Obama’s Post-Election Fundraising: Replenishing a Party

Photograph by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama delivers remarks from the wharf near the PortMiami tunnel project in Miami, Florida on March 29, 2013.

With a quartet of California fundraisers, President Barack Obama will test his ability to replenish his party’s campaign accounts without the threat of his defeat to motivate Democratic donors.

Obama leaves Washington today for a Western trip that is four parts fundraising and one part presidential business. He will begin with an official event in Denver, Colorado to press Congress to pass a bill to address gun violence. Then he heads to the San Francisco area for the fundraisers.

The president will be pressing his contributors to help him win back Democratic control of the House of Representatives in 2014 and shore up the national party’s finances.

He may be met with some donor fatigue.

“Raising money is never easy,” said Bill Burton, a former White House spokesman who is co-founder of Priorities USA, a political action committee that supported Obama in the 2012 election. “But it’s particularly difficult following a general election cycle that started earlier and burned through more money than any other in history.”

The president’s fundraising starts tonight with a reception at Pacific Heights home of Thomas Steyer, the founder of Farallon Capital Management LLC, and his wife, Kat Taylor, at a cost of $5,000 per person, according to a copy of the invitation. That event, with proceeds going to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will be followed by a dinner at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty at a cost $32,400 per seat.

The next day, Obama will raise money for the Democratic National Committee, which had $21.9 million in debt at the end of February, with a $32,400-per-person brunch at the Atherton home of Liz Simmons and Mark Heising, the founder and managing director of Medley Partners, according to a person familiar with the matter. His final event, also in Atherton, is at the home of Levi Strauss heir John Goldman. Tickets there range in price from $1,000 to $20,000.

Obama is expected to raise $1.8 million at the two DNC events, and has committed to total of six fundraising trips before June 30, said the person, who requested anonymity.

The president reactivated his campaign’s donor network last month to raise money for Organizing for Action, a nonprofit advocacy group founded this year by former campaign aides. The events today and tomorrow mark a return to traditional party-building.

“Democrats should be heartened by the fact that even though donors may be a little low on enthusiasm, the president is not,” said Burton.

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