Announcing her campaign will shun the tradition of "fancy receptions," endless phone calls, and "big money fundraisers" with deep-pocketed donors "who can write big checks," Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday—inspired by the courageous activism of Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who in her late eighties walked thousands of miles against the corrupting influence of big money in politics—told supporters that she will walk a path focused on small donors as she pursues the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
"For every time you see a presidential candidate talking with voters at a town hall, rally, or local diner, those same candidates are spending three or four or five times as long with wealthy donors—on the phone, or in conference rooms at hedge fund offices, or at fancy receptions and intimate dinners—all behind closed doors," Warren wrote in an email to supporters early on Monday. "When I thank the people giving to my campaign, it will not be based on the size of their donation."
I’ve already said that I'll run my campaign differently – no Washington lobbyist money, no dark money, no super PACs. But today, I’m going further. My presidential primary campaign will be run on the principle of equal access for anybody who joins it.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 25, 2019
According to CNN:
Warren's announcement Monday is an implicit challenge to—and perhaps even criticism of—some of her competitors in the Democratic field who have courted big-dollar donors and bundlers.
The Warren campaign has not held a single fundraiser since New Year's Eve when Warren launched her presidential exploratory committee, Warren aides confirmed to CNN.
The time that Warren and her staff can save by skipping glitzy fundraisers and call times with deep-pocketed donors, they say, is time they are devoting to more organizing events, town halls, and calls to grassroots supporters and small-dollar donors. In just under two months, Warren has traveled to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, California, Georgia and Puerto Rico, and has clocked in more than 20 campaign events.
Warren has already disavowed accepting any PAC money and donations from federal lobbyists and has pressured others Democratic candidates to do the same.
On Sunday, Warren teased her announcement before entering a local residence in Laconia, New Hampshire, where the spirited campaign finance reform activist, Granny D, was born.
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"At the age of 88, one of my favorite activists named Granny D walked 10 miles a day for 14 months across the United States. Why? Because she was fighting for campaign finance reform," Warren declares in the video. "I agree with Granny D – we need to get big money out of politics." Watch:
We are going to build a primary campaign based on ideas and principles – not money and access. Tomorrow I’m making a big announcement about how we’re going to do just that. pic.twitter.com/s3AaMrqROa
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 24, 2019
"Not only will I not accept money from PACs or federal lobbyists, but I'm going further than that," said Warren.
"We want to build a campaign built on ideas and on principles in rooms like the kind I'm about to walk into," she added, "full of volunteers and neighbors and enthusiastic Democrats who want to dream big and fight hard."
Granny D, who died in 2010 at the age of 100, spent the last decades of her life committed to fighting big money in politics and demanding meaningful campaign finance reform. As The Nation's John Nichols wrote following her death:
Former President Jimmy Carter hailed Granny D. as "a true patriot" and declared that "our nation has been blessed by her remarkable life."
Haddock's walk made her a national celebrity, who was hailed by presidents and senators. Yet, she did not rest on the laurels. Rather, Granny D. ramped up her activism, spending her 90s as one of the most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq and a passionate advocate for holding former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney to account for the lies that spawned the invasion and occupation.
Granny D. even ran for the U.S. Senate, earning the Democratic nomination as an anti-war challenger to U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire.
Don't mourn her for too long, Nichols said after her death. Like Joe Hill, he said, Haddock would only want people to do one thing: Organize.