Campaigns lured donors with urgent end-of year-pitches: Need $1,294 by midnight!

Democratic House hopeful Marie Newman’s daughter Evie, 19, a DePaul University freshman, wrote in a fundraising appeal about her mom’s support when she transitioned five years ago.

SHARE Campaigns lured donors with urgent end-of year-pitches: Need $1,294 by midnight!
Lawmakers used the year’s end to whip up campaign contributions.

Lawmakers used the year’s end to whip up campaign contributions.

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

WASHINGTON – In the last week of 2019, Democratic House hopeful Marie Newman’s campaign emailed urgent fundraising appeals featuring members of her family, including her daughter, who wrote about her mom’s support when she transitioned five years ago.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and my mom was by my side every step of the way,” Evie Newman, 19, a DePaul University freshman, said in an email.

In the run-up to New Year’s Eve, Democratic Illinois freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood’s campaign sent a stream of fundraising emails – with one landing two hours before midnight on Tuesday.

Opinion bug


Eligible charities use the Dec. 31 deadline to lure donors with the pitch that taxpayers may be allowed a deduction on their federal income taxes due in 2020.

Some of that end-of-year psychology spills over into politics, though campaign contributors do not get tax breaks.

Campaigns used the presumed persuasiveness of a Dec. 31 deadline aware that folks might be in the giving mood. It is common to urge donations to reach a very precise self-imposed “goal” or to appear viable; the message depends on how the campaign is going.

Illinois has a March 17 primary, with the vote now only weeks away.

Newman is running in the 3rd Congressional District; her main rival is incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Newman campaign emailed appeals from daughter Evie; son Quinn; and husband James. Campaign manager Ben Hardin and three others also made pitches on Monday and Tuesday.

Quinn Newman, 21,  a senior at Xavier University in Cincinnati wrote about how, when he was bullied in school, his mother “went above and beyond” to help.

Hardin, in an email plea on Dec. 29, said “right now we need to raise another $8,421 by Tuesday night to meet our end of quarter goal.”

Newman capped it off on Tuesday asking for donations “before you head off to your New Year’s Eve plans.”

Her decision to run in 2018 and again in 2020 came out of her experiences dealing with challenges facing her children, so her kids sharing their stories in fundraising requests makes sense.

I asked which e-mails worked the best. Newman said, “Most of our fundraising appeals perform about the same. We tell real stories so that folks know there is a reason to fight for real representation.”

Underwood, who does not have a primary challenger, is a major national GOP 2020 target; President Donald Trump won her GOP-leaning 14th Congressional District in 2016.

At 7:51 a.m., (all times Eastern Standard) an email signed by Underwood said “we need your help to end this month on a high note — and that means hitting our $20,000 goal.” It’s not clear if that was just for the day. The appeal seems to have had some success as 2019 came to a close.

An email landing at 10:01 p.m. urged a donation right away because “Our FEC deadline is in two hours and we need all hands on deck tonight to close our $1,294 gap. Chip in today.”

Democratic House hopeful Robert Emmons, Jr., an organizer making his first bid for office, is seeking to oust U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., in the 1st District.

At 2:51 p.m., Emmons wrote, “we only have until midnight to show the strength of our 100 percent grassroots campaign. … People will assess the viability of our campaign based on the numbers we report today.”

Lipinski’s email, at 1:27 p.m., had a “Let’s Make it A Happy Year!” subject line. “Our fundraising goal is in sight as we head into the New Year, but we need your support to put us over the top and make sure we’re in the best position to win in 2020.”

At 10:06 a.m., Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., from the 11th District, wrote, “our end of year FEC deadline is tonight and I need the resources to hold my historically Republican seat.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., one of the biggest fundraisers in the entire House, wrapped up the email 2019 money chase at 8:17 a.m.

The 8th District lawmaker wrote, “I’m counting on you to become a Founding Member of my campaign before midnight – my first End of Year Deadline since I voted to impeach Donald Trump.”

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