Booker campaign announces six-figure ad buy to qualify for December debate

Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) presidential campaign Tuesday announced a six-figure ad buy as the New Jersey Democrat fights to qualify for next month’s primary debate. 

In a memo to supporters, Booker campaign manager Addisu Demissie said the campaign needs to revamp its efforts to reach the polling threshold for the December event, and it needs to hit four percent in at least four of an estimated dozen qualifying polls before the deadline.

“Cory 2020 isn’t leaving poll qualification up to margins of error or fate,” Demissie wrote. “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.”

“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.” 

To make the December debate, candidates have to amass the support of at least 200,000 unique donors and register support of 4 percent or more in four qualifying polls or 6 percent in two approved early voting state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina. 

Booker hit the fundraising threshold after seeing a spike in donations following his appearance at the November debate, enjoying his best nine hours of fundraising of his campaign after the event since his launch. 

But despite reaching the fundraising threshold, Booker has yet to poll high enough to qualify in any survey. While he’s long been seen as a rising star within the Democratic Party since his tenure as Newark mayor, the New Jersey Democrat has stagnated in the middle tier of most polls and seen his fundraising lag behind that of several of his competitors.

Besides the advertising campaign, the Booker campaign also said it is “reorienting” its efforts in early primary and caucus states to help meet December’s polling 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,” Demissie said.

Being left off the stage could cause Booker’s campaign to further struggles in polling and fundraising. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) dropped out of the race after it became clear she would not make the September debate stage, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) ultimately withdrew from the primary after finding no path toward securing a spot at the October debate.

So far, six candidates have qualified for the December debate: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Bill de Blasio Cory Booker Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Kirsten Gillibrand Pete Buttigieg

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