Joe Biden is enlisting his old boss Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s all-time biggest fundraiser, to convince grassroots donors to open their wallets.
Obama will headline a virtual fundraiser on June 23 for his former vice president, with the price of admission set at just $15. The former president raised a record $745 million for his campaign committee in 2008.
The event will be Obama’s first fundraiser for Biden, who he endorsed in April after Bernie Sanders withdrew from the presidential race leaving Biden unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
“This is a critical moment in our history — and we need Americans of all backgrounds and political stripes to join together and fight to create a more just, more generous, more democratic America where everybody has a fair shot at opportunity,” Obama said in an appeal announcing the fundraiser sent out by the Biden campaign. “That’s why I am so excited to be joining my friend Joe Biden to talk about his vision for the country.”
Obama pioneered small-dollar donor fundraising in both of his runs for the White House, and Biden will no doubt be hoping he hasn’t lost his touch with the grassroots. The top ask for the event is just $1,000, according to a donation form his campaign set up. The invitation says most donors are giving $25.
Biden’s campaign has generally had higher asks when his low-overhead fundraisers have included prominent Democratic politicians. A fundraiser Monday with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had a top ask of $100,000, and netted $6 million. Donors could join the event as little as $250. Biden’s campaign raised $3.5 million last week in an online fundraiser featuring Senator Kamala Harris that had a ticket price range of $500 to $100,000.
The campaign has also used its virtual fundraisers to reach out to small-dollar donors. A May 22 event with Biden and former rival Pete Buttigieg drew 36,000 people from all over the U.S. and raised more than $1 million, with an average contribution of $26. Obama’s appeal is likely to be much wider.
Biden’s fundraising surged in May, when his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and allied fundraising vehicles took in $80.8 million, a record haul for the candidate. Half of the donors that month gave for the first time. The totals also include the first full month of fundraising by Biden Victory Fund, which can now accept contributions of up to $620,800 from individuals. The money is split between Biden’s campaign, the DNC and 26 state parties.
Biden still trails President Donald Trump in fundraising, but is gaining ground. Through April, Trump had raised $742 million, more than twice as much as Biden and the DNC. Biden’s committees ended that month with $103 million in the bank compared with $255 million for Trump. Biden’s campaign did not release his total cash on hand, and Trump has not released any information on his May numbers.
Campaigns and the parties report their May numbers in full to the Federal Election Commission on June 20.
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