Newsletter: Essential Politics: No more fundraising emails -- for a moment

(Designed using Wordle)

I’m Christina Bellantoni, the Essential Politics host today. Away we go.

Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton had a message for me Wednesday. When I didn’t respond within an hour, they emailed again.

"This deadline matters. It would mean so much to me if I had your support before midnight," the former secretary of State wrote.

"I'm emailing you now because I think it's about time this country had a smart, tenacious, passionate woman as president. Pitch in $1 or more before tonight's midnight fundraising deadline, and help elect Hillary," the former president implored.

Their notes — two each! — were among a mass of entreaties from people running for office, state parties, political action committees and candidate spouses, children and fathers.

An email from "the official Clinton campaign" went a little less formal, using a countdown clock underneath a giant "Yiiiikes!" warning me there were just a few hours "until this campaign faces a huge deadline."

This was all within the span of a few hours.

Our team decided to collect every last message in the the onslaught of solicitations over the final 48 hours of the third quarter. We analyzed the notes for what they suggest about the campaigns.

"Deadline," "help" and "immediately" were the most common terms. (Check out our word cloud.)

We found staffers who received slightly different solicitations based on their ZIP Code. One of us was asked to give $1. The other got a $5 ask — even though every word in the note was identical.

Some of our journalists got solicitations so strange we had to wonder why there’s not an "exclude the press" button on campaign email software. The oddest was between a candidate and a finance director, pretending to discuss my lack of support for the campaign. Imagine my surprise when four of us received the same note, including one staffer who had never even heard of sender Matt Bevin, the Republican running for governor in Kentucky.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s note ended with, "Hope to see you soon. G."

Another new trend seemed to be a promise to not take too much time. Here are two:

Subject line: The shortest email you’ll read

I need your help ahead of tonight's urgent fundraising deadline. Click here to donate now. --Marco

(That’s 16 words)

Subject line: Shortest message you'll read today.

I’ll get right to the point. I really need your help ahead of tonight’s urgent fundraising deadline. Click here to donate now: -Rick

(This one is 23 words, not counting the link)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn’t ask for money at all, instead sending out some video of a town hall meeting and talking about his "#DearDC" campaign to complain about Congress. Former Sen. Jim Webb used his note to tout an upcoming radio appearance, but then added, "If you like what you hear, give Jim a high $5 by clicking here." (Get it?)

For all that we like to make fun of these notes and their goofy subject lines, and complain about their frequency, strategist after strategist will say that they work. It’s difficult to track because candidates aren’t required to report donations under $200, but Clinton raised $28 million this quarter, thanks in part to 93% of her donations being under $100. That’s the most money that a non-incumbent has ever raised before his or her third quarter of campaigning, Evan Halper reported.


-- We made a handy chart so you can track how the California members of Congress voted on the legislation funding the government through Dec. 11.

-- With Planned Parenthood dominating the headlines, Javier Panzar checked in on how the issue is playing in the most competitive campaigns.

-- Fighting traffic tickets in California just got easier.

-- Teachers are not sold on Clinton’s candidacy.

-- The Hollywood Reporter notes President Obama is coming to town for two high-dollar fundraisers on Oct. 10. He’ll hold a Q&A at the home of director J.J. Abrams and wife Katie McGrath, attend a private concert in the Palisades for the Democratic National Committee and appear at a fundraiser at the home of interior designer Michael Smith. Smith’s partner, former HBO executive James Costos, is the U.S. ambassador to Spain, according to THR.

-- We’ve got the details on a possible California State University faculty strike.

-- Michael Memoli starts another countdown clock for Vice President Joe Biden.

-- Michael Finnegan looks at Ben Carson’s rhetoric and finds some Republicans are concerned his comments on religion might alienate all but older, white voters.

-- Daniel Handler, author of the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" novels, and his wife, artist Lisa Brown, are donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood.

-- Join us at Politicon. We’re a sponsor, and I’m moderating two panels. Use the code LATIMES for a free ticket.


Washington bureau chief David Lauter will take over tomorrow for our late-afternoon newsletter focusing on the week’s best stories that provide fresh insight on the presidential campaign and other great long reads to take you into the weekend. (Here’s last Friday’s.) I’ll be back Monday.

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