Candidates fill inboxes with fundraising appeals
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio hopes everyone’s summer is off to a good start. Please send money.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is working on a constitutional amendment to negate a Supreme Court ruling on political activity by independent groups. In the meantime, please send money.
Rick Weiland, a Democrat running for the Senate in South Dakota, would like $9, please. Many other candidates in both parties would settle for $5.
Welcome to the unending, inbox-clogging world of online campaign fundraising, set against a backdrop of Monday’s Federal Election Commission deadline for candidates to disclose their campaign finances. The more an office-seeker reports having in the bank, the more there is available for the fall campaign. But it’s not just the money that counts, it’s the appearance of it.
“In just 15 hours, I’ll have to close the books on our second quarter FEC report,” wrote Jenny Nadicksbernd, finance director for Sen. Mark Warner. “That report will be looked at by Karl Rove and his special interest pals to see if they should launch attacks against” the Virginia Democrat, she added.
It’s not only candidates for federal offices.
Jason Carter, a Democrat running for governor of Georgia, helpfully posted a clock on his emailed request for cash. That way everyone would know exactly how much time was left – down to the second – to reach Carter’s target of $50,000 before his self-imposed midnight deadline.
Nor is it just a simple request for money. Candidates and independent organizations have a series of pleadings, tailored to the political leanings of their donor targets.
Republican fundraisers favor unflattering mentions of President Barack Obama or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The appeal from Rubio’s political action committee, Reclaim America, mentioned both, and still found room to send along best wishes for the hot weather months. “I hope your summer is off to a great start, but it’s hard to enjoy our time with family and friends when we see one scandal after another emerging from Washington, DC,” it said. “The Obama Administration just can’t seem to shoot straight, and they’re aided every step of the way by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”
For Democrats, it’s the Koch brothers, who oversee a constellation of organizations devoted to electing Republicans and repealing the nation’s health care law.
Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, running for a Senate seat in Iowa, set a $65,000 goal for midnight. “Special interests backed by the likes of the Koch Brothers have already spent more than $2 million” in the state, the pleading said. “They’re not going to let up till the last poll closes (in) Nov. and neither can we.”
Brown, D-Ohio, cited a recent Supreme Court ruling loosening the rules on political activity for outside groups and said he hopes the justices will come to their senses.
In the meantime: “While we’re working on a Constitutional amendment in the Senate, grassroots campaigns like ours need to prepare. Help us stay strong by making a $5 contribution before the FEC deadline.”
In some cases, the requests take on the trappings of a holiday sale at a clothing or cosmetics store.
“Contribute by 11:59 p.m. tonight, and I’ll triple-match whatever you give,” said an appeal sent out by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “That means every dollar you give becomes $4.”
In case anyone missed Portman’s request, the NRSC followed up with a chaser. “All contributions today are triple matched by Sen. Rob Portman,” it said.
Not everyone can be so original.
Braley and Rick Weiland either had the same thought or have the same fundraising consultants.
“With only 15 hours to go before our $65,000 FEC deadline, this is where our grassroots rubber meets the road. Contribute $5 or more right now to make sure we get there before midnight tonight,” said one of Braley’s fundraising emails Monday.
Weiland’s was strikingly similar: “With only 14 hours to go before our FEC deadline, this is where our grassroots rubber meets the road. Contribute $9 or more right now to make sure we get there before midnight tonight.”
Judging by her own email, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. is no mere candidate. “Thank you for joining this movement,” she wrote as part of one appeal.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana is in a far different category, midway through his first term and without a Democratic opponent for 2016.
But his request sounds no less urgent than Shaheen’s.
“The Indiana Democratic Party is actively recruiting candidates to run for governor. … As a statement of support, would you be willing to contribute a minimum of just $5?”