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Saturday marks the all-important first-quarter fundraising deadline, and candidates are getting a little help from their friends in the form of last-minute pleas for donations.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) wrote to his Senate Conservatives Fund supporters on Monday on behalf of Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, and Democratic strategist James Carville emailed supporters of Connecticut Congressional candidate Dan Roberti.

“You know me — I’m a straight shooter. So I’m just going to cut to the chase,” Carville wrote. “We have just 3 days left before the first, and arguably the most critical, Federal Election Commission fund-raising reporting deadline of 2012.”

Former Rep. Ed Case’s (D-Hawaii) dad, who doubles as campaign treasurer for his son’s Senate campaign, asked for dollars, and Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) mom asked for donations for her daughter, saying “a small group of Republican fat cats are trying to spend their millions to hornswoggle Missouri voters.”

Senators are throwing their weight around, too, as Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) lent their names to Virginia Senate candidates Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) for emails Wednesday morning.

Warner highlighted Kaine’s role helping balance the state budget in 2002 when they served together as governor and lieutenant governor. They inherited a $6 billion shortfall, Warner wrote, “so Tim and I got to work.”

Thune said Allen helped convince him in 2004 that he could defeat the then-Senate Majority Leader from South Dakota.

“With George’s help, I went on to defeat Tom Daschle that year and I’m hoping we can do the same this year for him,” Thune wrote in the email.

The quarter ends Saturday, and reports must be filed with the FEC by midnight on April 15. Nearly half the states will hold their primaries between Tuesday and the next quarterly deadline at the end of June.

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