The Washington Post

Michele Bachmann’s formidable fundraising operation

Michele Bachmann (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

And another group — the unfortunate folks, including non-battleground state residents — deluged by e-mails from the candidates incessantly badgering them for money — will be able to log on in peace.

All lawmakers in competitive races have been clogging America’s in-boxes, begging for cash. One of our favorites was former presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), whose fundraising machine, though much like many others, might have been one of the most persistent. And she wouldn’t be ignored.

Bachmann’s in a competitive race this year, though she’s favored to win. (The Washington Post has it “Leans Republican.”) Still, she only got 53 percent of the vote in 2010 — and that was without President Obama at the top of the ticket. So here’s how she’s raised huge amounts of cash to hold on to her seat.

A July 16 e-mail said she knew “our time was extremely valuable,” so she wanted “$25, $50, $100 or more” to defeat her opponent, wealthy businessman Jim Graves and “fight leftist Democrats like Nancy Pelosi.”

Two days later she e-mailed that she was “very concerned you haven’t responded” to that e-mail.

On Aug. 17 we got an e-mail noting a headline that morning raising a frightening possibility: “Could Bachmann lose?”

“The answer,” she said, “is without your immediate support, yes.” So she wanted another $25, $50, $100 or more.

On Sept. 25, we got a “Confidential Campaign Update,” since she said we were “one of my best supporters.”

Then outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) showed up in Minnesota on Oct. 3, sparking another request for money. The next day, came another e-mail: “As I wrote you yesterday. . .”

The Oct. 24 e-mail asked for a more modest “contribution of $25, $50 or even $100?” Not more than that.

The next day she seemed a bit anxious: “Please — if you can — stop what you are doing right now” and listen to her recorded message.

The day after that she e-mailed that “I sent you the below e-mail yesterday, and I’m concerned that I haven’t heard back from you.”

On Oct. 31, she sent another request. The next day her campaign manager leaned on us. Hey, he said, ”Michele hasn’t heard back from you and she asked me to follow up this morning.”

No more wishy, washy. “Your $50 contribution today is desperately needed,” he wrote. “Click here to make a secure donation right now!

Blind panic set in on Saturday.

“NO TIME TO EXPLAIN,” she said.


“I need your support right away!! Please go to my website. . . and make an immediate donation.”

And she REALLY needs it. After all, Bachmann has raised just $13 million this cycle, making her the second-wealthiest House candidate.

So would a donation end the e-mails? Not likely. In fact, donations just egg them on. Remember that for 2014.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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