Rep. Joe Kennedy isn’t the only Massachusetts politician seemingly happy to have Beto O’Rourke running for president.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a fellow Democratic primary contender, welcomed the former Texas congressman into the 2020 race — in an email to her supporters.
“As we’re sure you’ve seen, we have another Democrat in the race today. (Welcome, Beto!)” Warren’s campaign wrote in a fundraising email Thursday afternoon, hours after O’Rourke officially announced his campaign.
“More candidates means more people are going to take their time deciding who will get their full support,” the email read. “If you’re with Elizabeth — the woman with the bold, fearless plans to tackle the root causes of the problems we’re facing in America — today is the day you need to make your first donation. So if you want Elizabeth to build a campaign to compete in this race, you’ve got to be in this race with her.”
With their mention of Warren’s “bold, fearless plans,” her campaign seemed to hint at the juxtaposition between the senator’s raft of detailed policy proposals and O’Rourke’s character-driven campaign.
Warren joins California Sen. Kamala Harris, who is also seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, in both welcoming O’Rourke and try to use his campaign launch to boost her own standing.
“As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier,” Harris told MSNBC in an interview Thursday, adding that Democrats have an “embarrassment of riches” in their 2020 primary field.
That said, the California Democrat also fundraised off the increasing crowded field in an email Thursday titled “Beto O’Rourke.”
“We are facing something unprecedented: a record number of Democrats — including a record number of women and people of color — are running for President,” she wrote. “This is greatly encouraging for the future of our country, but there is still a long path ahead of us. I look forward to engaging in substantive debates with each of these candidates, including the newest to join the race today, Beto O’Rourke — and ultimately selecting a Democratic nominee who will take on and beat Donald Trump in November of 2020.”
The attempts to capitalize on O’Rourke’s announcement Thursday aren’t unusual for a high-profile electoral race, in which campaigns look to turn blip events into a boost in donations. Already this year, Warren has fundraised off a controversial Politico story and a briefly removed Facebook ad.
And small contributions could play an especially important role in this Democratic primary, with candidates racing to prove their populist credentials.
In addition to swearing off super PACs donations and self-funding, Warren is the only candidate in the Democratic race thus far to pledge not to participate in any high-dollar fundraising, so she’s highly relying upon small-dollar donors to fuel her 2020 campaign. Her team has acknowledged that they’re “falling short” of fundraising goals — albeit in fundraising emails last month intended to drive donations.
Of course, not every Democratic candidate tried to immediately leverage O’Rourke’s campaign launch for their own means. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has already shown impressive fundraising strength, was also less outwardly welcoming.
“Free country, anybody can run,” Sanders said, with an exasperated frown and a shrug, when asked by a reporter Thursday about O’Rourke.
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) March 15, 2019