Top Chicago donors halting convention fundraising lunch for high-dollar contributors, source says

Washington CNN  —  Organizers for at least one Chicago fundraiser scheduled during the Democratic National Convention have decided to not to proceed with the mid-August event, a source with knowledge of the discussions told CNN. In the immediate wake of President Joe Biden’s debate performance, organizers paused conversations on planning the fundraiser until after the



Washington
CNN
 — 

Organizers for at least one Chicago fundraiser scheduled during the Democratic National Convention have decided to not to proceed with the mid-August event, a source with knowledge of the discussions told CNN.

In the immediate wake of President Joe Biden’s debate performance, organizers paused conversations on planning the fundraiser until after the July 4 holiday to allow the dust to settle. This week, the host committee decided not to proceed with the event, citing a disagreement over how to proceed given the continued erosion of support for Biden’s candidacy.

The event, designed as a lunch for a few dozen wealthy Windy City denizens, is just one of many events planned in conjunction with the party’s convention, when the campaign was expecting to tap into high-dollar supporters’ enthusiasm and wallets for the home stretch of the race.

While the lunch itself was expected to bring in less than $1 million for the campaign, the mood of the participants — many of whom had given millions to Biden’s 2020 campaign and associated entities — 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 affiliated with their official fundraising schedule.

The news comes hours after actor and Biden megadonor George Clooney, who had been among Biden’s biggest supporters and donors in Hollywood, called on the president to bow out of the race, just weeks after the actor headlined a major fundraiser for the president’s reelection campaign.

Clooney wrote that the Biden that he saw during a June 15 fundraiser, which also 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 man we all witnessed at the debate,” Clooney added, referencing Biden’s faltering and disastrous performance at the June 27 presidential debate on CNN.

Biden’s team is currently planning to host fundraisers in Austin, Denver, and two in California — one in Laguna Beach and another in Northern California — in July, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Donors elsewhere in the country  have told CNN their events are on hold until Biden’s path is clearer.

John Morgan, a Florida trial attorney and longtime Biden supporter, had been working with the campaign to host a fundraiser in the state likely in early September, but he said the event is “all up in the air” at this point.

“I don’t even bother them,” he said about reaching out to campaign officials on the status of the event. “I’m not going to call them because they have bigger fish to fry than an event in Florida in September. They’ve got to get past all the naysayers.”

For his part, Morgan said he remains committed to backing Biden and is willing to hold a fundraiser “only if he’s the candidate.”

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

CNN’s Arlette Saenz and Fredreka Schouten contributed to this report.