This past week had both a debate and an election, and one of these events garnered more emails than the other. Overall, email volumes have dropped, and I suspect my worst days are behind me. Even FEC deadlines can’t be THAT bad anymore, as they’re coming too frequently now for the campaigns to keep thinking the sky is falling.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 2 candidates for the Democratic Presidential Nomination! 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!
With 52 emails to his donors in a single week, Pete Buttigieg has been the neediest candidate these past 7 days. Joe Biden managed to restrain himself to just 32 emails, while Elizabeth Warren only sent 28.
At this point, every single candidate has been on a debate stage and has received a donation from me. Tom Steyer remains the only one to not email me as a donor.
Wednesday was the ninth Democratic Debate, held in Nevada, and the first debate with Mike Bloomberg on stage. Emails were through the roof on Wednesday. However, Nevada was actually voting on Saturday and, well, as you can see, while a vote triggered a spike in emails, it was not the same as the debate spike.
While donations were, as always, the overwhelming ask this week, many campaigns asked me to help them out by volunteering my time.
Elizabeth Warren had volunteer calls and asked me to work on getting out the vote in Michigan. She also asked me to make calls into Nevada to encourage people to support her in the caucus.
Tom Steyer was also interested in my calling people in Nevada and South Carolina for him. He’s stopped asking me for money and now just wants me to put my name on things in support of him and his ideas.
Bernie Sanders briefly touched base with me to see if I could host some GOTV stuff in Michigan as well, while Mike Bloomberg wanted me to attend some of his weekend of action events.
However, Pete Buttigieg, with his 16 volunteer asks, was dominating the pack. He asked me to do all sorts of things to help his campaign, from calling voters in Nevada and South Carolina to tweeting about his town hall and reaching out to my friends and family with emails or social media posts sharing why I valued Pete so much.
Buttigieg was also the only campaign to send me emails that did not have an ask in them. He released two new policy papers this week, one on housing and homelessness, and the other on protecting our public lands. As always, when he released a new policy, he did not ask me to sign a petition or donate to show my support of his plan. He mere gave me information about it and told me where I could find more if I were interested.
Flush with cash from her fiery debate, Elizabeth Warren launched a contest for a lucky supporter to come down to South Carolina and meet John Legend, a supporter of her campaign, and herself. She joined Pete Buttigieg in hosting contests this week: Buttigieg was still offering his Pizza with Pete contest.
The debates and the Nevada caucus were the two major events of the week, with all of the campaigns focusing on at least one of those two moments (except perhaps for Tulsi Gabbard, who is off ranting in a corner about how undemocratic the Democratic party is). Mike Bloomberg didn’t care about Nevada, but he wanted to make sure I was watching him on the debate stage.
He probably shouldn’t have pushed so hard for me to watch him on the debate stage.
While Amy Klobuchar kept her post-debate fund going the longest, both Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg strung out their debate performances the longest. Warren was talking about how Nevada had been buzzing over her performance right up until the Nevada caucus began, and Buttigieg stressed how he had stressed that if we don’t take action, our choice for nominee could come down to the one who wants to burn the party down or the one who wants to buy the party out (Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, for those of you not paying attention).
The Nevada caucuses are over now, and while results are still incomplete, Bernie Sanders did have a decisive victory. However, as of the time of this writing, 60% of the results are in and only about 300 county convention delegates separates a second place Joe Biden from a third place Pete Buttigieg.
So, of course, Tom Steyer sent out an email being incredibly pleased with his “strong Nevada performance” that convinced him he could win this.
With 4.1% of the county delegate vote, Steyer is currently in 6th place. The only people doing worse than him were either not on the ballot (Mike Bloomberg), dropped out, or were not campaigning in Nevada (Tulsi Gabbard).
Just barely ahead of Steyer is Amy Klobuchar. Her 4.8% of the county delegates puts her in 5th place. For perspective, Elizabeth Warren is in 4th place with 10.1% of the county delegates.
While Klobuchar at least didn’t send an email talking about how this result proved her campaign’s strength, she did email to let me know that she was very excited about continuing to campaign into Super Tuesday.
Personally, I believe Nevada is proving Klobuchar can’t compete on a national stage against the other candidates and that New Hampshire was a fluke, not a promise.
What I found interesting were which campaigns talked about their own data and which did not. Bernie Sanders was declared the victor early on, so he didn’t care about his own data. Joe Biden informed me that his internal data put him in a strong second, and this was the start of his comeback. Pete Buttigieg actually published his own internal data on a website that his team would update as they transcribed the photos sent back from the caucus locations and their precinct captains.
Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer neither made any declarations off their own data, nor did they mention even having any of their own. They were all waiting for the party.
Why is this interesting? Because caucuses, unlike primaries, are completely public. Everyone groups up, everyone gets counted, everyone sees the counts. A well-organized campaign can easily make sure they get one person in each caucus location, get the counts, and do the math themselves. In a caucus, the campaign doesn’t need the state to tell them who won.
Campaigns that had this data, that advertised this data, made me feel a little better about their organizations as Presidential staff. A campaign that has the foresight to put bodies in these rooms and train those people on what to do, and then which can compile the results quickly, is a campaign that can handle high-stress, fast-turnaround situations. It’s just another part of the job interview when it comes to being President.