Over this past week, a lot of candidates were trying to raise money. It wasn’t all just Julian Castro moaning about being forced out of the race too soon.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, though I have previously been on the mailing lists of 28 Democratic candidates! This blog breaks down recent emails with charts and excerpts. If you already know all of this, feel free to skip to the next chart!
It took some time for the Trump emails to kick in, so I started officially tracking his list on July 7. I have been tracking Biden’s for longer, but I will start comparing them as of July 7. All of these emails are going to a new email, and I have not donated, filled out surveys, signed petitions, or otherwise interacted with either candidate’s emails.
The rules I try to follow for the various categories are laid out in The Framework.
At 29 emails, Julian Castro was the most desperate this week. For that many emails in just 7 days, that means he sent more than 4 emails every single day.
It was not a fun week.
In addition to Castro’s desperation, Joe Biden sent 22 emails, and Kamala Harris sent 21.
The week followed a fairly standard climb toward Thursday/Friday, with the exception of the email blitz on Monday. I’m not entirely sure what triggered so many Monday emails. Maybe it was just catching up on all the news over the weekend.
Unsurprisingly, asks for money were by far the most popular emails. Several candidates had fundraisers going this week. While Julian Castro’s was by far the most desperate and apocalyptic (“pack up. go home. it’s dire,” read an actual subject line of his), he was far from the only candidate aiming for a set amount of money by a certain time.
Andrew Yang started off the week needing $325,000 to catch up on field offices in Iowa, as he only had 2 while other candidates had over 20. By the end of the week, his fundraiser was looking for $1.5 million by Halloween to make a massive ad buy. As of Saturday, he still had $1 million more to go.
Joe Biden also had multiple fundraisers this week, starting with being about $50,000 short of his daily fundraising benchmark and ending with a $250,000 fundraiser that turned into a $500,000 fundraiser that he did manage to achieve, though he was giving some dire warnings about how if his stretch goal wasn’t met, his campaign would suffer.
Biden also had one email asking for money sent by an Iowa organizer with the last name Moneypenny. I know that’s a real last name, but at the same time… really? You couldn’t find a better organizer to ask for money?
Kamala Harris tried to get me invested in her daily donor count, needing 3,000 donors a day. The first day she told me, she barely made her goal. The next day, she emailed near the end of the day still needing 1,000 more donors.
I haven’t heard about her daily goal since.
It’s worth noting that every time a candidate tries to publicize their daily goals, this is always the result. They make it at least one day, but they can’t sustain the drive. It’s like that old saying, when everything is urgent, nothing is. Julian Castro and Tulsi Gabbard come to mind as other candidates who have tried this every day daily goal thing with no success.
Beto O’Rourke was pushing for various fundraising goals to raise money for ads for polls to get on the debate stage. Marianne Williamson and Cory Booker were also pushing for enough donors to get on the debate stage. While Tom Steyer didn’t come out and say it was his goal, he started asking for $1 again, implying that he too needs donors for the debate stage.
Cory Booker has been running a $3 million fundraiser for the entire month of October, and he needed just $725,000 this past week. He celebrated hitting the 20% mark of that goal by releasing a Halloween-themed dad joke video. “What do birds give out for Halloween?”
He about died laughing, then signed off as Cory BOOker and promised his next joke wouldn’t be as candy corny as that sign off.
Oh Booker. Never change.
Michael Bennet needed $175,000 by the end of the month, and it’s really hard to tell how he’s doing. He started offering magnets with the slogan “Solutions, not Slogans,” so let me know if you’d like a link to get one of those.
Pete Buttigieg also had a 24-hour fundraiser to pull in $250,000 with 100 days to go to the Iowa caucus. I appreciated that he started each email with a little italicized block to let me know how much of his goal he had raised–15%, 47%, 58%–but it also made me realize that his fundraising was not very strong this past Saturday. It made me wonder what had gone wrong, and I suspect it has something to do with email volume. Buttigieg is usually very good about not spamming his mailing list, but I’ve noticed lately, he’s been sending many more emails than he used to. Like with the daily fundraising goals, when every day is a 3-email day, no 3-email day stands out as something to pay attention to.
As of Saturday, we are officially down to the last 100 days before the first primary election (or caucus, as Iowa is). I’m putting emails about election events such as caucuses and voting under “campaign events,” and I’m watching that number steadily climb. This is in many ways the first home stretch for these campaigns. Can they hold out until Iowa? Can they make it through Iowa? Will they pick up any delegates? These last 100 days are going to be important, and this is the time when polls* are actually starting to matter.
*in the early voting states. General head-to-head polls are still pretty useless at this point.