With the year coming to a close, candidates for office have their eyes on a Federal Election Commission deadline at the end of the financial quarter and are pulling out all of the stops to get supporters to give them money. Here are some of the most blatant, blunt and just plain bizarre asks Roll Call has found on the trail.
Rand and Jeb call in Daddy Sen. Rand Paul and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may have disagreements on foreign policy, but both are relying on their famous politician dads to help them raise money. On Monday, Paul released an audio message from his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.
“I want to make sure Rand has a strong showing,” Paul says in the message. “So please dig deep today and throughout the end-of-the-year moneybomb to help Rand fully fund these grassroots operations.”
Bush’s campaign emailed a message from his father, former President George H.W. Bush, encouraging supporters to donate.
“This is the final public deadline before voting begins in states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada,” the former president says in the email. “That’s why a group of generous supporters are matching every donation that comes by midnight on Thursday.”
Using the Koch Brothers
There are few bigger boogeymen for the left than conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. As a result, Democratic candidates are saying donors need to counteract the Koch brothers influence by giving them money.
The campaign of Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a candidate for Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat, sent an email from his wife saying ads by the Koch network would smear her husband.
“Their ads will probably have so many lies, I won’t even recognize they’re talking about my husband,” his wife writes before saying Kander’s campaign doesn’t need a special interest group to fight attacks. “We just need to his our goals, one at a time, to build grassroots strength.”
In his run against Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Gov. Ted Strickland got some musical muscle with the help of songwriting legend Carole King, who notes she backed up Strickland’s wife in some of his wife’s performances, who also spoke about the Kochs spending money to support Portman.
“The Koch brothers may have deep pockets,” King says. “But Ted has you and me.”
Bringing Back Political Favorites
One way for candidates to rally the base of their party to give is to show they have the establishment stamp of approval. This was the case with Conner Eldridge, who is running for Senate in Arkansas against Sen. John Boozman, when he had an email sent out from veteran Clinton operative James Carville, with some of his classic Cajun candor.
“Us political junkies have seen them all before, and we know those ads will be bull,” Carville writes. “But if all those Washington insiders sling enough mud, some of it is going to stick.”
Though she’s not up for re-election until 2018, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an email from progressive favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren before the fundraising deadline, using it to talk about New Year’s resolutions.
“My Resolution?” Warren asks. “Help Democrats retake the Senate majority — so we can do more to level the playing field for working families.”
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent an email signed by newly-minted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who talked about the need to have Republicans elected across the board.
“If we want a government accountable to the American people, then we must have a president and Congress that work in unison,” Ryan’s email writes, adding that is where he comes in.
Invoking the Holidays (and Hitler)
Since the FEC deadline comes just as the holidays come to a close, some candidates are hoping supporters saved a little bit of holiday cheer for their campaign coffers.
Along with Warren’s talk of New Year’s resolutions, Paul Chabot, a veteran running for Congress in California as a Republican, talked about spending Christmas watching the Amazon series “Man in the High Castle,” which imagines a world if the Axis powers had won World War II. He then wonders aloud what would have happened if “today’s leaders were running America during WWII?”
“I believe we sadly would have negotiated for peace, but only to see Nazi Germany breaking such a treaty for their end-state of world domination and extermination of the Jews,” Chabot says.
Ted Cruz’s asking for “sacrifice”
No one can ever accuse Sen. Ted Cruz of subtlety. But in the buildup to the fundraising deadline, Ted Cruz’s emails have been filled with rhetorical flourishes, including highlighting the recent Washington Post comic depicting his daughters and having to sacrifice family time.
“Days start before dawn and many times don’t end until early the next morning,” he says. “And what makes it worse is when my family is attacked — I’m sometimes not home to kiss my wife and children and assure them everything is going to be OK.”
Rather than having links to “donate,” Cruz’s email says in all-caps “I can sacrifice” a certain amount.
In another email, he says he just got off an emergency call with his campaign manager and finance director and that “I am still more than $400,000 short,” of what his campaign needed before the deadline,complete with an FEC deadline countdown clock.
“It is of the utmost importance that I don’t come up short,” Cruz writes in the email.