Beto's fundraising pitch: 'Now, we don't want anything to happen to the kitten ...

Beto's fundraising pitch: 'Now, we don't want anything to happen to the kitten ...

Please spare the life of Miss Whiskers by donating $5, $10, or even $15 to the failing presidential campaign of Robert Francis O’Rourke. Otherwise, the kitten may not be long for this world.

That was said jokingly by O’Rourke (or was it?) during his interview on the stage of TribFest this weekend but it shows the level of desperation that the candidate has reached.

TribFest, for those unfamiliar with it, is a three-day annual event sponsored by The Texas Tribune in Austin. It’s a far-left wonderland where people like Nancy Pelosi are not adequately liberal enough for most of the audience. (Jazz referenced her appearance.) Her lecture to the notoriously young and super-woke crowd present didn’t elicit near the rousing applause that other guests did, especially when she pledged to support incumbents over candidates looking to unseat them. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a member of the Texas congressional delegation who is considered one of the few moderate Democrats left in the House, was singled out recently by Justice Democrats and has a primary challenger. Justice Democrats, you remember, backed AOC in her primary challenge in 2018.

The Democrats running for president are looking at the requirements to be in the November debate and some are falling short. Robert Francis O’Rourke is concerned that he may be one of those Democrats. He was asked during his interview with NBC’s Garrett Haake if he would remain in the primary race if he fails to meet the DNC requirements for the November debate. He joked that it may take a Facebook livestream event that involves a kitten to meet his fundraising goal but he’s not going anywhere any time soon.

“You know, it’s kind of raising the ante or the bar for how we compete for those dollars,” O’Rourke said. “I mean, I could maybe do a Facebook livestream with a kitten and, say, you know, ‘Now, we don’t want anything to happen to the kitten … and so, you know, send your $5 or $10 or $15 in now. And, you know, Miss Whiskers is going to be fine.'”

Haake returned the joke saying that the federal election attorneys were on the phone. O’Rourke then assured the crowd that he was only kidding but qualified it with “I can’t say it didn’t cross my mind.” Yikes! Poor Miss Whiskers.

Twelve candidates will be on the debate stage in October. O’Rourke is one of them. Some of the candidates that are still polling at the bottom of the heap are showing some very creative ways to capture attention as the deadline approaches to meet the requirements for the November debate. Amy Klobuchar used the dramatic appeals in a plea for donations.

O’Rourke has met the new threshold in fundraising to qualify for the November debate but not the polling requirement.

November’s debate, the DNC has announced, has higher thresholds for polling and donor numbers. O’Rourke has met the donor requirements but needs improved polling.

According to the DNC, candidates must cross one of the two polling requirements and receive money from at least 165,000 individual donors, an increase from 130,000 for the fall debates, to qualify.

For polling requirements, Democratic hopefuls must earn at least 3% in four or more national or early-state — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada — polls, a modest bump from the last round of debates, or get at least 5% in two early-state polls.

To cross the first polling threshold, each of the qualifying polls must have a different sponsor — or be in a different geographical area if it’s the same sponsor. But with far less polling coming from the early states, for a candidate to qualify via the second avenue, the DNC is allowing for two early-state polls to be in the same geographical areas and from the same sponsors.

Will Robert Francis meet the polling requirement in time? The candidates must satisfy the requirements by seven days before the November debate. That date hasn’t been announced, though. A sudden rise in popularity is unlikely. He took a huge swing at it after recent mass shootings enabled him to become the gun-grabbing candidate yet he’s still only at 2.5% nationally according to Real Clear Politics as I write this Sunday morning. He is at 1.7% in Iowa, 1.3% in New Hampshire, and 2% in South Carolina – the first three state primaries. In Nevada, he is at 0%. O’Rourke gambled on opportunistically using the deaths and injuries brought about by gun violence and he lost. He has the resources to hang around for as long as he wants and it looks like he will do just that.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on February 01, 2023