Democrats Cashing In on Email Strategy

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 08:36 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Democrats are raking it in with their email fundraising efforts while the GOP plays catch up, Politico reported.

The emails are carefully crafted to highlight the issues that Democrats have with their Republican rivals, often using capital letters on phrase such as "red alert" to emphasize their point and denote a sense of urgency.

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The emails portray Speaker John Boehner as the troublemaker on Capitol Hill while downplaying President Barack Obama’s role in the midterm elections by using his signature sparingly yet hyping up GOP impeachment calls and Obamacare repeal demands, according to Politico.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $4.8 million last week alone by fueling impeachment chatter, a record week for its online fundraising drive and one that has made Republicans consider jumping on the bandwagon and copying the format.

"I’ve been loving the emails," GOP digital consultant Wesley Donehue said at a recent campaign tech conference in San Francisco, according to Politico. "I’ve been sending them to my team [and saying], 'Do this, because this [expletive] is awesome."

The committee is set to surpass its 2012 record of $49 million raised through emails, which will result in more field workers and TV ads for the fall campaign, possibly leading to more Democratic victories than the last midterms in 2010, Politico said.

The man being credited with the online surge is Brandon English, 30, a Brown University graduate, who did a Google search on "Democratic Party jobs" in 2006 looking for an entry level position, and to his surprise came across a digital department being developed at DCCC in Washington, according to Politico.

His over-the-top emails have fired up Democrats over the years and had them consistently reaching for their wallets, according to the political news website.

He’s had such a profound effect on the party’s fundraising drives that Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the DCCC chairman, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California begged him to stay for two more years after the success of the 2012 election.

"Obviously, it’s not normal to be the guy that’s on year eight at a party committee," English, who heads an 11-person digital team, told Politico. "It’s usually you do your two years and you go."

Faiz Shakir, digital director of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, told Politico that English has "been able to evolve and adapt their email strategy to capitalize on the zeitgeist of the moment."

English estimates that one-third of the people who read the DCCC emails do so on a mobile phone, so he makes certain that no messages are longer than 70 words before the first donation link.

"We know we have to get to the point quick," he said. "I’m very incredibly nit-picky about every single word in our emails. Any extra words, extra sentences, unnecessary anything can just kill an email."

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