U.S. President Joe Biden is embarking on a string of political fundraisers through the end of June to bolster the initial stages of his 2024 reelection campaign.
Biden is raising money at four events this week in the heavily Democratic West Coast city of San Francisco, long a fount of campaign cash for the party’s national leaders. In all, the president is planning 20 fundraisers over the next two weeks, about half of which he is hosting, while first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, are speaking at the remaining events.
Biden announced his reelection effort in April but has had relatively few overtly political events since then, although he continues to regularly fly from Washington to key political battlegrounds around the country to promote new spending for infrastructure, the manufacture of computer chips and climate control that Congress approved during the first two years of his presidency.
In addition to the San Francisco events, Biden is also planning to appear at fundraisers in New York, Maryland and Illinois, all Democratic strongholds. Key worker unions endorsed Biden over the weekend in the eastern state of Pennsylvania, a traditional political battleground.
"There's a lot we've done," Biden said last week. "We just got to let many people know we've done it and be straight with people. Just be as straight as we can."
The timing of the fundraisers coincides with the end of the second quarter of the year, a deadline when U.S. politicians are required to report the amount of money they have raised and disclose a list of major donors.
Biden, who has only limited opposition in seeking a second four-year term in the White House, is trying to build political momentum while 10 or more opposition Republican presidential candidates are in the earliest stages of their campaigns for the party’s nomination to oppose Biden in the November 2024 election.
Republicans are planning their first debate in August, but it is an open question how many candidates will be allowed to participate, with all the candidates facing minimal polling and fundraising requirements imposed by the national Republican Party to qualify to be on the debate stage.
Former President Donald Trump, according to national polling, is easily the Republican front-runner for the 2024 nomination, 30 percentage points or so ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and with an even bigger lead over an array of other candidates polling at 5% or less.
Among those opposing Trump are his vice president, Mike Pence, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott and former governors Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson.
Despite his polling lead among Republicans, Trump’s run to reclaim the White House that he lost to Biden in the 2020 election is complicated by two criminal indictments he is facing, state charges in New York linked to a $130,000 hush money payment in 2016 to an adult film star and federal charges related to his handling of classified documents as he left office in 2021.
In addition, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is continuing to investigate Trump’s effort to upend his 2020 election loss, while a state prosecutor in the southern state of Georgia is probing Trump’s effort to reverse his loss there.
Some material in this report came from The Associated Press.