Clinton Pushed for Web Donations Leading to New Hampshire Primary

  |  January 10, 2008   |  Comments

Online donations were the name of the game for Hillary Clinton's e-mail strategy in the days leading up to the New York Senator's surprising New Hampshire primary win.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgOnline donations were the name of the game for Hillary Clinton's e-mail strategy in the days leading up to the New York Senator's surprising New Hampshire primary win. "Only our online supporters can put money in the bank quickly enough to make a real difference in New Hampshire by tomorrow," read an e-mail missive signed by her husband, former president Bill Clinton, sent the day before the January 8th primary.

Clinton's campaign also aimed to round up volunteers to assist with get-out-the-vote phone calls to residents of the Granite state. Her main rival there, Senator Barack Obama, took a slightly subtler approach between his Iowa Caucuses win and second-place New Hampshire showing. Though the candidate's campaign e-mails did include links to donate online, they were more focused on building momentum by thanking contributors for Obama's win in Iowa and asking them to assist in phone banking.

On the Republican side, New Hampshire frontrunners Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took similarly different tacks. While John McCain 08 made strong donation pleas in e-mails, Romney for President made none, instead asking that supporters help by making phone calls to New Hampshire voters and getting friends, family and co-workers involved.

Email Data Source provided the Information on the campaign e-mails to ClickZ News.

In a message titled "Last night" and sent the day following her disappointing third-place Iowa finish, Clinton's camp made a series of fundraising requests. "With your help, we can win. Make a contribution now," went the e-mail appeal signed by the candidate. "The stakes couldn't be any higher. Events couldn't be moving any faster. With everything on the line, let's show them what we're made of," it read, ending with the theme dominating hers and Obama's campaign: "Let's keep working to change America."

Another message sent the following day by Guy Cecil, national political and field director for the Clinton campaign, urged recipients to help by calling New Hampshire voters and stressed the need for a "clean break away" from President George W. Bush's policies. "It's an all hands on deck moment," wrote Cecil in the e-mail, which also linked to a contribution Web page.

"Turn on your television," demanded a message from Obama for America, thanking supporters the day after the caucuses. "We just won Iowa, and I'm about to head down to talk to everyone," it read. The e-mail included a link to donate online, as did another sent the next day by the campaign in the hopes of gathering people at its Chicago Volunteer Headquarters to assist in calling New Hampshire voters.

Neither e-mail focused on fundraising as a main theme, however. And a third sent January 5 from Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe did not include a single link to donate. Rather, it urged supporters to check out a video of Obama's post-Iowa campaign speech. "Please take a moment to watch the speech and share it with someone you know. Now's the time to get everyone involved," it read.

A series of e-mail messages from GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign after the caucuses excluded direct links to donate online, instead pushing supporters to ask friends to donate, and register to call New Hampshire voters from their homes. "Just use our new messaging tool. I'll even record a customized voicemail greeting for your cell phone if you'd like," read one missive signed by the candidate.

In addition to asking volunteers to participate in the pre-primary "Call at Home" effort, e-mails referred to Romney as the best hope for "conservative change in Washington," and urged people to "Ask your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to get on board by joining Team Mitt today!"

E-mails for Romney's New Hampshire rival McCain were more direct. An e-mail sent the day following McCain's disappointing outcome in Iowa included a large banner-like image asking supporters to "Keep the Momentum Going!" by making an online donation. The message linked to videos of New Hampshire TV ads, thanked supporters for a "valiant" Iowa effort, and claimed the Senator "is the only Republican candidate who appeals to independent and conservative voters in New Hampshire, and has a proven record of doing so."

A subsequent message sent January 6 used a harder-sell approach to garner last-minute funds. "I'm asking for your immediate donation to help spread my message," read the e-mail, which stressed McCain's conservative agenda, and mentioned issues including "radical Islamic extremists" and prosperity for families. Titled "Closing in on Victory," the message declared, "All of our hard work over the past year has come down to these final few weeks... That's why it's so important for you to follow this link immediately to give $50, $100, $150, $250, $500, $1,000, or $2,300."


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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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