Source: Chicago’s top donors halt 2024 DNC fundraising luncheon after President Joe Biden’s debate performance against Trump

Source: Chicago’s top donors halt 2024 DNC fundraising luncheon after President Joe Biden’s debate performance against Trump

CHICAGO — Organizers of at least one Chicago fundraiser planned for the Democratic National Convention have decided not to go ahead with the mid-August event, according to a source with knowledge of the talks. CNN.

In the immediate aftermath of President Joe Biden’s debate performance, organizers postponed discussions on planning the fundraiser until after the July 4 holiday to allow the dust to settle. This week, the host committee voted not to go ahead with the event, citing disagreement on how to proceed as support for Biden’s candidacy continues to wane.

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Designed as a luncheon for a few dozen wealthy Windy City residents, the event was expected to garner support among the party faithful and wealthy locals as a show of support for the big event being held in their own backyard.

While the luncheon is expected to bring in less than $1 million for the campaign, the mood of the attendees — many of whom have given millions of dollars to Biden’s 2020 campaign and related organizations — serves as a warning sign among some deep blue corners of the donor class.

A spokesperson for the Biden campaign told CNN the event was not associated with its official fundraising program.

Nearly two weeks after Biden’s disastrous debate performance, some Democratic donors continue to warn that their party could lose the White House in November if he remains a candidate and say they are increasingly concerned about Biden’s determined challenge. The president has insisted he will stay in the race, pitching himself to donors this week as the best candidate to beat Donald Trump this fall and expressing frustration at calls from “elites” for him to drop out of the race.

Hollywood screenwriter and producer Damon Lindelof, who recently asked Democratic donors to hold back their donations until Biden resigns, said in an email to CNN on Wednesday that he was “very firm” in his view.

“I think Joe Biden is an excellent president, and I regret that the language within the party has been attack/defend/retreat rather than a thoughtful and comprehensive discussion of where we are and where we need to go,” Lindelof said.

“I think the characterization that ‘elites’ are the only ones who want this conversation ignores the polls and the tens of millions of Americans who have been telling me for some time that they are deeply concerned about our candidate,” he added.

Maggie Kulyk, a Democratic donor who runs a wealth management firm, said the view that Biden should resign is shared by “people I talk to all the time — friends, clients, etc.”

“To one person, they all say the same thing, he should not be at the top of the ticket,” he said in a telephone interview. “Washington politicians or someone with some clout should grow a spine and tell the obvious,” he added, that Biden was dealing with “obvious cognitive issues.”

“It seems ridiculous to me to expect (Biden) to make another big stumble,” Kulyk said. “The debate was the main issue. We saw that.”

Kulyk sits on the board of directors of the Women’s Donors Network but said she does not speak on behalf of the donor group.

SEE ALSO: George Clooney, who hosted Biden’s recent fundraiser, says the president should step aside

News of the canceled fundraiser came just hours after actor and Biden megadonor George Clooney, who is among Biden’s biggest supporters and donors in Hollywood, called on the president to drop out of the race, just weeks after the actor headlined a major fundraiser for the president’s reelection campaign.

Clooney wrote that the Biden he saw at a fundraiser on June 15 that included former President Barack Obama was “not the Joe ‘big f–ing deal’ Biden of 2010.” “He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020.”

“He was the same guy that we all witnessed in the debate,” Clooney added, referring to Biden’s stumbling and disastrous performance in the June 27 presidential debate broadcast on CNN.

Biden’s team currently plans to hold two fundraisers in July in Austin, Denver and California (one in Laguna Beach, the other in Northern California), according to a source familiar with the plans.

Donors in other parts of the country told CNN their events were on hold until Biden’s path became clearer.

John Morgan, a Florida trial attorney and longtime Biden supporter, said he is working with his campaign team to hold a fundraiser in the state, possibly in early September, but that the event is currently “completely up in the air.”

“I’m not even bothering them,” he said of reaching out to campaign officials about the status of the event. “I’m not going to call them because they have bigger things to fry than an event in Florida in September. They need to get past all the naysayers.”

Morgan said he would continue to support Biden and was prepared to hold a fundraiser “only if he’s the nominee.”

“Some of the elite donor class are cutting and running. That’s a huge mistake,” Morgan said.

One longtime Democratic fundraiser said it was too early to tell whether Biden had done enough to address donors’ concerns, but he was pleased that elected officials in Washington had not created a “snowball” effect of calls for Biden to drop out of the race when they returned from the July 4 holiday this week.

However, the person added: “I haven’t made any calls or requests (for donations) in the last week and a half… because some of this needs to wait for it to calm down.”

The Biden campaign, for its part, has argued that it will have the local game and resources to compete effectively this fall, citing a recent outpouring of online funding and the significant infrastructure it has already built in contested states.

The campaign said it raised $38 million in the four days after the debate, including $30 million from grassroots donors. Additionally, Peter Lowy, a former retail executive, gave the maximum donation of $929,600 to Biden’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee on Monday, according to the campaign.

Lowy said in a statement that there was “no doubt that the country will succeed” during Biden’s term in office.

“The economy is strong. Unemployment is near historic lows, more than 15 million jobs have been created, S“The P&P 500 is at a historic high and inflation is now declining,” he said. “Based on all of these facts and my interactions with the President, when he announced his re-election plan, I fully supported it. I supported it then and I support it today.”

CNN’s Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

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