The memo from Thom Tillis's campaign was blunt, breathless, and stuffed with seemingly sensitive information. Spending was stretched. Ads had already been abandoned in some markets. Money was being redirected.
The 1,000-word dossier went into remarkable detail about what the North Carolina Republican needed in the closing weeks before the election: TV ads in Charlotte ("Add 1,000 gross ratings points"), digital videos ("I'd like to backfill the $250,000 budget"), and spending in Asheville, a town embedded in the Appalachian Mountains near the state's western edge.
"Only one of our allies is engaged in the mountain counties, putting more pressure on our budget there than I had planned," wrote Jordan Shaw, the Senate candidate's campaign manager. "This has long been a bastion of Republican support but the Democrats believe their cynical message of class warfare will works here."
Campaigns rarely want candid memos like this one to go public during a hotly contested Senate race. But the Tillis campaign had anything but secrecy in mind when it issued this missive to a list so public that even Democrats can sign up for it on Tillis's website. Because although Shaw addressed the memo to donors, it is just as easily read as an explicit wish list aimed at the inboxes of outside allies with whom he cannot otherwise legally communicate about strategy.