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Joe Biden to hold first high-dollar fundraiser, featuring Gov. Gavin Newsom

Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom will take part in a virtual fundraiser for Biden on Friday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom will take part in a virtual fundraiser for Biden on Friday.
(Associated Press)

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will hold his first high-dollar fundraiser Friday, a virtual gathering featuring California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Donors are being asked to contribute up to $100,000 to a joint fundraising committee that comprises Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It’s the first fundraiser for the joint committee, a fundraising mechanism that could help Biden narrow the enormous financial edge President Trump has in the 2020 race.

“This will be the kickoff event for the Biden Victory Fund and we are excited that California gets to take the lead,” the invitation says. “Please join us to support Vice President Biden and ensure we win back the White House in November!”

As the incumbent, Trump has been able to raise money jointly with the Republican National Committee since he took office. The president’s reelection campaign and the RNC have raised more than $677 million through March 30, according to the Federal Election Commission.

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In contrast, Biden raised $135 million and spent $108 million through March 30 as he battled in the Democratic nominating primary.

Until now, Biden was raising money at the federal maximum of $5,600 per donor. But now that he is the presumptive nominee and has formed a joint fundraising committee with the DNC, the former vice president can accept six-figure checks.

Donors who contribute or raise $100,000 will be co-chairs of the event, with several lower-priced tiers of tickets, according to the invitation.

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In a normal campaign year, such a fundraiser would be a posh affair, possibly a sit-down dinner catered by a celebrity chef at the mansion of a Hollywood A-lister or business chief. The top donors would be given access to an intimate reception, and the candidate would pose for pictures with them.

But because of the coronavirus, little about this campaign is normal. Friday’s fundraiser will take place online. A conversation between Biden and Newsom will be moderated by David Plouffe, who was then-Sen. Barack Obama and Biden’s campaign manager in the 2008 race.

Newsom’s apparent backing of the presumptive nominee is not surprising. But the governor, who has been consumed fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, has yet to formally endorse the former vice president.

The governor, who has seen his national profile grow during the coronavirus crisis, had endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris in the Democratic nominating contest before she dropped out. Newsom declined to endorse another candidate before the California primary in early March, though his wife backed Sen. Elizabeth Warren. As recently as mid-April, after Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign and Biden became the presumptive nominee, Newsom demurred when asked during a coronavirus briefing if he would endorse him.

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“You’ve just reminded me of politics,” Newsom said, according to Politico. “Candidly, I’ve been so focused on COVID-19, I haven’t been asked.”

On Sunday, Biden stepped closer to officially clinching the nomination, winning the Kansas primary with 77% of the vote and 29 delegates. Biden now has 1,435 delegates, and will likely reach the 1,991 he needs to officially win the nomination in June, according to the Associated Press. Though Sanders has ended his campaign, he is continuing to appear on ballots in an attempt to win delegates and influence the party’s platform and rules at the party’s convention in August.


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