President-elect Joe Biden (C) rallies with Democratic candidates for the US Senate Jon Ossoff (L) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (R) the day before their runoff against Republican incumbents, in Atlanta, Georgia. Biden's trip came a day after the release of a recording of an hourlong call where President Donald Trump seems to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to 'find' the votes he would need to reverse the presidential election outcome in the state. Photo: AFP / Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

So here I am, a Georgia expat in Tokyo. Trying to be productive while nervously awaiting the outcome of my home state’s runoff elections, I’ve been busy reading my in-box. Lo and behold, here comes an email from Jon Ossoff, one of the two Democrats who hope to take US Senate seats away from a pair of devoutly Trumpian Republican incumbents.

Hey Bradley, it’s Jon.

I can’t sleep! It’s past midnight here in Georgia, which means it’s officially Election Day – and I have to say, I’m pretty excited. 

Me, too. I’d been trying to predict whether “Start Over Georgia” or “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” would turn out to be the more apropos theme song. I checked the weather report and it’s not “A Rainy Night in Georgia.” The vote tallies in both races are likely to be close, and the Democrats must win not just one but both seats to tip the Senate blue (with the help of the vice president, who votes to break ties). In a zero-sum game it’s hard to imagine any cause for singing “Meet in the middle ‘neath that old Georgia pine.”

Then Jon got to the point of his email:

Will you rush a contribution right now so we can make sure every single eligible voter casts their ballot before the polls close tonight?

Even though he wants money I always appreciate Jon’s messages because, out of all the funding requests from Democrat-connected organizations that clog my inbox, his and maybe one other supplicant’s messages address me by my actual name. The others that fail to do so might threaten me with an identity crisis if I weren’t fairly secure in that department.

As for the others who pitch me, consider Tom at the Democratic National Committee. Tom chimed in earlier today as follows:

Richard, Donald Trump just left the stage in Dalton. With less than 24 hours until Election Day, we cannot leave these races up to chance.

Or consider the Progressive Majority, whose message today began:

Hi Rosemary – Senator Perdue has been lying to the public, and to you, members of the press, for the last year about his financial misconduct.

The thing is, Richard is my brother. (And he’s not a member of the press; I am.) Rosemary is his wife. Expats need home country addresses. My last Georgia mailing address was their home, and their gracious hospitality may start to explain how the fundraisers got us mixed up.

My brother and I get along fine on nonpolitical matters but we are not Facebook friends and thanks to that fact he is able to avoid seeing my postings, which tend to be dismissive of Trump.

Meanwhile, I find it amusing sometimes to examine fundraisers’ techniques for prying cash out of politically minded folks. For example, they tend to suggest low entry-level offerings. See this, sent today by Tom at the Democratic National Committee:

If you’re able, please rush a last-minute $7 donation to the Flip Georgia Fund to help elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Democrats nationwide.

Another typical fundraisers’ device is to say that someone (usually unnamed) is going to match your contribution:

LAST CHANCE: 400%-MATCH IN GEORGIA. SORRY — We’re out of time in Georgia, Susan. We need a final $9,332 to finish strong…. Susan we’re speechless! Joe Biden just rolled out an amazing plan to win the Georgia Senate Runoffs and crush Mitch McConnell. Because the latest polls have Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on the verge of VICTORY! Now we need to raise 500,000 donations before midnight to fund our proven effective Voter Turnout Drive. Thankfully, generous Democrats have agreed to 350%-MATCH all donations until midnight FRIDAY!

Susan is my wife but we don’t share an email address. Beats me why I’m getting mail addressed to her this political season.

Sometimes you gotta wonder who’s behind some of these outfits.

Paid for by Let America Vote. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.


Paid for by Voter Protection Project
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Bad news

A Georgia artist’s montage of Republican campaign literature. Credit: J. Sennette

One highly favored political technique is to scare you with the specter of defeat.

Susan – we’re gonna be sick: We believed with all our hearts that Good Democrats would step up to win in Georgia and end McConnell’s Majority. It’s devastating how wrong we were! Warnock and Ossoff’s leads shrunk to a statistical tie – no one donated! All gifts are 350%-Matched – STILL no one donated! We’ll honestly cry if we fail to hit our strict fundraising goal: 500,000 donations by MIDNIGHT. But sadly that’s what will happen if Good Democrats don’t donate to this email.   Make a 350%-MATCHED donation and we’ll wire it straight to our ELECT OSSOFF AND WARNOCK IN GEORGIA ACCOUNT.

