Cory Booker’s Path to December Debate Qualification

Cory Booker
Nov 26 · 4 min read

TO: Cory 2020 Supporters, Friends, and Staff
Addisu Demissie, Campaign Manager, Cory ‍2020
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Cory Booker’s standout debate performance last Wednesday has given our campaign an undeniable boost of momentum.

Almost immediately after the conclusion of the debate, a surge of donations from grassroots supporters began. All told, Cory 2020 raised more than $1 million debate night and the four days following — a period of time that also includes the first and second-best online fundraising days of our entire campaign.

This grassroots influx is particularly notable because it has been defined by an outpouring of new support. We added more first-time donors in the 24 hours after the debate than the day Cory launched his campaign. In fact, the Cory 2020 donors who became first-time donors in the three days between November 20th and 22nd represent nearly 10 percent of our total universe of donors. This wave of new donor interest pushed Cory 2020 over the 200,000 donor threshold needed to qualify for the December debate.

In addition to financial support, Cory 2020 is seeing a surge in voter interest, too. In a packed 30 hours on the ground in New Hampshire this weekend, we saw overflow crowds at 8 different campaign stops across the Granite State.

Our next challenge is turning that curiosity and grassroots surge into the support we need to meet the DNC polling requirements to ensure Cory is on the December debate stage.

Our Top Priority Until December 12: Hitting the Debate Polling Threshold

Our campaign has just over two weeks until the December 12th debate qualification deadline. We expect that up to a dozen qualifying polls will be released between now and then; we believe our likeliest path to qualification is to hit four percent of support in four of them.

Cory has been within the margin of error of hitting the threshold in every December debate qualifying poll that has been conducted, often missing the threshold by a matter of two or three individual poll respondents.

But Cory 2020 isn’t leaving poll qualification up to margins of error or fate. With the 200,000 unique donor threshold now met, we are reorienting our entire campaign apparatus into a persuasion effort designed to further elevate the message Cory’s been committed to this entire campaign and reach the voters we need to meet the polling threshold.

Let me say that again: we know the most important thing we can do for Cory Booker right now is to ensure that every dollar spent, every volunteer shift booked, every waking moment our campaign staff spends in the next two weeks is geared toward persuading voters that Cory should be their first choice in this contest.

It’s Time for Paid Advertising

In the days to come, Cory 2020 will launch our first paid advertisements on radio and our first digital persuasion ads — a six-figure ad buy. We will also work hard to raise additional funds with the hope of placing our first television ad buys in Iowa and South Carolina.

While we don’t have Michael Bloomberg or even Tom Steyer money, we are pouring what we have into paid persuasion thanks to the surge that came in after the debate and no longer having to spend precious resources on new donor acquisition aimed at hitting the 200,000 threshold.

We are also reorienting our early states organizing machine — the best in the 2020 field — to become a targeted voter persuasion effort aimed at attaining the debate polling threshold, using both traditional methods and new organizing tools to reach voters where they are and help show them why the time to pick Cory Booker is now.

While we don’t have the most money in the field — far from it — we know we have the best candidate and the strongest message. We need a president who can heal our country and repair the damage Donald Trump has done, and make justice and opportunity real for every American — a president who is unafraid to take on the biggest problems in our country that leave entire communities behind. From ending gun violence to fixing our broken criminal justice system to creating an economy that works for every community and every family.

Putting Us on a Path to Win

We know Cory is an underdog in this race right now. But our pathway to the nomination is very real.

Voters continue to tell us — and public and private polling data confirms — that the race is wide open for a candidate to make a surge in the final months before voting begins. In the ‘gold standard’ Des Moines Register/CNN Iowa poll from earlier this month, 7 in 10 Democratic caucus-goers confirmed that they are either undecided or acknowledge that their mind is not firmly made up.

We know that if Cory’s voice is on that December debate stage, he will have another opportunity to shine and keep our momentum growing. With voters’ minds far from made up, we are going to keep building this campaign brick by brick — organizing and working to get hot late in the cycle.

If nothing else, Cory’s debate performance last week shows that he’s the best closer in the game.

We know we can get there. If you agree, help support and expand our voter persuasion effort by donating at

    Written by

    U.S. senator from New Jersey and Democratic candidate for president.

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