Over the past week, the campaigns got their collective breath back. Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro released their Q3 numbers, while Joe Biden tried to influence my donation amount in a less-sketchy way than the last time. The real disappointment of the week was Pete Buttigieg, however, with a less than stellar showing in the emails this week.
I barely have to change my summary from last week at all. Joe Biden was still the busiest emailer, with 22 emails in the past seven days. Kamala Harris came in second, with 18 emails, and Pete Buttigieg finished up third, with 17.
CNN hosted a town hall on LGBTQ+ issues on Thursday, which many of the candidates attended and talked about. They then returned to a normal high of weekend emails.
The campaigns continued to focus on their favorite topics this week: fundraising and debates. However, they did throw in quite a lot of information about what they’ve been up to and what other people have been up to. Of course, many of the News Events revolve around Trump (and many of them come from Joe Biden), but there was also talk of the CNN Town Hall, for example, or National Coming Out Day.
Beto O’Rourke invited me onto a team call in which they revealed their Q3 numbers: $4.5 million. This puts him below Cory Booker but above Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet, and Steve Bullock. Also between Booker and Williamson is (probably) Julian Castro. While he didn’t specifically give his numbers, he said he had more than 180,000 contributions this past quarter with an average donation of $18. Assuming he had less than 190,000 contributions (or else he would have said he had over 190,000 contributions, right?), and multiplying those two ends by $18, Castro probably raised between $3.2 and $3.4 million in Q3.
Overall, it’s not looking the greatest for those two.
The debate ticket contests are over now, but Pete Buttigieg is still offering pizza, Cory Booker is still offering dinner, and Elizabeth Warren is still offering beer (or anything else).
Donate was still the biggest ask of the week, to no one’s surprise. I chewed out Joe Biden earlier for somewhat sketchy donation buttons, in which the second lowest was just a bit darker of a shade of red to try to subconsciously convince you to click it. He seemed to have learned his lesson.
I’m not upset about highlighting a suggested amount, I just want the campaign to make it clear that they ARE highlighting an amount! Andrew Yang and Elizabeth Warren have done this form of attention-drawing in the past.
Pete Buttigieg has not done this form of attention drawing, but he still managed to make me frown this past week. Perhaps it is because I recently gave a presentation in which I called attention to his phenomenal email strategy, but overall, I wasn’t the happiest with his emails this week.
To begin with, there were so many of them! Even before his latest fundraising push (a bit oddly named, with “Keep the Lights On” making it sound like he’s completely strapped for cash), he was picking up the frequency. His low volume of emails is one of the reasons I appreciated him in my inbox. However, his fundraising push was another thing that made me frown. Usually, when Buttigieg does a fundraising push, he’s very open about how much money he’s brought in, and he emails with a conclusion, whether we made it or not. I haven’t heard anything about his most recent push other than “we’re getting close!”
It is worth noting that these things that are upsetting me about Buttigieg’s campaign this past week are actually things that the other campaigns do all the time. It’s simply more noticeable and irritating with Buttigieg because he held himself to such a high bar for email excellence in the past.
I’m sorry, Buttigieg. You still have the best emails overall!
Speaking of best emails, though, Buttigieg is doing something else interesting this week. He’s running an AMA (ask me anything), but via email. Apparently, we can ask him anything, and he’ll pick the best questions and answer them in a video that will be emailed out to the supporters.
This is very interesting, because I know candidates have been pushed to do Reddit AMAs for a long time (Reddit being where the AMA style was popularized, if not created). However, Reddit AMAs, especially for politicians, tend to be a nightmare, as all the questions are visible to all people reading the thread, and candidates will be lambasted for the questions they chose not to answer. Steve Bullock did a Reddit AMA earlier this year where most of the posts were “HE DIDN’T EVEN ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS!”
Needless to say, a bad AMA can make a candidate look out of touch or boorish. By controlling the questions by having them submitted to the campaign, Buttigieg is side-stepping the analysis of questions he doesn’t answer.
I am looking forward to his responses, though. Last time he did a Reddit AMA, he got in the weeds about whether or not a hot dog counted as a sandwich (he said it didn’t, and then he backed up his decision when challenged.)