Week 24: October 27-November 2

The end of the month is always a busy week for campaign emails, and the end of October was no different. Between Julian Castro threatening to drop out, Kamala Harris slashing at her campaign to save money, and Beto O’Rourke actually dropping out, the week was very eventful. Of course, all of that paled in comparison to the Liberty and Justice dinner on Friday night.

Emails come in cycles
EmailsCampaigns
Total43316
Non-Donor22416
Donor17913

For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 1 candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, but I’ve been on 28 mailing lists! 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!

I signed up to all mailing lists either on May 21 or the day the candidate announced, whichever was later. Using a different email address, I have donated at least $1 to all candidates who have been on a debate stage (I have given additional donations to my preferred candidates through my personal email, but the campaigns have linked the two accounts together and may ask for more as a result).

When showing breakdowns by campaigns, there will usually be 2 numbers. Emails to my non-donor account will be indicated by a darker color/top bar in horizontal bar charts. Emails to my donor account will be indicated by a lighter color/bottom bar.

Unless otherwise specified, all other charts combine the donor and non-donor numbers, as they are roughly 1-for-1, so the percentages and relative differences don’t change much. You can divide the numbers in half to get the rough estimate for what someone not signed up twice would be receiving. The rules I try to follow for the various categories are laid out in The Framework.

If you want specific data on any particular day, feel free to drop a comment!

Beto O’Rourke did send emails this week, but he is no longer being counted here.

Honestly, I’m surprised that Julian Castro sent the most emails this week, at 27. Not surprised at how many he sent, but surprised that he only sent 1 more than Kamala Harris, at 26. It certainly felt like every time I turned around, Castro had a new email in my inbox. Joe Biden, at 22 emails, came in third for the week. All three of the top senders were averaging more than 3 emails every day.

Guess which day was the end of the month.

The emails steadily ramped up to an explosion of over 100 on Thursday, but they quickly dropped off on Friday and Saturday. The end of month deadline may not be a real thing, but it sure is a real thing.

Before Friday, nobody was telling me that they missed or made their goal.

The “we’re behind, help us!” messaging was strong this week, with 44 emails in total having some form of expression of a goal that might not be met. However, once the end of the month passed, candidates were a little more candid with their results.

Cory Booker was the only candidate who admitted to not making his end of month goal, coming up just over $18,000 short of the $725,000 bar he had set. For everyone else, they either happily announced their success (Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Joe Biden, and Julian Castro), cheered over their overwhelming success (Amy Klobuchar and Julian Castro), or said nothing at all (everyone else).

Most of the asks were for money. I am not surprised.

While many candidates spent the first couple days of November talking about what their campaign will be up to or the Liberty and Justice dinner in Iowa, Bernie Sanders jumped straight back into fundraising. November is one of the hardest months to fundraise in, apparently (along with July and August now), and in the 2016 race, his November fundraising took a nosedive that set them back, so he’s absolutely not going to let that happen this time.

Elizabeth Warren also jumped straight back into fundraising, along with Kamala Harris. And let’s be fair, Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet were immediately passing the hat around as well, though Yang at least hid it behind a piece of new merch unlocked by hitting their fundraising goal.

And speaking of fundraising, I published a new Medium article last night on the Democratic candidates and their fundraising in the first three quarters of 2019. Links to all my Medium pieces are now available on either the sidebar (on desktop) or the footer (on mobile).

Outside of fundraising, they did talk about SOME other stuff.

One of the biggest events of the season was the 2019 Liberty and Justice Dinner in Iowa. Formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, before the party decided maybe those weren’t the best men to honor by name, this dinner is a huge spectacle in which candidates can show off their Iowa organizing prowess and pack an arena with their supporters. All the candidates who qualified got to make a roughly ten minute speech in a theater-in-the-round stage, that is, a stage with no “back,” so they had to keep turning to face the whole audience. They were not supposed to have notes, and needed to deliver their message to a crowd of over 13,000 people.

To get on the stage, first the candidates had to qualify: they needed either 2 state offices in Iowa with 10 dedicated staffers or they needed to buy the Iowa Democratic Party Voter File. Either one of these moves indicates that they are campaigning seriously in Iowa and earned them an invitation to the dinner. Neither Tulsi Gabbard nor Marianne Williamson qualified for this event.

Campaigns were allowed to reserve sections in the arena for their supporters, and there were a limited number of sections open to the public. However, it seems like the Pete Buttigieg supporters actually crashed the ticket website when it opened, buying out all the public seats in addition to the 3 sections of the stadium he had reserved. Andrew Yang had tweeted a complaint that he wasn’t allowed to buy additional seats, and Joe Biden reserved 6 sections but did not use them all. Bernie Sanders didn’t bring his supporters into the arena, but instead had a watch party off-site. Out of all of the candidates, Sanders was the only one to use a podium and not move around the stage when he spoke, addressing the camera directly from his notes.

