Joe Biden’s most successful high-dollar fundraiser yet featured Elizabeth Warren, his former primary competitor who railed against big-money events and refused to hold any during her own presidential campaign.
The Monday evening digital event on Zoom that set the record raised more than $6 million and drew 620 people, according to the Biden campaign and event organizers.
“There has been such high interest in this event that it was actually oversubscribed. In fact, initially, it sold out,” said Maya Rupert, a senior adviser for the political organization that grew out of the Massachusetts senator’s presidential campaign called Warren Democrats, told attendees, according to a pool report. “Fortunately, we were able to add more tickets this morning, and as a result of that support and enthusiasm this event hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $6 million for the Biden victory fund, making it the most successful fundraiser they’ve ever had.”
Warren, one of the half-dozen or so top contenders to be Biden’s running mate, refused to host high-dollar fundraisers for her own presidential campaign or actively solicit high-dollar donations. Instead, Warren, 70, took time she would have spent on calling major donors to take photos with supporters at campaign events for hours on end or surprise small-dollar donors with phone calls.
Her presidential campaign ran ads and wrote fundraising pitches based on her pledge that she would not hold big-money fundraisers, and the point was a part of her stump speech. In October, Warren said that she would keep the pledge after the primary if she won the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Either you think democracy works and electing a president is all about going behind closed doors with bazillionaires and corporate executives and lobbyists and scooping up as much money as possible. Or you think it’s about a grassroots, let’s build this from the ground up,” Warren told CBS in October.
Conversely, Biden heavily relied on high-dollar fundraisers throughout the primary race.
During the Monday fundraiser, Biden thanked Warren for making the event so successful.
“Thank you for asking your friends to help me out. It’s the biggest fundraiser we’ve ever had. And it’s all because of you. Thank you,” Biden said.
When asked about his relationship with Warren, Biden and the Massachusetts senator “agreed that Wall Street didn’t build this country,” and he called her a “change-maker.”
“It’s the cause of our time to build a stronger, more resilient middle class, and this time bring everyone along, not leave people behind,” Biden said. “We believe in standing up to the abuse of power,” he added. “And I know I do, and I know she does.”
Also during the event, Warren praised Biden’s character by mentioning that her brother died of the coronavirus.
“I couldn’t tell him one last time that I loved him. After he died, Joe Biden called,” Warren said. “He offered kindness and comfort at a time when I needed some kindness.”
Monday is not the first time that Warren’s actions seemed to violate her past pledges.
In February, as her presidential campaign began to struggle, Warren flipped her stance on Democratic super PAC support. She long pledged that she would disavow support from a super PAC, a type of political committee that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money, particularly the kind made to support a single candidate. But when allies of Warren created a super PAC to support her in February, she refused to do so.
Earlier on Monday, the Biden campaign announced that it and the Democratic National Committee raised $80.8 million in May, a sharp spike from the $60.5 million it raised in April.
The Biden Victory Fund distributes funds raised to the Biden campaign, the DNC, and 26 state parties.