UPDATE, 2:45 PM: Pete Buttigieg may be the Democrat running for President soaking up the L.A. spotlight today but the South Bend, Indiana Mayor is going to have to get a fundraising move on if he wants to catch up with Joe Biden.
The former Vice-President’s big bucks get-together in former Ambassador to Spain and ex-HBO executive James Costos and his partner and ex-White House interior designer Michael Smith’s Beverly Hills home last night pulled in over $750,000 and counting, a knowledgeable source confirms.
With a fundraiser earlier on May 8 and one earlier today, that’s a big reward for once Hollywood regular Biden’s first ATM visit since formally announcing his third bid for the White House on April 25.
Leading in the dough and in the polls, Biden’s success may be a spurt out of the gate or a long term problem for the more than 20 other Dems in the race to replace Donald Trump to be able to get their hands on serious Tinseltown cash.
In pursuit, Mayor Pete, the gay, religious, Afghanistan war veteran and Rhodes Scholar, is in L.A. Thursday. Buttigieg started off at a union rally in support of a LAUSD ballot measure ahead of the June 4 elections here, followed by a “grassroots” event in the afternoon.
With a Ryan Murphy co-host cash grab set for June 19, today will conclude for Mayor Peter with a fundraiser at the home of Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband-producer Brad Falchuk. Among the guests expected to that event are West Wing and Handmaid’s Tale alum Bradley Whitford. Co-hosts of last night’s Biden shindig, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg are tonight co-hosting an earlier Bev Hills fundraiser for Buttigieg
It will likely not include a bucket full of cash to the sum of over $750,000 – even with all that Goop cash hang around.
PREVIOUSLY, MAY 8 PM: Just over a month after Donald Trump was in town for a pricey Beverly Hills fundraiser, Joe Biden tonight told a deep-pocketed Hollywood crowd in the same neighborhood that the time for change is here.
“I promise you if we elect a Democrat this time — I predict to you whether it’s me or someone else – but I guarantee you if it’s me, what’s gonna happen is, we’re going to see this country come together like it hasn’t in a long time,” the ex-Vice-President said at the $2,500 to $10,000 a ticket event at the home of Barack Obama’s former Ambassador to Spain and ex-HBO executive James Costos and his partner and ex-White House interior designer Michael Smith.
In his third bid for the Oval Office, tonight’s function was the first Tinseltown fundraiser for Biden, who was a frequent visitor to the Hollywood ATM when he was Obama’s second-in-command and for last year’s midterms.
Hitting the unity theme hard and the current President harder by inference in front of a 300-strong audience that included co-hosts Jeffrey Katzenberg, ICM Partners’ Chris Silbermann, CAA’s Craig Gering, Rob Reiner and spouse Michelle, plus mogul Byron Allen, former California Senator Barbra Boxer, Legion’s Aubrey Plaza, Sony’s Eric Paquette and his screenwriter spouse Jessica Postigo, Tom Ford, UTA Communications boss Seth Oster and ex-William Morris CEO Jim Wiatt, Oval Office hopeful Biden swore the Trump administration was an aberration in American history.
“Because people are tired, they’re sick and tired of what’s happening,” the candidate declared. “Let’s lift our heads up. Again, not a joke, remember who the hell we are. And let’s go take it back.”
With a scattering of protestors outside chanting against Richard Blum, fundraiser co-host, investment banker and husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the outside shindig at Costos and Smith’s saw the duo introduce Biden to the small stage that had been set up with American flags on it. Throwing West Coast red meat to the assembled, Costos announced that two of the reasons he was backing his old boss’ right hand man was that Biden was an early supporter of marriage equity and the protection of intellectual property, the latter a major bottom line issue for Hollywood.
In his approximately 20-minute speech, Biden touched on a number of topics, such as working to help the middle class, that have been a common theme for him the past several months and more so since he jumped into the field of more than 20 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination in late April. Currently the frontrunner, the ex-Veep revealed that a dozen of those at Costos and Smith’s on Wednesday night had urged him to take on Trump.
“You don’t have a choice: run,” Biden recounted being told, “this is not about you.” The seasoned and self-deprecating politician added to laughs that he responded to the “run Joe run” conversations with a “Thank you very much.”
Biden also said, as he has repeatedly of late, that the racist display and fatal violence he saw in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, pushed him to get off the bench and enter the race for the Presidency.
Less than a year before the potentially important California primary, Biden will be followed in parachutes int L.A. in the next few weeks by fellow Democrats Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Cali’s junior Senator Kamala Harris and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker with their hats in hand looking for cash.