Many of the candidates ended up emailing me with part of their speeches, or the speech in its entirety. For the most part, they did very well at delivering their messages.

I’m a parent.  I have two young boys, Christopher and Damian, who are here with me in Iowa.  And as a dad, I want to talk about something we don’t like to talk about, but many of us feel.

There is a fear for the future.  A fear that our kids, our grandchildren, and future generations will not be able to live the American dream. To put it simply, that our kids are not alright.

We are in the midst of the greatest transformation in the history of our society — what many experts have called the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  And we cannot keep proposing the same failed solutions that got us here in the first place.

It’s time for a new way forward.

A new way forward that rewrites the rules in this economy to work for YOU, the PEOPLE of this country.

I’ve been giving families around the country $1,000 a month for months now.  One of the recipients is a guy named Kyle Christensen, who lives in Iowa Falls with his mom who is recovering from cancer.

I saw Kyle earlier tonight and before that on one of my last trips to Iowa — and he seemed like a new man.  He was beaming.  After he used some of the money to cover expenses and care for his mother, you know what he used some of the money for?  A guitar.  And he was playing shows for the first time in years.

This is what our campaign is about, Yang Gang.  We need a new way forward.  One that will value us and our kids, and not the broken systems and companies that got us here in the first place.

This is the hope we’re bringing to people all over the country.

As I called to thank donors for their contributions yesterday, I heard this hope.  Folks who had never cared about politics before, never made a political contribution in their life, are now spending hours every week organizing for this campaign.

That’s special, Yang Gang.  That’s how we’re going to win. Building a wave of people from all walks of life and all over the country who are inspired to join us in tackling the biggest problems of our era.  Building this wave big enough that no one can stop us.  And bringing that wave all the way to the White House.

Thank you for helping to build that wave with me,

Andrew Yang

Kamala Harris also had part of her speech, a stirring set of reminders of how she’s only ever worked “for the people.”

This fight isn’t about looking at yesterday. We need to be focused on tomorrow. If we are going to win this election, we need a nominee on that debate stage who has the ability to go toe to toe with Donald Trump.

I have spent my career as a prosecutor. Unlike others, I have never represented a corporation or a special interest. I’ve only had one client in my entire life: The People.

In fact, the first time I walked into a courtroom, I spoke five words. “Kamala Harris, For the People.”

“For the People” means ALL the people. Regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of the party with which you are registered to vote, and regardless of the language your grandmother speaks.

A large part of my early career was about fighting against those who molested children and raped women — because survivors deserve justice. For the People.

The war on drugs was an abject failure — so, when I was elected District Attorney of San Francisco, I created national models to provide jobs for people who are arrested for drugs. For the People.

When I was the Attorney General of California, running the second largest Department of Justice only to the United States Department of Justice, I took on the biggest banks that had engaged in predatory lending practices and brought back $20 billion to the homeowners of my state. For the People.

And as a United States Senator, “For the People” meant taking on Jeff Sessions. Taking on Bill Barr. And taking on Brett Kavanaugh.

That is why I am running for president: For the People. I am fully prepared to defeat Donald Trump.

Kamala Harris

Cory Booker had a very emotional story about a man who was like a second father to him.

Ten years ago this month, I was in my third year as mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city. We were in the middle of the Great Recession, which for a community that’s already struggling is like a depression, and it was hard, but we were pulling together, and we pulled through.

But at the same time, I was losing one of the most important people in my life, a guy who was like a second father to me who was in the final stages of his battle with cancer.

When I started out working as a tenants’ rights lawyer in Newark right out of law school, this guy Frank was one of my first mentors. He had spent his life working as a tenant’s rights advocate, leading the longest rent strike in Newark’s history.

We would hear from families who had to deal with rats, mice, and roaches in rooms where their children slept, people who had to boil water on the stove to keep warm during brutally cold winters.

Sometimes, the meetings would go on for hours. I would grow restless and impatient — most folks were saying much of the same things, and I already had all the information I needed for our case.

But Frank never rushed anyone. He sat and he listened.

After one especially long meeting, I said something to Frank about how long it was. And without judgement or pride, he told me that the meetings were about more than just fixing the buildings. The meetings were about more than sharing information.

They were about making people feel seen and heard and understood. They were about giving people a platform and a place to know that they were not alone.

They were about healing.

Frank got older, and I went on the run for city council, then mayor. By the time I became mayor, Frank’s health was failing. Eventually, he went blind.

But when I would go visit him or pick him up to go grocery shopping or go out to lunch, I would announce myself, and he would say “I see you Cory.”

It became our regular greeting. “Hi Frank, it’s me, Cory.” “I see you.”

The last time I saw Frank, the nurses at the hospice he was at told me it was nearing the end. He was weaker than I had ever seen him, but when I came in, I announced myself, and he could barely breathe but he got out the words, “I see you.”

