Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren's (Mass.) presidential campaign is already struggling because of its decision to jettison wealthy donors.
The New York Times on Sunday reported that Warren's finance director, Michael Pratt, was leaving the campaign because he was hamstrung by the candidate's decision to swear-off big money fundraisers during the presidential primary. The decision purportedly came after a "heated" staff meeting on Valentine's Day—less than a week after Warren entered the presidential race.
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At the meeting, "Pratt noted that campaigns often collapse when they run out of money and pleaded with [Warren] not to cut off a significant cash stream," the Times reported. "He pointed out that winning over wealthy fund-raisers across the country helped build networks that could translate into political support, not just checks."
Pratt's argument lost out to that of the campaign's chief of staff, Dan Geldon, and digital strategist, Joe Rospars, who contended that abandoning such donors would help the candidate stand out in the crowded 2020 field. Although Pratt resigned after the meeting, Warren told CNN on Sunday that he was "still a consultant but winding things down."
In late February, Warren announced in a Medium post that her presidential primary campaign would be "run on the principle of equal access."
"That means no fancy receptions or big money fundraisers only with people who can write the big checks," the post reads. "When I thank the people giving to my campaign, it will not be based on the size of their donation. It means that wealthy donors won't be able to purchase better seats or one-on-one time with me at our events. And it means I won't be doing ‘call time,' which is when candidates take hours to call wealthy donors to ask for their support. As a candidate for president, the expectation is you make hours of these calls a week and attend dozens of these exclusive events every quarter."
No other candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has taken such a pledge. To date, it is unclear if Pratt's concerns will be proved correct as the first quarter fundraising deadline for presidential candidates has yet to pass. Warren's campaign, however, has remained silent in recent weeks over how much her campaign has already raised. The silence stands in stark contrast to other 2020 Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, who have touted their fundraising hauls as proof of broad grassroots support.