One of the political trends of the summer saw Republican presidential candidates promising gift cards to donors in exchange for $1 donations. Now, some donors are asking: Where’s my cash?
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson offered donors gift cards in exchange for a $1 donation — promotions aimed at helping them accumulate unique individual donors, one metric the Republican National Committee is using to decide which candidates qualify for their debates.
There’s no public list of those who took advantage of these promotions, but three Suarez donors, who spoke with NBC News and provided receipts confirming their donations, said they were still waiting for their gift weeks after the mayor ended his presidential bid. One of them also gave to candidate Perry Johnson in return for the promise of a $10 gift card, which has not yet arrived. A fourth Suarez donor wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal complaining about his missing card.
Meanwhile, all of those who gave to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — who started off the political gift card craze this summer with his $20 giveaway promotion — said they had already received their prize.
Linwood McLaughlin, a 22-year-old student, showed a receipt for a $1 donation July 28, days after Suarez announced his “Bidenomics Relief Card” giveaway for a $20 gift card. McLaughlin said he sent multiple emails to the campaign contact provided to him through the donation processing firm he used, but did not hear back.
McLaughlin added that while he personally supports former President Donald Trump in the primary, he doesn’t have anything against Suarez. That said, he wouldn’t have donated to Suarez but for the gift card giveaway the campaign was advertising.
Vicki Alfano, a 43-year-old from Pennsylvania, also provided a screenshot showing she donated to both Suarez and Johnson, who held a similar promotion giving donors gas gift cards. Alfano, a Democrat, who said she donated because she wanted the gift cards, said she hasn’t received one from either candidate.
Benjamin Rothove, an 18-year-old Wisconsin student who supports Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP primary, said that while he received gift cards from Burgum and Johnson, he’s yet to receive one from Suarez.
And Sanford D. Horn from Westfield, Indiana, wrote in a letter to The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board that he donated to two Republicans offering these giveaways — Suarez and Burgum.
“Mr. Burgum delivered on the gift card. Mr. Suarez, on the other hand? Crickets. I hope his constituents remember this when they are asked to contribute to his next campaign,” he wrote.
Other donors, including some who publicly complained on social media, say they ultimately received their gift card (or confirmation that one would be on its way soon). That includes Keith Malinak, an executive producer with the conservative media site The Blaze, who posted on social media about his frustration with Suarez last month but said last week that he received word the money was on its way.
And posts on web forums devoted to internet deals show a mixed bag too, with some complaints about not receiving the cards and other users saying theirs eventually came.
Suarez’ campaign and his mayoral office did not return requests for comment. A Johnson spokesperson also did not respond to a request for comment.
Lance Trover, a Burgum spokesperson, said that the campaign believes that almost every donor it was able to contact has received a gift card.
“The campaign has sent several notices to all those who donated during our gift card promotion. Nearly all those contacted have responded and received their gift card,” he said.
“If someone who donated hasn’t received their Biden relief card, all they need to do is respond to the email asking how they’d prefer to receive their card,” Trover added.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com