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Big money: Biden hits the midterm campaign trail for Democrats

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As the November 8, 2022 vote approaches, US President Joe Biden is crisscrossing the country to raise funds for his party./AFP
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Oct 13, 2022 - 01:14 PM

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden’s approval ratings may be faltering, but his Democratic Party can still count on him for one thing ahead of the crucial midterm elections: money.

As the November 8 vote approaches, the 79-year-old is crisscrossing the country to meet with wealthy supporters to fill the coffers of his party, which hopes to at least maintain its hold on the Senate, one of the two houses in Congress.

Currently in Los Angeles, he heads to another event in southern California on Thursday.

Attendees at the invite-only fundraisers can expect bold, sometimes shocking statements.

On October 6, in the New York apartment of James Murdoch — son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch — Biden warned that the world was at risk of nuclear “Armageddon” for the first time since 1962.

In late August, Biden also accused supporters of his predecessor Donald Trump of embracing “semi-fascism.”

No cameras 

Only a few journalists are allowed into the events, and even then, reporters are only permitted for Biden’s opening remarks, keeping them at a safe distance.

Videos, photos and audio recordings are not allowed.

On September 22, billionaire philanthropists Henry and Marsha Laufer also asked guests to remove their shoes or wear slippers over the soles so as not to damage the floors of their Manhattan apartment. (Biden was allowed to keep his shoes on).

The president — who has developed a lengthy address book in his 40-year political career — is in familiar territory.

At the fundraisers, he speaks about geopolitics, abortion rights and the high cost of inflation to rooms full of finance workers, entrepreneurs and the occasional celebrity.

Rock star Jon Bon Jovi was among the approximately 15 people who came to hear Biden speak at New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s opulent mansion. That event raised $1 million.

A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee said recently that “thanks in large part to engagement” from Biden, who has attended 12 fundraisers since January, the party has raised more than $107 million this year so far.

From millionaires to factory workers

Biden has also increased his visits outside of the party circuit.

Far from the millionaires, he has begun visiting more factories and working-class areas, touting his industrial recovery programs and rolling out a road-tested speech — peppered with colorful anecdotes — about the concerns that everyday Americans discuss “around the kitchen table.”

But not all candidates are rushing to appear alongside Biden, who despite an improvement since the summer is still struggling in approval ratings.

In Ohio, Democratic Senate candidate Tim Ryan has categorically ruled out the president’s participation in his campaign.

Spending on the midterms is already in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and in some key states, it’s a race to see who can raise the most.

In Arizona, billionaire Peter Thiel has bet big on the Republican candidate for Senate.

“The candidate who spends the most usually wins,” according to the NGO Open Secrets, which examines US campaign finances.

“This trend is stronger in the House than the Senate but applies in both chambers.”

Open Secrets said that during the last legislative elections in 2020, nearly 88 percent of the races for the House of Representatives, and just over 71 percent of the Senate races, were won by the candidate with the largest budget.

In 2018, those numbers were more than 88 percent for the House and more than 82 percent for the Senate.

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