Now or Never: Radical Transparency about the Next 10 Days of This Race

Cory Booker
6 min readSep 21, 2019

To: Cory 2020 Supporters, Friends, and Staff
From: Addisu Demissie, Campaign Manager, Cory ‍2020
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cory Booker decided to run for president because he believes that the only way to beat Donald Trump and heal our country is to bring people together — and he’s the best person to do that. He’s never been in this to raise his profile or to sell books. He is in it to win it.

The next ten days will decide whether or not he can.

We’ve known since the very beginning that he entered this race with some challenges — he didn’t have the near-100% name recognition of some candidates who’ve been on the national stage before, nor did he enter the race with tens of millions he could transfer from other campaign accounts.

What Cory has always had is the ability to inspire Americans to work towards a better, more united America — and to make us believe that our country can tackle its biggest challenges if we come together. As the only candidate in the Democratic field who goes home to a low-income, majority-minority community, Cory is able to speak with uncommon moral clarity about the pain of Americans who feel left out and left behind, while reminding all Americans that our common pain can only be addressed by reigniting our sense of common purpose. That has been at the core of who Cory Booker is since he entered public life over two decades ago and has been the driving force behind this campaign since Day One.

We know that when people hear Cory’s hopeful message and vision for a post-Trump world, he wins them over. We’ve seen it consistently throughout this campaign, and we’ll see it again later today during his speech at the Polk County Democrats’ annual Steak Fry in Iowa.

Here’s the real talk: We have reached a critical moment, and time is running out. It’s now or never: The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race and compete to win the nomination.

How We See the Race — No BS

Democrats’ historically strong, diverse field is about to narrow dramatically, and despite his unique message, political skills, and growing popularity nationwide and in the early states, Cory Booker might not be in this race for much longer — the same is true for other important voices in the field.

While we invested early in building an outstanding organization in our Newark headquarters and the February early states, other campaigns have, in recent weeks, surpassed us in scale and begun spending on paid persuasion efforts online and on television.

Between that and the likely increase in the DNC’s debate-qualifying thresholds, which would require significant funds to meet, it is probable there are only four campaigns in this race with the money necessary to build and sustain the national organization needed to win the nomination.

I’ll be blunt: We aren’t among them today, but with your help, we can be.

Our Opportunity: Now or Never, Together

Cory 2020 has the resources necessary to continue on as we are now for quite some time, but that is not enough. Cory is one of only 11 candidates who have qualified for the DNC debate in October, but that is not enough, either.

We have to change our fundraising trajectory right now — before September 30 — or we will not be able to grow our operation fast enough to win.

Rather than posture or pretend, we want to give our amazing supporters — and everyone who thinks Cory is a unique, important voice in this race, whether or not he’s their final choice yet — the chance to step up in this moment when they still have a chance to determine what the final field of candidates will look like.

Here’s the bottom line: Cory 2020 needs to raise an additional $1.7 million by September 30 to be in a position to build the organization necessary to continue competing for the nomination. Without a fundraising surge to close out this quarter, we do not see a legitimate long-term path forward.

September is traditionally one of the strongest fundraising months for presidential campaigns. But after a surprisingly positive August, we simply have not witnessed the expected uptick in fundraising over the last three weeks.

To put it bluntly, we need to scale our operation up in October and November to remain competitive and need a strong September to make that happen.

We need to maximize support from our current donor base, and we need to seal the deal with supporters who like Cory but have been waiting to contribute because of an assumption that they can wait until later.

Well, “later” is now.

If we do hit our goal, we believe we will ultimately win the nomination because of the early investments we made in talent and infrastructure — investments that have put us in the game to date and already paid off with Cory earning significant endorsements and support from elected officials and key activists in early states and beyond. We know this will further bear fruit when the majority of voters tune in and make up their minds later in this race; according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll this week, 91% of Democratic primary voters have not made up their minds about which candidate they are supporting.

But now is the time to build upon what we’ve done, not to sit back and be complacent.

I want to be clear: This isn’t an end-of-quarter stunt or another one of those memos from a campaign trying to spin the press. This is a real, unvarnished look under the hood of our operation at a level of transparency unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns.

Raising $1.7 million in just ten days is a herculean challenge, but it can be done. After entering the race on February 1, Cory 2020 raised $1.4 million in the final ten days of March to close out the first quarter of this campaign. We need to do it again (and more!), and we need you to step up to the challenge.

It can be done — but only if we do it together.

Cory got in this race to win it and to beat Donald Trump. With four and a half months until voting begins, he is well-positioned to do just that — if he has the resources to support and grow our team. But if our campaign is not in a financial position to grow, he’s not going to continue to consume resources and attention that can be used to focus on beating Donald Trump, which needs to be everyone’s first priority in this election.

What We Need To Stay In This — and Win

If you’re all in for Cory Booker —

If you haven’t settled on a candidate, but Cory’s on your list —

If you think we need a choice in this primary beyond the current top four most-resourced candidates —

If you believe that the race for the Democratic nomination needs the perspective of someone who actually lives in a low-income, majority-minority community —

If you simply think Cory has an important voice and message that more voters should hear — here’s what this means for you:

Help raise the $1.7 million needed before 11:59 pm on September 30.

This is the moment to act. If you wait, it will be too late.

Voting might not begin until February, but the choices that Democrats will have then are being determined right now, and Cory needs your help today.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Donate. We literally cannot wait for support to come later. Go to to donate today. Many of you have given before — please give again today.
  • Join the fight. Text TOGETHER to 40203 to get daily updates between now and Sept. 30th about our progress to goal and how you can help.
  • Build the team. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to chip before the September 30th deadline to ensure Cory can stay in this race. We’ll have resources at every day you can use to spread the word.