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Booker warns lack of fundraising could end his 2020 campaign

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's presidential campaign needs to raise at least $1.7 million dollars by the end of the third fundraising quarter, which ends September 30, in order to compete in the latter stages of the Democratic presidential campaign, his top aide warned Saturday.

"The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race and compete to win the nomination," Addisu Demissie, Booker's presidential campaign manager, wrote in a memo sent to staff and supporters.

Demissie acknowledged in the memo that Booker did not enter the presidential race with high name ID and did not transfer "tens of millions" of dollars from other campaign accounts — a knock on candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren, who transferred several million dollars from her Senate re-election campaign into her presidential bid's coffers earlier this year, which is permitted by law.

Demissie also wrote that the campaign needs to expand its organization in the next two months to start solidifying support. His stark warning came as Booker and his team were set to gather Saturday in rainy Des Moines Iowa for the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry, an event designed to showcase the organizational mettle of the remaining presidential campaigns.

"We need to maximize support from our current donor base, and we need to seal the deal with supporters who like Cory but have been waiting to contribute because of an assumption that they can wait until later," he wrote.

Democratic Presidential Candidates Attend Iowa LGBTQ Forum
Senator Cory Booker speaks at an LGBTQ presidential forum on September 20, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Getty

Campaigns frequently send out end-of-quarter fundraising emails to hit their quarterly goals, but Demissie acknowledged that this end of quarter fundraising push is different.

"I want to be clear: This isn't an end-of-quarter stunt or another one of those memos from a campaign trying to spin the press," he wrote. "This is a real, unvarnished look under the hood of our operation at a level of transparency unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns."

Booker weighed in Saturday morning, saying, "It's an unusual move for a campaign like ours to be this transparent, but there can be no courage without vulnerability. I want people to see where we are and understand that we have a pathway to victory, but I can't walk it alone."

Booker's campaign has invested early in ground game organizations in both Iowa and New Hampshire and said Friday night at an LGBTQ presidential forum in Iowa that the campaign's strategy from day one is to "win Iowa."

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