Share

Some of Biden’s Upcoming Fund-Raising Events Face New Uncertainty


Some of President Biden’s fund-raising events in the coming weeks are in jeopardy, with one potential Wisconsin event failing to materialize and a Texas event up in the air after his poor debate performance against Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Biden’s fund-raising schedule is often fluid, as the White House and the campaign juggle the complicated logistics of official events with the competing demands of donors and finance operatives. But the aftermath of his debate performance has added an additional layer of uncertainty, with a growing group of major donors calling on Mr. Biden to drop his re-election campaign and make way for a replacement at the top of the ticket.

The Biden campaign had discussed sending Mr. Biden to Wisconsin for a late July fund-raiser, according to three people briefed on the plans. But donors who had committed to giving large sums and attending began withdrawing soon after the debate ended.

The campaign had hoped to raise $1 million from the event, but after the debate, campaign officials reset the event’s goal to $500,000, according to one person involved in arranging it. Even that proved to be more than Wisconsin donors were willing to give to Mr. Biden. Plans for the event are now off.

Another fund-raiser under consideration was to be paired with an official event in mid-July at the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library in Austin, Texas, where Mr. Biden will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, according to two people briefed on the planning.

The fund-raiser was to be hosted by Luci Baines Johnson, the former president’s daughter. But it is unclear whether the event will proceed, according to the people briefed on the planning.

John Morgan, a Florida lawyer who had discussed the possibility of hosting Mr. Biden at a fund-raiser next month or in September, said campaign officials had not confirmed details and that he had not pressed them.

“I don’t think they know the answer,” he wrote in a text message, suggesting that the brewing donor revolt had thrown the campaign’s fund-raising operation into uncharted territory.

The donors who have publicly called for Mr. Biden to step down have emboldened others to follow suit, he said, warning “it can become an avalanche.”

Campaign finance officials met on Friday at a standing meeting, where they discussed the state of the current situation, in which Mr. Biden is facing the prospect of some major donors cutting off support if he remains in the race. Officials made clear in the meeting that they were carrying on and planning to move forward, two people briefed on what took place said.

In a statement, Rufus Gifford, Mr. Biden’s campaign finance chairman, said: “In the last week the president has proven he has a strong message and a strong agenda to run on. We know our supporters will see the determination he has and ensure we have the resources to win in November.”

Noah Mamet, a Biden fund-raiser and a former U.S. ambassador to Argentina, said Mr. Biden’s speech at a rally in Wisconsin on Friday had helped “calm a lot of donors and activists” and underscored the election’s stakes, one of Mr. Biden’s core messages.

“He was energetic and went directly at the critics this week,” Mr. Mamet said. “It was a good event to help turn the page and refocus the discussion back on Trump and the crazy stuff he says on a daily basis.”

A campaign official said they were seeing the strongest start to grass-roots fund-raising to date in the month of July, the period shortly after the debate.

On a list of finalized fund-raisers that was distributed to top donors in recent weeks, Mr. Biden himself was not scheduled to attend an event until one in Denver on July 28, to be hosted by the state’s governor, Jared Polis. Mr. Polis, in a recent meeting that Democratic governors held with Mr. Biden, told Mr. Biden that he had heard an outpouring from people who wanted the president to end his campaign.

Biden surrogates, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, do have fund-raising events scheduled, according to the distributed calendar.

Mr. Biden has been expected to attend two fund-raisers in Northern California this month, although neither have been finalized.

One has been planned in the Oakland area by Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney, two longtime major Democratic donors who are married and who are close with Ms. Harris, according to a person briefed on the event that is still not yet final.

Many Democratic megadonors, on far-flung vacations during the holiday weekend, have been getting increasingly tough with the Biden campaign and ascertaining what leverage they might have, if any.

The billionaire tech investor Ron Conway has been working the phones from his vacation in Europe to encourage his network to push for a change at the top of the ticket, according to two people with knowledge of his activities. In recent days, a memo has been circulating among major Democratic donors and operatives making what its authors, who remain anonymous, call “The Case for Kamala.”

Mr. Biden’s fate has been a topic of discussion on the Fourth of July party circuit. At a private party this holiday weekend in the Hamptons, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, was approached by a major Democratic donor and asked for an update on Mr. Biden’s fortunes. Mr. Schumer said his “lips were sealed,” according to a person who witnessed the interaction.

Mr. Biden has received support from other wealthy donors.

On Friday, Amy Goldman Fowler, one of her party’s biggest donors who has put over $27 million behind Democrats in her lifetime, told The New York Times that she planned to donate $400,000 more to the Biden Victory Fund, bringing her up to the legal maximum.

“I continue to support President Biden’s re-election effort and I am making my maximum contribution to his campaign today,” said Ms. Goldman Fowler, who typically prefers to keep a low profile.

Jacob Bernstein contributed reporting.



Source link