Yes, Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy on Sunday, and yes, he’s starting to show up on my charts today, but I won’t actually officially count him until tomorrow’s post.
Rest assured, I am very unhappy with these rich old guys thinking they can come in here and mess up my charts.
ANYWAY, this past week brought a lot of emails with the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta, Georgia, and the end of the month fast approaching. Though there was a spike, it wasn’t as high as it had been in the past. Regardless, Julian Castro was determined to single-handedly change the conversation.
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!
Julian Castro sent a whopping 26 emails this week, despite not actually being in the debates. The runner up was Pete Buttigieg, with 25, who was in the debates. Joe Biden was the distant third at 23 emails in the week, followed closely by Cory Booker, with 22.
With the mid-week debate, the Wednesday spike in emails was not unexpected. Nor was Thursday’s high turnout. Friday was fairly standard, for a Friday, and Saturday’s count shows the emails are returning to normal. For the moment.
With the debates, of course the big ask was for money. The candidates asked for money to show support prior to the debate, asked for money to show support during the debate, and asked for money to show support of what was said during the debate. For candidates who didn’t make it on the debate stage, they still asked for money.
Julian Castro was shotgunning excuses and reasons across my inbox all week, ranging from railing against the billionaires like Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg who were buying the election to bemoaning the lack of anyone else speaking up for the issues of voters of color and problems such as the housing crisis. He declared himself the winner of the debates, though his campaign manager said he was also far too humble to speak up for how badly he was being mistreated in relation to other, “less-qualified” candidates.
It’s been interesting, this past week, to watch Castro develop a bit of fire in his belly and a slight bit of direction to his campaign. Instead of going on and on about how rough his childhood was, now he’s talking more consistently about issues at play today in our country. He’s stopped looking at the past and is just starting to look forward.
I feel it’s much too little too late for Castro. He wasted months whining about how rough his life used to be and not trying to catch anyone’s hearts with what he was passionate about. Not qualifying for a debate stage seems to be the kick he needed to stop looking at his past and start looking at our future… but by this point, his mean streak had been revealed on multiple debate stages and through countless tweets and emails. Nobody outside of his supporters is talking about him as a Presidential candidate anymore: they all seem convinced he’s trying to be Elizabeth Warren’s Vice President.
5 candidates decided to offer stickers in exchange for donations this week, with varying offers. Andrew Yang started things off with a 2-pack of bumper stickers free with every purchase from his merch shop.
Bernie Sanders started the week with a final chance to get his round FDR-inspired sticker.
After the debate, Sanders unveiled a new sticker about class warfare. This sticker was free with a donation of any amount, though Sanders did make sure to point out that the average donation for it was $10.
And then he followed up with another email saying the sticker actually was getting average donations of $8.51.
Marianne Williamson also had a last-chance moment, offering up the last chance to get her U.S. Department of Children and Youth sticker. Her sticker wasn’t entirely free with donation, though. There was a minimum donation of $5 expected to get this one.
Pete Buttigieg unveiled a Rules of the Road sticker in honor of debate week, making it free with any donation. Unlike the others, he chose to use an animated GIF to sell it.
Tom Steyer launched a climate-change focused sticker after the debate. A donation of just $1 (the minimum ActBlue accepts) would get you this lovely sticker and would help put Steyer that much closer to the December debate stage.
Most of the campaigns are stepping up their sticker game, I’ll give them that. I’m still waiting for all of their winter merch to come out to write up a holiday shopping guide…
Deval Patrick burst onto the scene with a few “welcome to the team!” emails and only one asking for donations. He has a lot of work to do to catch up with everyone else who has spent months and months building their ground game and donor base, after all.
He said that as if it wasn’t his own poor decision-making skills that drove him to enter the race late.
I already have little patience for Patrick. My tolerance for Bloomberg is going to be even lower.
Both Andrew Yang and Steve Bullock sent emails this week worried that if they don’t hit their budget goals, they’ll have to pull their wildly successful ads from the air and fall behind. Joe Biden, meanwhile, was realizing that by ignoring Iowa, he let other people get ahead of him. It’s really hard to make an “I’m the most electable!” argument if you didn’t win in a primary, so now Biden is desperately trying to claw back some of his lost ground in Iowa. Both Biden and Kamala Harris name-dropped Pete Buttigieg as a threat in Iowa. Though neither of them spoke negatively about him, they both pointed out he was outspending them in ads in Iowa and climbing in the polls, and this was a problem.
Joe Biden also trotted out an old standby email in which he writes about how much money Bernie Sanders has already raised this year ($74+ million), and with that much money in the race, ANYTHING was possible! Meanwhile, Sanders was saying that his fundraising was excellent, unmatched by anyone else in the field, and still not good enough. Elizabeth Warren also tried this tactic, saying how pleased and happy she was with her low average donation amount and then asking if maybe it could be just a bit higher.
Amy Klobuchar had a great debate and was excited to keep up the momentum afterwards, while Cory Booker had the two best fundraising days of his entire campaign starting after the last debate. Booker surpassed the December donor threshold, but he still needs to get the qualifying polls. Tom Steyer, on the other hand, has the qualifying polls but is struggling to get the donors he needs.
And finally, Marianne Williamson rounded out the week with an email from her National Grassroots Volunteer Leader that again left me feeling a bit icky. She started, as she does all emails written by supporters, with a picture of the author.
Oscar Carter here seems like a nice older man. Friendly.
A bit obsessed with love.
I get that it’s Marianne Williamson’s campaign, but even she talks about love in an abstract way. “With gratitude and love,” she’ll sign her emails.
Carter just signed his “Love, Oscar Carter.”
Look, I let my family say they love me. I don’t want some random stranger saying “Love” to me in a form letter. It’s the little things like this that make it next to impossible for me to take Williamson’s campaign seriously. Would you sign a letter to your boss with “Love?” Then why are you sending that to me?
I was so put off by the closing that I barely even paid attention to what he was actually asking for in the email: join the Facebook group, host Campaign Circles, display Williamson merch. Right. Yeah. Not gonna do any of that for a stranger who says he loves me.