There may be relief within New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s presidential campaign about its potential end. The Democrat isn’t completely talking about it in Iowa but his surrogates vow the late Friday plea for $1.7M was just plain honesty.
“This is what we decided on,” one senior official pointed out to Buzzfeed. “Tell the world the truth.”
There’s a bit of amusement in this especially since one of my inboxes is full of desperate emails from Republicans vowing they’ve missed their own fundraising goals. Those kinds of email are just gimmicky attempts to soak as much cash from potential donors as possible. The ruse is not limited to Republicans as Democrats use the same kind of language to boost their fundraising total. It’s a rather tiresome game of raising funds through dramatic messages of dire consequences when the reality is much different.
Except for this time, apparently, which the Booker campaign is swearing on a stack of religious texts. Tribune News Services noted the timing is interesting because of the looming deadline for fundraising disclosures. Take that for what you will.
The reaction from the campaign seems to be thankful per Buzzfeed.
It was, somewhat incongruously, the best day of the race for the young aides on his staff since the launch. People felt a renewed sense of purpose, energized. In Iowa, the team here found out about the push to $1.7 million during a call on Friday. “Everyone knows what we have to do and is going to work.” They had a path forward, even if only for 10 days. There was almost, as some described it, a sense of relief.
Booker PAC backers aren’t sure what to think. One person told Buzzfeed it was way too early to bring this kind of drama into the presidential race regardless of its truth. Another adviser pointed out no one else wants to talk about the financial prospects of the 16+ other low polling Democratic campaigns.
The Booker money issues may be similar to the ones John McCain ran into in 2008. He performed extremely poorly in the beginning before a campaign reshuffle which involved ex-Texas U.S. Senator Phil Gramm taking over the finances. McCain recovered and got the nomination. Of course, 2008 is much different than 2016 because Booker is dealing with 20-something opponents whereas McCain dealt with “just” eight. Any type of reshuffling by Booker would be more of a sign of weakness than anything else.
Donors appear rather blasé to Booker’s call for money. His campaign said they received around 21% of the needed cash to stay afloat while also touting their strong infrastructure in early primary states and New Jersey. Rather odd to suggest you’re almost out of cash if you’re also promising to have a ground game. Of course, he’s also got eight or so days to go before the end of October so the clock hasn’t quite struck midnight, yet.
Allahpundit sees Booker’s potential demise as a big deal because he still thinks the New Jersey Senator has a chance to break out. The issue may be the fact Democrats have a populism problem much like Republicans in 2016. The injured feelings from the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders primary won’t go away anytime soon. The populists within the Democratic Party are still furious leadership denied Sanders a real fair shake against Clinton. Hence why Elizabeth Warren is polling so well in Iowa with Joe Biden right behind. Warren is as much of a populist as Ted Cruz while Biden straddles the line between apparent substance and populism.
Booker has never appeared able to bring in populist support. He’s certainly been more legislatively successful with his work on justice reform in the U.S. Senate. Yet there’s no cult of personality with Booker, unlike the ones Warren, Biden, Sanders, and Barack Obama enjoy with Democrats. Booker would probably be sitting in fourth in a normal election cycle but this isn’t one.
There is a bigger choice for Booker coming in the future and whether he’ll continue this apparent doomed effort for the Democratic presidential nomination or focus squarely on re-election in New Jersey. He can do both, as it is, but it would involve more and more money which he (apparently) doesn’t possess.
It’s still interesting to see Booker’s campaign look at his money issues as a positive and a sense of repurposing. Perhaps this move will give his race a bit of a boost. The most likely outcome is it stays hovering around 3% and eventually ends. Unless he’s hoping to get the VP slot on any potential ticket.