On Wednesday, Biden, his wife, Jill, senior adviser Anita Dunn and campaign manager Greg Schultz joined a call to rally major donors to Biden’s campaign. Dunn, who recently assumed a larger role on the campaign, urged the donors to remember that “this is the beginning, not the end, of the primary process” and discussed how the former vice president will be at a greater advantage in the increasingly diverse states of South Carolina and Nevada, according to two people on the call.
The campaign also pledged to put the vice president and surrogates on television to push Biden’s message nationally, starting with an appearance Thursday on “The View.”
“Obviously it’s always better to win. But I think they’ve got a good plan going forward. And from my perspective I’m going to support the candidate that’s strongest,” said Denise Bauer, a Biden fundraiser who was formerly U.S. ambassador to Belgium. “We just keep having the conversation with people” about Biden and his strengths in the race, Bauer said.
Biden will link up with donors again on Thursday night. Nearly 40 hosts, many of them first-time bundlers for his campaign, are set to host a pair of major fundraisers in New York City. Among them are heavyweight financiers Blair Effron and Marc Lasry, former Ambassador Jane Hartley, real estate executive Barry Gosin, and former National Economic Council director Jeffrey Zients.
Attendees have pledged a total of $750,000 ahead of the events, according to a person with knowledge of the planning.
Biden allies hope the Thursday fundraisers in Manhattan will help show that he has not been abandoned by the donor class. More than any other remaining candidate in the race, Biden is reliant on major contributors for campaign cash. Pete Buttigieg, who has consistently outraised Biden, has more than a dozen big-money fundraisers scheduled before Super Tuesday.
Biden’s poor showing in the early states has shaken some of his donors. Thursday’s events may be successful, but they were planned weeks before his performance in Iowa and New Hampshire, one Biden donor said.
The big question, the donor said, is, “Where does the next fundraiser come from?” — in other words, will givers still be there if Biden continues to underperform.
Though Biden still has time to recover, said Steve Westly, a Biden fundraiser and former state controller of California, it needs to happen soon, especially if he wants to keep raising money.
“Biden has not done as well as we’d hoped, so fundraising is tougher. I think a lot of people are waiting to see how things shake out,” said Westly.
During a later conference call with reporters Wednesday, Richmond pledged the campaign is “going to fight hard in Nevada, we’re going to fight hard in South Carolina. More importantly we’re going to make the case that voters know Joe.”
The campaign hopes that South Carolina will be a springboard into the March 3 Super Tuesday run of states, some of which have heavy African American and Latino electorates.
Super Tuesday also marks a new phase of the campaign when Bloomberg, who skipped the first four early states, will be competing on the strength of an ad campaign that could reach $300 million by the March 3 election.
Bloomberg’s reason for unexpectedly announcing his bid in November was rooted in his campaign’s belief that Biden’s support would fall apart. Biden’s campaign initially dismissed Bloomberg as a serious threat but has started to change its posture after Biden lost two elections while some endorsers began flipping their support from the former vice president to the former New York mayor.
Asked how he would compete against Bloomberg in Super Tuesday states when the former New York mayor is already investing in millions of dollars in TV ads and in a ground game, Garcetti downplayed the threat.
“Joe Biden doesn’t have to spend money to introduce himself to voters, other candidates do,” Garcetti said.