Biden Hits New York’s Broadway as Fall Fundraising Blitz Begins

President Joe Biden’s reelection team is escalating its fundraising efforts, salting away cash as Republicans battle over whether Donald Trump should be their standard-bearer next year.

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden’s reelection team is escalating its fundraising efforts, salting away cash as Republicans battle over whether Donald Trump should be their standard-bearer next year. 

Biden will headline at least nine fundraisers before month’s end. Starting Wednesday, top campaign leadership and major donors will meet in Chicago for a finance-focused retreat. Vice President Kamala Harris will attend, along with a flank of Biden advisers and allies, including Senators Chris Coons of Biden’s home state of Delaware and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. 

Chicago is the site of the Democratic National Convention next August.

“This is the first real gathering of the leadership team since April, when the president and vice president announced that they were running,” Biden campaign co-chair and Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg said in an interview. “We have a lot to do. It’s going to be a tough race. There’s no free pass here and we all know that.”

Biden won’t be in Chicago, but will take part in a series of events in New York next week, including a Broadway-focused donor event, while he joins other world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.

The blitz of donor meetings is intended to bolster the campaign’s contributions for the three months from July through September, which is traditionally a slow period. Presidential campaigns are required to disclose their third-quarter totals by Oct. 15.

The Biden political operation is expecting to raise at least $43 million, according to a person familiar with the campaign. That’s below the amount it raised in the second quarter, but well ahead of the amount many of Biden’s Republican challengers are raising.

“As was the same case last quarter, we look forward to sharing our numbers by the filing deadline,” said  Kevin Munoz, a campaign spokesman.

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The Chicago gathering, four months from the start of the Republican nomination season, is meant to address what Munoz calls an “extremely competitive” 2024 election race. Sessions will include convention planning, paths to victory, communication with the media and fundraising — including attracting high-dollar donations and keeping up what the campaign says is a strong grassroots operation.

Money Wars

“While Republicans duke it out and fight each other in their divisive primary, the campaign and its supporters need to put in the work to win a general election,” Munoz said.

Since kicking off his campaign in late April, Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $72.7 million for his reelection bid, according to the Federal Election Commission. His haul over the second quarter tops the fundraising of his potential rivals, including the $35 million raised by Trump and the $20 million that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis raised in roughly six weeks after launching his campaign.

Biden can raise money in much larger chunks than Republicans. As an incumbent facing only token opposition in the primaries, he can receive donations for his campaign, the DNC and state parties through the Biden Victory Fund, which can accept checks from individuals for as much as $929,600. 

Republicans vying for the nomination can accept a maximum donation of $3,300 for their primary campaigns, which don’t have joint fundraising agreements with the party. Biden also doesn’t have the burden or expense of running a primary operation, compared to the GOP contenders, some of whom who are spending millions each month.

Donors to the Biden Victory Fund include Choice Hotels International Inc. Chairman Stewart Bainum and his wife Sandra Bainum, an actor, who each gave the maximum $929,600 contribution. ChatGPT maker Open AI’s Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, actor and writer Seth MacFarlane, and fashion designer Michael Kors also donated.

Selling ‘Bidenomics’

A little under 14 months from the general election, Biden is neck-and-neck with Trump in a hypothetical match-up in polls, according to RealClearPolitics averages.

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The White House has struggled to make the president’s legislative successes on the climate, prescription drug prices, infrastructure and semiconductor manufacturing resonate with the public. The series of policy wins, which the administration has branded “Bidenomics”, has come as American households face high prices across the economy, deteriorating housing affordability and the potential for ballooning childcare and student loan costs as pandemic benefits expire at the month’s end. 

At the same time, a resilient labor market and moderating inflation have helped keep the economy growing in defiance of many economists’ forecasts over the past year.

“It’s like planting a redwood seed,” Katzenberg said about public perception of Bidenomics. “It’s sprouted and out of the ground. It just takes time to grow and for people to really see it.”

–With assistance from Reade Pickert.

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