look slow or out of touch.

Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, has been continuing his fundraising push for the FEC deadline. He’s still trying to hype his donor wall, and he’s raised his suggested first-time donation from $2.70 to $10. I’m not sure if this is because his campaign is struggling financially, or if he’s just scared of being outraised again in Q3.

After all, Buttigieg did just flex his fundraising muscle.

Kamala Harris is climbing through the ranks quickly. She’s challenging Elizabeth Warren for fourth!

2 thoughts on “Day 113: 9/10/19

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