Hank Aaron — baseball’s all-time, non-steroid-enhanced home run king — dashed off an urgent request Friday on behalf of his neighbor, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.
Never mind that the 2014 election is more than a year and a half away and no credible opponent has emerged to challenge Frankel in her Democrat-tilted district. With the first quarter of 2013 ending on Sunday night, Frankel and a host of other candidates from both parties wanted to be able to report impressive contribution figures to establish credibility and give pause to potential rivals.
Checks had to be collected by midnight Sunday. Federal Election Commission reports must by filed by April 15.
“Lois is facing a big deadline,” said an email to Frankel supporters from Aaron, who owns a house near Frankel’s in the President Country Club and has helped her on previous campaigns. “Lois is going to have to close the books on the first financial quarter of 2013.”
Supporters of the other rookie in Palm Beach County’s congressional delegation – Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter — were also peppered with end-of-quarter solicitations last week.
Murphy turned 30 on Saturday. What better way to celebrate with the House’s youngest member, his campaign asked, than to send him a campaign check for 2014?
“Let’s show Patrick we have his back — help wish Patrick a happy birthday by giving him a gift before tomorrow,” said a Friday email from the Murphy campaign.
Murphy won a squeaker over Republican Allen West last year and is expected to be a top target of the GOP next year, although Republicans haven’t fielded a candidate so far. Running against conservative lightning rod West allowed Murphy, a political unknown making his first bid for office, to raise money nationally and collect an impressive $4.7 million for his 2012 campaign.
West has nixed the idea of running again in 2014, but that hasn’t stopped the Murphy campaign from invoking West’s name to raise money. Noting that West has formed a PAC to help conservative candidates, the Murphy campaign said in another email last week: “Knowing Allen West is back means we will once again have to fight against his millions even if it is not his name on the ballot.”
West sent out a fundraising appeal on Saturday for his Guardian PAC, citing Murphy’s email statement as evidence that “my former opponent and his liberal allies would love nothing more than to see us fail and for the conservative movement to go down with us.”
West told supporters that his PAC needs to make a strong first-quarter statement.
“Trust me when I tell you — the radical left will use the numbers we report as a benchmark for the strength of the conservative movement,” West’s email said. “We’ve set a goal to raise $250,000 before midnight on Sunday, but Sunday is Easter. Like you, I plan to attend church and spend the day with my family. That’s why I’m urgently asking for your support right now.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also acknowledged the Jewish and Christian holy season as he urged his supporters to send money by Sunday night.
“I hope you are enjoying this Passover and Easter week,” said a campaign email from Deutch. “It’s hard to believe, but as the week ends we will reach the first campaign deadline of 2013, and it is my goal to show significant strength in my re-election campaign from supporters and friends like you.”
Even politicians who aren’t running in 2014 were asking their supporters to open their checkbooks.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who just got re-elected to a new six-year term, made an end-of-quarter appeal last week on behalf of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who can expect a re-election battle in 2014.
“Mary’s re-election campaign needs to hit the ground running,” Nelson said in an email.
For Tallahassee-based Democratic strategist Steve Schale, all the early fundraising appeals were a little too much.
On his Twitter account, Schale wrote: “Seriously candidates and committees sending $$$$ emails, I know the Q is closing, but it’s Holy Week and 19mos to EDay. Please stop.”