I sat with him, I kissed his forehead. I thanked him. I told him how much he meant to me. I told him I loved him. And before I left, he said to me, “I love you, too.”

Those were the only two things Frank said to me the last time I saw him. The last two things he said to me. I see you. I love you.

They were words of empowerment and encouragement and engagement: you are not alone in this. I am here for you, and together we will figure this out.

I know there are people who want us to believe that we can’t win this election by making it about our values.

I believe that in order to heal our country, we must choose unity, we must choose a more courageous empathy, we must choose to recognize that we need each other if we’re going to make it.

I’m asking you to join me because I’m asking you to believe in this campaign, the one that unites itself in common cause to take on the toughest challenges.

I know you all have a lot of choices in this primary.

But the choice our country will make a little over a year from tonight isn’t going to be just about one person or one office.

It won’t be about what the pundits or the polls were saying the year before — about who was leading or who was polling at roughly 3 percent.

It won’t be about who took the best shots against their fellow Democrats on the debate stage.

It won’t be about who had the biggest fundraising haul or who checked what boxes at what time.

I believe that in order to heal our country, we must choose unity, we must choose a more courageous empathy, we must choose to recognize that we need each other if we’re going to make it.

I’m asking you to believe that we can do more than remove one man from one office, because beating him is the floor, it’s not the ceiling.

I’m asking you to believe in an America where we come together to take on our biggest challenges — from the epidemic of gun violence to the disease of addiction.

I’m asking you to believe in an America that leads the world because we invest in people. In good jobs in every community. In a high quality public education for every child.

I’m asking you to believe in an America that doesn’t shrink into isolation in the face of the world’s biggest challenges, but leads and unites the world’s great democracies to take it on.

I’m asking you to believe in an America where you can turn on the news and see our leaders and feel pride and not shame.

I’m asking you to believe in an America where we revive civic grace, where we extend a more courageous empathy to one another and where nobody gets left on the sidelines and nobody gets left behind.

I’m asking you to believe that you are not alone in this.

Together we will channel our common pain, defeat Donald Trump, and we will win back the White House.

As your president, we will heal our country.

And together, we will rise.

Cory Booker

Booker was one of the later candidates to speak, but he definitely had the most emotional story of the night.

Pete Buttigieg did not rehash his speech, but instead had a senior advisor report back on the night.

I promised I’d report back after the “Liberty and Justice Celebration” in Iowa — one of the biggest political events of the year. Let me tell you, Team Pete — it was a spectacular day.

I saw two critical things:

First, I saw a candidate who made people hopeful again. A candidate who can do the job.

The day after this presidency is over, we will need a change in our politics, not just our policies. Last night, Pete presented a fresh vision of Americans coming together to solve urgent crises bearing down on us. It’s a vision of inclusion and belonging. It’s why Pete is uniquely instilling hope in Americans exhausted with partisan fighting.

And second, I saw a strong organization. In fact, the only thing more impressive than Pete was the display of organizational strength of this team.

2,300 supporters showed up in the freezing rain to rally with Pete and march him into the arena. Our organizers knew exactly what needed to happen and when. That matters. This campaign is smart, focused, and disciplined — and that’s what winning the Iowa caucus takes.

So please know this: You are part of an extraordinary campaign. We have the right candidate and the best organization. I know that I am lucky to be a part of it, and hope you feel that way, too.

Larry Grisolano, Senior Advisor, Pete for America

Grisolano pointed out, rightfully so, that the organization behind the event was almost as important as the candidates’ speeches. In Iowa, the primary is a caucus. That means that the campaign that can turn out the most enthusiastic and persuasive people at the right time in the right place is the one that will win. Not many campaigns are focusing on highlighting their organizational skill… but it’s fascinating to see what they’re doing behind the scenes.

And speaking of what others are doing, let’s have a moment of

Theirs Too!

Presidential elections aren’t the only important elections, and presidential candidates aren’t the only candidates who can have good (or bad!) emails. If you get any emails that you feel are brilliant, you can forward them to me at TheirsToo@ButTheirEmails.33mail.com. I’ll try to highlight ones worth your attention!

Not all of Theirs Too are great emails. Sometimes, they’re downright horrible. Lois sent in this piece of work from the DCCC.

If only this actually WERE the final notice…

There is so much wrong with this email, from the fact that Lois ignored them 11 times and they still didn’t get the message, or the fact that it’s worded as a bill that’s due, or the scary, threatening, guilt-tripping way of writing.

Every Democratic training I’ve been in has told me to frame the ask as an opportunity. You are giving the opportunity to do something amazing.

That is definitely not the impression I’m getting from this DCCC email.

John Delaney is coming up on his first 100 emails!

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, consider supporting me on Ko-Fi. But Their Emails! merch is also available on for purchase here!

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