When Joe Biden made a fundraising swing through Democratic donor strongholds in San Francisco, Chicago and New York last month, one city was noticeably absent from the list: Los Angeles.
The buzz in donor and political circles is that an L.A. visit is on hold. What was then a Writers Guild of America strike and, with SAG-AFTRA joining them, is now even more of a hotspot of labor strife.
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Biden has called for writers to get a “fair deal they deserved” and, after the SAG-AFTRA strike was called, the White House made a similar statement, but sources say there are concerns of the president trekking to an event where he would be mired in the politics surrounding the labor impasse, or that he would be seen taking money from studio sources given his pro-union stance.
It’s unclear when Biden ultimately will schedule a Los Angeles visit, and some donors believe that he won’t come until after the strike is resolved.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is serving as campaign co-chair, said earlier this month that plans for a Biden visit were still up in the air, but he declined to comment on the labor unrest.
Hollywood — and Los Angeles in general — is typically at the top of the list for any Democratic presidential contender as they raise campaign cash. Just weeks after Biden announced his 2020 presidential campaign, he was in Los Angeles for a fundraising event at the home of James Costos, a former HBO executive and U.S. Ambassador to Spain, and Michael Smith, the designer.
Even though Biden has yet to visit L.A., he did raise money from a number of entertainment sources, including Katzenberg, who gave $889,600 to the Biden Victory Fund, along with his wife Marilyn, who gave the same amount. Other major donors included figures from both sides of the labor-management divide, including Seth MacFarlane, who gave $100,000, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings, who also gave $100,000. The Biden Victory Fund raises money for the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state committees.
All told, even without an L.A. visit, the Biden campaign and the DNC reported raising a robust $72 million in the initial quarter of the reelection campaign, which was launched in April.
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