The quarter ended and the wave of emails crashed over my inbox. Incentives to donate such as the possibility of a call from a candidate or free stickers washed away. A chorus of dutiful “Thank yous” and a few updates on goals were distributed, but the campaigns largely fell into silence after the quarter end.
Joe Biden took the lead for emails sent this week, with 21 donor emails going out in 7 days. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren tied for second, with 20 each, while Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg both trailed in a distant third with 17 emails each.
The end of quarter crash is wonderfully illustrated in the “Emails by Weekday” chart above. There is over 100 emails difference between Monday and Tuesday, and the numbers still hadn’t recovered by Saturday.
There wasn’t all that much variation in the emails this week, with the bulk being focused on fundraising. Even after the quarter ended, the campaigns were still looking at their numbers as they totaled up their hauls. While just about every candidate was more than free with their information when telling me how behind on their goals they were, the candidates were surprisingly hush-hush when it came to their successes.
Pete Buttigieg was, like always, the first to announce his numbers around 6 AM ET the next day. About 5 hours later, Bernie Sanders announced. The rest of the numbers slowly trickled in over the course of the week.
Bernie Sanders brought in the most dollars in Q3 with $25.3 million, followed closely behind by Elizabeth Warren with $24.6 million. Pete Buttigieg came in third with $19.1 million, with the other candidates falling in below. Both Andrew Yang and Cory Booker announced their numbers as “more than…” but more than doesn’t fit nicely on a graph.
The 8 candidates at $0 have not reported their numbers yet. FEC filings are due by October 15, so they have some time.
It was admittedly very interesting to watch the numbers come out. Traditionally, campaigns try to keep this information secret as much as possible, but Pete Buttigieg bucked that trend early on and announced right away for Q2. I figured he would do so again for Q3, but I was interested to see which campaigns tried to beat him to the punch. First one to announce, after all, gets the most news coverage.
No campaign tried to announce before Buttigieg.
In fact, Bernie Sanders seemed to specifically wait until after Buttigieg announced so he could be sure his amount was more than the mayor who had outraised him in Q2. The real surprise was how long it took Elizabeth Warren to announce her nearly-equal haul.
Warren, I was actually anticipating to be the highest. Sanders had been doing a lot of bar-lowering and “woe is me, I’m being outraised” fundraising in Q3. I had mistakenly taken him at his word and figured his numbers were struggling. Buttigieg, I knew would be high, but I was anticipating around $15 million, as he hadn’t done all that much in terms of fundraising via email, at least, between the quarters (that I remember). Joe Biden being effectively half of what he could have fundraised in Q2 (he made a big deal about how he was only in the race for 2/3 of the quarter, so his $20 million haul from Q2 could have been $30 million) is probably the most concerning of all the announced numbers. Much ado had been made about how Sanders and Buttigieg were slumping in the polls. Biden remained the frontrunner until just the very end of Q3. If the frontrunner couldn’t pull in as much as those having a “slump,” it doesn’t speak well to the strength of the poll numbers for any of the campaigns.
With these numbers revealed now, it’s going to be interesting to watch and see if any other candidate drops out. Cory Booker made a big deal about how if his campaign couldn’t pull in $1.7 million by the end of the quarter, he didn’t see a viable path forward. If Booker couldn’t see a viable path forward with around $4 million raised (since he pulled in just over $2 million during his last push), what hopes do those who raised less than him truly have?
With Q3 wrapping up and Q4 beginning, the weather is getting colder and campaigns are unveiling new merch (or reminding us about their old merch). I went over some of it this week as it was revealed, but in addition to the fundraising incentive giveaways or exclusive merch:
Andrew Yang offered a coupon code of “CHALLENGEACCEPTED” at the Yang merch shop for 30% off and collaborated with a 10-year-old artist for some new designs.
Elizabeth Warren announced new merch in her store, including pet collars AND PENS.
Tom Steyer reminded me he had merch available for debate night.
Beto O’Rourke suggested I check out some of the best-selling Team Beto stuff in his store.
I didn’t buy any of that.
I did, however, donate to multiple candidates. Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke all had contests to win a chance to go to the debate on them. (Biden said the debate was in Columbus. All others correctly located the debate in Westerville.) Cory Booker also offered me a “win some time with him” contest and offered dinner. It didn’t even have to be vegan, he assured me!
After donating, I realized that was probably a mistake. Debate nights are some of the busiest BTE times! Debate nights and month ends. Oh well. We’ll see if I win a chance to meet a candidate!
Julian Castro is very concerned that the Establishment is trying to stop him from being in the next debate.
It’s one thing when this president talks down to Latino kids who grew up like I did.
It’s one thing for him to personally insult me and my family.
But it’s another thing when the establishment rules cut candidates like me from the running.Julian Castro
I guess I just don’t understand why candidates running for the nomination of the Democratic Party for President believe that the best way they have to maximize their chances of getting that nomination are to attack the Democratic Party. Castro’s at least being subtle about it. Many other candidates have called them out by name.
There are 19 candidates still in contention for the nomination. There has never been a field this big at this point in the race before! If you don’t have the polls and you don’t have the money, you should do what Booker was going to do and back out so you aren’t taking up resources and driving decision fatigue before the elections begin. There’s a difference between running a long-shot candidacy and a no-shot candidacy. I think these candidates need to take a good hard look at what they can do that is actually going to best serve our hurting country.