Not to Ossoff’s and Warnock’s accounts. To “our” account. Hmmmm.

Emphasizing how close the race is, just in is this time-tested fundraising pitch – which in the present case appears to reflect reality:

Hi Bradley,

Election Day is finally upon us. The polls open at 7:00 AM — in less than eight hours.

We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Anybody who says they do is lying.

What we do know is this race is going to be extremely close. It’s possible it could come down to a few thousand votes. Or a few dozen votes.

We know Senate control is on the line, with all that entails. We know the ballot box is where we demand Health, Jobs, and Justice.

And we know if we don’t leave it all on the field, if we come up a few votes short, we’ll regret it.

That one’s from Jon Ossoff’s campaign, where they call me by my own name.

Flattery of the donor is another time-tested device. Brady Pac, which in non-election years sticks to lobbying for gun control, likes this approach. “President Obama is B E G G I N G you, Susan” is one of its pitches today.

Another such gambit is to solicit advice on high-level personnel choices from the targeted donor: “Input Needed re: Biden’s Attorney General!”

Bad news often leads off a pitch:

Tumbling in Georgia …. Susan — this is a hard email to write. But Democrats are about to lose our shot at winning in Georgia … and taking back the Senate. Almost no one — seriously, NO ONE — has donated to Boost Voter Turnout and elect Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Donald Trump BLINDSIDED Jon Ossoff and Rev. Warnock

LAST CHANCE HUGE NEWS Susan — we know we’ve been emailing you a lot about the Georgia Senate Runoffs. But Democrats’ ONLY shot to cement control of the Senate is in Georgia. And we’re falling apart. McConnell is about to spend MILLIONS to END our chances. If we do nothing, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff BOTH LOSE. Biden will accomplish NOTHING. We can still turn things around — barely. We need thousands of Democrats to donate before the Runoff Election Day (TOMORROW!!) to fully fund our Emergency Voter Turnout campaign. If we fall short, we’ll be forced to CANCEL everything. These races are done. So we’re boosting your match to 350% to SAVE our chance in Georgia and end McConnell’s Senate Majority. DONATE EVERYTHING you can to Flip The Senate Blue.

Susan we need you …. This is our make or break moment … And we still need $13,896 to finish contacting swing voters in Georgia through our Georgia Voter Contact Program.

If 500,000 real Democrats donate before MIDNIGHT, we’ll hit our ad budget goal and Mitch McConnell’s Senate Majority will CRUMBLE!! So rush a 350%-MATCHED donation to fund our turnout team in Georgia and build a massive Senate Majority.

This is it. Our last chance to flip Georgia blue and take back the Senate. Unelected Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) has failed us, Bradley – and it’s past time we fire her. We have so many challenges facing this state and this nation, and those challenges demand a kind of moral leadership that’s lacking in the halls of Congress. I’m running for Senate to fight for you. To fight for access to quality, affordable health care, voting rights and the dignity of work. But I can’t do it alone. Please, Bradley, this is the last time I’ll ask before Election Day: If you’re with me, will you give $100 or more right now so we can win in Georgia and take back the Senate for Democrats? I need your help by midnight tonight so we can mobilize voters tomorrow.

Then there are appeals to sadism:

McConnell SHAKING with fear [!!]

McConnell EXPLODED after he read THIS: [HE’S OBSESSED >>]

Alarmist threats to give up the struggle are perhaps the final arrow in the quiver of a not-especially-subtle or conscientious fundraiser such as this one who doesn’t know how to spell Raphael Warnock’s first name:

Abandoning Rafael Warnock, Packing up: We thought real Democrats would donate to push him over the finish line and TAKE BACK the Senate! But Susan — we were SO Wrong. NO ONE is donating. Trump’s Republicans are drowning Warnock’s campaign. And we’re almost out of money!!

Well, this election will be diced and sliced in a day or so.

Bradley K. Martin is a former low-level Georgia Democratic Party campaign volunteer who switched to the news business in 1969.