Candidates toast 2014 with pleas for cash

House and Senate candidates are scrambling for dollars this New Year’s Eve in order to post impressive fundraising totals when the fourth quarter ends at midnight.

The end of 2013 has brought a flurry of last-minute emails begging, pleading, joking and warning of dire consequences if their supporters don’t kick in that last chunk of money before the end of the year.

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Candidates and committees are even promising to do pushups and threatening to sing pop songs in order to pull money from their would-be supporters' purses.

Posting impressive fundraising numbers can help campaigns get more money in 2014 from big donors and the major committees, who don’t want their money to go to waste on loser campaigns.

The result is candidates competing with one another for attention ahead of a midterm election, when every House seat and a third of the Senate will be up for grabs. There are also 36 gubernatorial races in 2014.

Both sides are using bogeymen to drive donations.

Democrats’ favorites include the Tea Party, “big oil” and the Koch brothers, while Republicans warn of the “Obama-Pelosi machine” and union dollars.

Both sides demonize anonymous “outside money” coming from “special interests” in Washington, D.C.

“Our race is shaping up to be one of the most expensive races in the country again next year. We need your help before midnight — the Koch brothers, Allen West, and a whole host of Tea Party supporters are lining up against Patrick next year,” reads an email from Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D-Fla.) campaign.

“This deadline is vital in our effort to fight against Washington D.C. special interests who will say anything to win in 2014,” writes Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho).

The incumbent has been targeted by outside conservative groups, who Simpson said are unfairly attacking his record.

“We need to have the financial resources necessary to correct their false attacks on my proven conservative record,” he said.

Candidates face a tough task in raising money in December. It’s typically a difficult period to fundraise, as people are more focused on the holidays, their families and perhaps even upcoming credit card bills filled with holiday orders.

That means lawmakers like Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) have to pull out all the stops to get their supporters attention.

“We hit an important fundraising deadline at midnight tonight, and I’m about to tell you exactly why I need your help,” Ribble wrote in a recent fundraising email.

“A group called One Wisconsin Now, a liberal union group, recently mocked my attempts to preserve and protect Social Security. You won’t believe some of the things they’re saying about me just because I believe the government should be beholden to the people, not the other way around,” he writes.

Others take a stab at humor.

“To mark the last day to give before the FEC deadline, I thought it would be fun to send you all a recording of me singing “Final Countdown.” But then I realized no one wants to hear that,” Joe Livoti, the finance director for Rep. Gary Peters’s (D-Mich.) Senate campaign writes before jumping into his fundraising pitch.

“I will do a pushup for every dollar this email raises and I will complete them all before this quarter ends,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) pledges in a Tuesday fundraising email.

A number of campaigns set artificial fundraising goals to hit their marks.

“Tonight’s a big night for us — and I’m not just talking about New Year's Eve. The fundraising deadline is midnight tonight, and we’re still about 300 supporters away from hitting our 7,800 supporters goal,” writes Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D).

“We hate to be so blunt, but we’re still short of our goal and there’s only a few hours left. If we’re going to compete with all the special interests and all the outside cash next year, we have to finish 2013 with a bang,” Montana House candidate John Lewis’s (D) campaign emails.