Cory 2020
To: Interested Parties 
From: Addisu Demissie, Campaign Manager
Date: Friday, August 30, 2019
Re: The September debate field is set, and a new phase of the Democratic primary race is beginning

It’s been a good summer for Cory 2020. 

Since the last debate, we’ve seen steady growth in voter interest in Cory’s unique and long-standing message of unity and healing, reflected by increasing event turnout and an uptick in polling. And even though August is traditionally the worst fundraising month for campaigns, it’s been anything but that. For instance, a seemingly random Thursday earlier this month represented our campaign’s best fundraising day outside of the two debates and our launch day.

And now we’ve reached the end of August. Kids across the country are heading back to school. Pumpkin spice everything has invaded grocery stores and coffee shops. Labor Day is approaching, and along with it, the unofficial end of summer.

Like the changing seasons, the Democratic presidential race is entering a new phase.

The September debate qualifications have effectively narrowed the field to 10 candidates. In just two weeks, these candidates -- including Cory Booker, who qualified for this debate stage more than a month ago -- will travel to Houston for one and only one night of debating. 

With a narrowed field and five months to go until voters begin voting in the 2020 primary season, Cory Booker’s unique and consistent message and “Brick by Brick” organizing strategy put us in a strong position to capitalize on this new landscape and to continue to rise. 


From Emerson to Echelon and pollsters in between, we’ve seen an uptick for Cory in the past several weeks as voters are responding to high-profile moments in the July debate, Cory’s well-received speech on white nationalism at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and his leadership on policy issues like gun licensingbaby bonds, and criminal justice reform

But far more important at this stage of the campaign are underlying fundamentals. Cory’s net favorability numbers continue their steady growth among Democratic voters, and high numbers of Democrats report that they are actively considering supporting Cory.

Beyond public polling, on-the-ground anecdotal evidence also points to growth for our campaign.

Cory keeps turning in impressivebuzz-worthy performances at cattle call events, matched up against other 2020 Dems, particularly in early states. 

From sold out grassroots fundraisers to overflowing events across the country, more people are showing up to see Cory and learn more about him. According to a FiveThirtyEight survey, Democratic activists report high levels of interest in Cory as a candidate. And we’ve seen an uptick in endorsements too. 

So it shouldn’t be surprising that observers and experts aren’t asking *if* a Booker breakout will happen, but *when*.

But we’re not seeking to manufacture a fleeting breakout moment five months out from the first ballots being cast and caucuses being conducted. Our strategy since day one of this campaign has been about building -- brick-by-brick -- a campaign to last through the long primary season. 

That season starts in the February early states, where we’ve spent months building our grassroots organization one block, one neighborhood, and one community at a time. After February, the focus of the race will turn to the critical March and April primary and caucus states in which a plurality of delegates will be allocated -- and in which Cory has already laid significant groundwork not just during this campaign, but in previous election cycles.

We’re not saying we’re going to grow by leaps and bounds in the polls next week, or next month. What we’re saying is that we’ve been playing a long game -- and we’ve built a strong foundation for growth that we can capitalize on as more Democratic voters see Cory in action throughout the fall and winter.


Since the day he launched his campaign for president in February, Cory’s been presenting a message distinct from the rest of the Democratic field, arguing that the 2020 election cannot just be about beating Donald Trump. It must be about how we pull together and heal America after years of Trump’s hatred and division. 

We need a president who can repair the damage Trump has done and bring people together to make justice and opportunity real for every American.

This emphasis on American unity and healing is uniquely Cory. And it’s been at the center of his political philosophy his entire career and will continue to be, from his days on the Newark city council and as mayor to his 2016 Democratic National Convention speech, where he declared that America is a “nation of interdependence.”

And it’s at the center of the progress we’ve been making as a campaign over the summer months. In fact, our internal polling shows that Democrats are looking for a presidential nominee who will bring people together and get things done, and prefer that kind of candidate over candidates who want to fight fire with fire. 

So it’s not surprising that one of Cory’s most-noticed debate moments back in July was when he cautioned Democrats against pitting themselves against one another while President Trump actively works to roll back Americans’ access to health care. 

And the driving force behind our growing number of significant endorsements over the summer months -- from the February early primary states to key general election battleground states like Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan -- is, in the words of one Iowa state legislator, Cory’s “passion, honesty, and...commitment to civic grace at a time when we need to be reminded of who we can be as a country.”

With a 20-plus candidate field, it’s hard to stand out. But with a field effectively cut in half, whether on the September debate stage or after, we’ll have more opportunities to bring this message directly to Democratic primary voters and caucusgoers. And the narrowing field makes its easier to convert growing interest and momentum into support.

This opportunity is presenting itself at a time when Cory still has tremendous room for growth -- while Cory is well-known among the media, roughly a third of primary voters still don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. 

With our growing campaign operation and voters more closely paying attention to the race this fall, we’re in a strong position to take advantage and continue our progress.

Because when we we unite around our shared values, we’ll do more than take back the White House -- we will restore our sense of common purpose and enact a bold agenda that will expand opportunity for and extend justice to every American. 

In short, we will rise.
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