At 5:11 PM ET, on Sunday, December 1, 2019, Admiral Joe Sestak suspended his Presidential campaign.
Over his 162-day campaign, Joe sent a total of 141 emails, averaging just 0.87 emails a day.
Joe’s most popular day to email was the weekend, sending 26 emails on both Saturday and Sunday. He liked to do recaps of his week and heads-ups for the events about to entail.
Unlike just about every other candidate in the field, Joe was a fan of the early morning emails. He usually hit my inbox between 5-7 AM ET when he emailed.
Also unlike just about every other candidate, Joe would send me his emails himself. His daughter sent one email, and one time, I believe a staffer sent an email, but every other message was signed by Joe himself, usually with a closer like “Warmest” or “Respectfully.” I actually had no trouble believing that Joe was writing his own emails. His entire campaign felt very much like a one-man show.
Perhaps Joe’s biggest weakness was his lack of financial requests. Joe asked for money in less than half of his emails. More often than not, he just wanted to tell me what he was up to or direct me toward an article he had written or an interview he was on.
Most of Joe’s focus was on Joe, but not in an egotistical way. He would tell me where he was going and where he had been, and he would talk all about the interesting people he met. He did a hike across the entire state of New Hampshire to literally be walking in their shoes, and he would send me updates from the road, telling me about the guy who studied caterpillars or the tree fallen by a storm he had to snap and move.
Joe almost never announced actual fundraising goals, so he was never behind. However, that also meant he never made a goal either. Instead, Joe would occasionally thank me for my support, and he’d talk to me about his daughter, who was a brain cancer survivor, and how her battle inspired him to give back by getting into politics. Joe did call me a top supporter of his one time, and he is the only one I believed when he said that: with how few supporters Joe had on Twitter, I was one of his more devoted fans.
Joe was a politician of the old school, sticking paper leaflets beneath windshield wipers and giving presentations using paper maps. He invited me to mail him checks or write to him with the names of people I encouraged to donate to him for a contest he ran. There was a certain charm to his old school tactics, even if they were woefully underperforming in today’s fast-paced political world. Still, I came to look forward to his tweets from the road, and more than once I found myself thinking “Joe, just go to bed!”
My favorite email from any political candidate ever came from Joe Sestak.
For a brief, shining moment, Joe looked to be on the right track to beat Joe. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep up the same rate of growth to their decline, and both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders managed to hold onto their lead ahead of him.
Unfortunately, for all his maverick skills and face to face retail politicking, the best Joe ever really got was 1% in a New Hampshire poll after walking across the state. This was a crowning achievement for the true underdog of the Democratic Presidential Primary, and it was all downhill from there. His email frequency fizzled out shortly before Thanksgiving, and after the holiday, Joe declared his campaign suspended.
Farewell, Joe Sestak. Thank you for the entertainment and enlightenment.