Biden December fundraising blitz stars James Taylor, Spielberg

By Nandita Bose and Jarrett Renshaw

BOSTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden kicked off a December fundraising blitz on Tuesday that will show off the Democratic Party’s star power while raising millions of dollars, according to invitations reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the planning.

The sprint includes at least nine fundraisers before the end of the month starting on Tuesday in Boston, where Biden held three events, capped with an evening concert by singer-songwriter James Taylor.

Biden was expected to raise over $15 million during the coming five days through the events, according to a person with knowledge of fundraising efforts.

Biden used the early fundraiser to target his expected rival, Donald Trump, who is well ahead of a shrinking field of potential Republican nominees. He seized on reports that Trump plans to use his presidency to go after political opponents.

“I don’t think anyone doubts our democracy is at risk again,” Biden said.

On Friday, Biden heads to California for a two-day stop, where he will tap the deep pockets of Hollywood stars such as directors Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner, two sources familiar with the planning told Reuters.

Friday’s Los Angeles event is also expected to draw wealthy donors from the legal, technology and political worlds to the home of Michael Smith, a celebrity interior designer, and his partner James Costos, a former HBO executive who was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Spain, the sources said.

Musician Lenny Kravitz is slated to perform at the event, the sources said.

Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, former Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, and former ambassador Robert Tuttle will attend, sources said.

“We’re putting in the work across our fundraising program and look forward to again outperforming the MAGA field,” Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz said.

Next week, Biden will raise money in Pennsylvania and Maryland with the states’ Democratic governors Josh Shapiro and Wes Moore.

Vice President Kamala Harris and campaign surrogates, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Senator Alex Padilla of California, as well as Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez, also will headline fundraisers in December.

Biden will need a sizable war chest to compete in a general election that could feature a rematch with his predecessor former President Donald Trump. Recent polling has shown the GOP frontrunner leading Biden in hypothetical matchups in key swing states and on the national level.

However, Republican donors are currently divided ahead of the party’s primaries, with billionaire Charles Koch’s political group backing Nikki Haley, casino billionaire Miriam Adelson waiting for a primary winner to emerge, and Super PACs backing Trump spending millions to attack other Republicans.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic Party raised significant hauls in the two quarters since Biden announced his reelection bid in April of 2023, bringing in $72 million in the second quarter of the year and $71 million in the third.

That outpaced Trump and the rest of the Republican primary field in the same periods. The president’s political operation, along with the Democratic National Committee, ended the last quarter with $91 million in cash on hand.

Hollywood and the entertainment industry overall lean Democratic, at least when it comes to fundraising, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks campaign contributions. In 2020, the entertainment industry provided $163.6 million in campaign donations, with 88% going to Democrats.

(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw and Nandita Bose; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons and Bill Berkrot)