'Make-or-break' fundraising will allow Booker to staff up for Iowa caucuses

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker responds to a question from Zach Stafford, Editor-in-Chief of The Advocate
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker responds to a question from Zach Stafford, Editor-in-Chief of The Advocate, during the LGBTQ Presidential Forum at Sinclair Auditorium on the Coe College campus in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cory Booker plans to staff up in Iowa and open more campaign offices, thanks to a 10-day fundraising blitz that pulled in nearly $2.16 million from more than 46,000 donors.

“This was not an end-of-quarter stunt,” Booker’s campaign manager Addisu Demissie said Tuesday. The campaign met its $1.7 million goal in nine days and passed $2 million on Monday. “This was really a make-or-break moment for our campaign.”

Booker will report more than $6 million raised in the third quarter, which is at least 30 percent more than the previous quarter.

By comparison, the $19 million that Booker’s campaign has raised since the New Jersey senator entered the race is less than the $25 million Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders raised in the third quarter and matches the $19 million South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg pulled in during the past three months.

A decision on how many of the 40 new staff hires will be deployed to Iowa will be made in the next six weeks, Demissie said. Booker has an estimated 50 Iowa campaign workers.

“Our emphasis all along has been out-organizing other campaigns,” he said. “The talent we’ve hired will be the reason why we win in February and beyond.

“We believe very strongly that most voters — and the data bears this out — will make their decisions about who to caucus for as they always do in the last six weeks to two months of this campaign,” Demissie said.


Demissie cited data from a Des Moines Register poll that found Booker is among six candidates under consideration by at least 40 percent of likely caucusgoers. Only 20 percent said they had their minds made up.

“In short, this is a race we can win — if we have the resources we need to steadily grow our campaign and show Democratic voters that Cory is the right candidate for this moral moment in our country’s history,” Demissie said.

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