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On Christmas Eve, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign’s wisest innovators put on a competition: whoever gives donates the smallest amount of money wins.
The Buttigieg campaign sent an email to supporters on Dec. 24, asking them to give money — but as little as possible. Subject-lined, “An end-of-year guessing game with Pete’s Innovation Team,” the email told Pete’s supporters how the competition works: donate the smallest, unique amount, and you win. If two donors give exactly a buck, they both “lose.” If only one person gives exactly $.37, they “win.”
The email did not say what the prize would be.
Per Pete’s “innovation team,” the reason that they’re putting on this competition is because they just love data. “You might not be shocked to learn that we have more than a few numbers geeks in the group,” the email reads. A bunch of tiny donations, however, could bring down Buttigieg’s average donation figures.
Conveniently, the email went out just a few days before the end of the year, when the campaign will have to send its donation numbers to the Federal Election Commission. Other candidates have made a big deal about their average donation stats: Sen. Bernie Sanders raked in $25 million in the third quarter of 2019 with an average donation of just $18. Buttigieg raised $19.1 million, with an average donation of around $40.
After the email went out, Sanders’ campaign took notice.
At last week’s debate, the South Bend mayor took flak from competitors for the 2020 nomination for hosting a ritzy, closed-door fundraiser with billionaires in a “wine cave” in Napa Valley, California. Craig and Kathryn Hall, owners of said wine cave, told the Associated Press that they felt maligned, and that it was misleading for Sen. Elizabeth Warren to say that they sell $900 bottles of wine when their most expensive bottle only costs about $350 (though they do sell a very big bottle of wine for about $900).
And one of the mayor’s top fundraisers reportedly dangled influence as a reward for a big donation in a recent email soliciting cash, according to Axios.
In case you were concerned, you’re allowed to give as many tiny donations as you’d like without being disqualified from these sweepstakes.
“Multiple donations are allowed,” the email reads. “Just be creative, pick a unique donation amount, and you could win.”
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a town hall event with Asian American and Pacific Islander voters Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)