Following Newark Mayor Cory Booker's announcement that he was seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2014, the man whose seat he would have to take — senior Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg — sent his third email to supporters in more than six months asking for contributions.
Lautenberg's email, though, focused on the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, asking for support on Democratic gun legislature that would "prevent unfettered access to guns and save lives."
Unlike similar mass emails on gun control policy this week — Sen. Claire McCaskill, for example, sent one Thursday morning — Lautenberg's asks, almost as an aside, for "continued support" at the foot of the email, with a link to his contribution page.
Lautenberg's previous two emails to supporters — one sent in May about Gov. Chris Christie; the other on election day, reminding constituents to vote — did include graphics linking to the Senator's fundraising page.
But politicians are typically careful about mixing tragedy and appeals for dollars.
Lautenberg's fundraising pitch precedes a potential Democratic primary fight in 2014 between Booker and Lautenberg that one senior New Jersey Democrat described as a potential "unpleasant episode" for the state.
Although Lautenberg is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate — and would be 90 years old in 2014 — he has indicated that he will not retire at the end of his term.
Lautenberg's office reacted to Booker's announcement Thursday with a curt statement: "This is not the time for political distractions and the Senator will address politics next year."
A spokesman for the Senator did not respond immediately to a request for comment regarding the fundraising email.
Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ruby Cramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.