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Biden comes to Connecticut to headline fundraiser in Greenwich

With the race potentially tight either way, President Joe Biden will be in Greenwich next week to hold a major fundraiser to boost his campaign coffers.

Nearly the entire leadership of the state's Democratic Party is supporting the event and is listed on the invitation: Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, U.S. Representative Jim Himes, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and more than a dozen others. Also on the list is Shonda Rhimes, a famous television producer who created “Grey's Anatomy” and has been named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world three times.

“This is a first-of-its-kind event,” Blumenthal told the Courant in an interview. “It's going to be a major effort to raise money from a state that really appreciates what Joe Biden has done over the last four years for roads and bridges, health care, education and huge amounts of resources that have flowed into Connecticut, but also his contributions to foreign policy and across the board.”

Biden needs millions of dollars for his nationwide fight against former President Donald J. Trump, with some polls showing a neck-and-neck race and others showing Trump in the lead. Some Democrats are stunned that the race is so close after Trump was twice impeached and four times charged with serious crimes in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C. Closing arguments were heard Tuesday in Manhattan in the Trump hush money trial, in which he is accused of 34 counts of falsifying business records.

“Frankly, it's absolutely baffling to me how it remains so close nationwide,” Blumenthal said Tuesday. “But fundamentally, I think most people are not focused on the election right now and haven't made a direct comparison. Elections are about choices and the future. A lot of people are focused on their lives right now, whether it's work or family. That's just the nature of humanity.”

The invitation, obtained by the Courant, does not mention the address of the fundraiser on Monday evening, June 3. However, Democrats expect the event to take place at a private home in Greenwich's famous backcountry north of the Merritt Parkway.

Both Blumenthal and Murphy predict a clear Biden victory in Connecticut in a race that will be close across the country.

“Let me be very frank. It's going to be close, hard-fought and contentious,” Blumenthal said Tuesday. “Ultimately, it's going to come down to a group of states where the numbers are going to be very close. I think Biden will win the election overall by a clear margin in terms of the number of voters, but the Electoral College makes the outcome questionable because of the importance of those handful of states.”

Shonda Rhimes is listed on the host committee of a major fundraiser for President Joe Biden in Greenwich. Here she attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images/TNS)

State Republican Chairman Ben Proto said Biden should not visit one of the country's wealthiest communities but instead try to solve problems in cities like Bridgeport.

“He ventures across the border to Greenwich to raise money, while we have Lamont and [Mayor Joseph] Ganim is holding press conferences on all the shootings in Bridgeport,” Proto said. “The situation that exists with our economy and especially in some of our cities where we have major drug problems with fentanyl and heroin coming across the border. If Joe Biden wants to come to Connecticut, maybe he should come where people are negatively affected by his policies and his decisions.”

Instead of saying Biden has lost sight of the day-to-day problems, Proto said, “Biden isn’t even able to see the ball.”

Proto says he doesn't see much political impact in the ongoing Trump hush money trial, in which prosecutors accuse Trump of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election campaign.

“I think the people who support Donald Trump will continue to support Donald Trump, and the people who don't support Donald Trump will continue to not support Donald Trump,” Proto said. “I don't think it's going to change many minds one way or the other.”

President Joe Biden arrives in Greenwich to raise money for his campaign against former President Donald J. Trump. (AP Photo)
President Joe Biden arrives in Greenwich to raise money for his campaign against former President Donald J. Trump. (AP Photo)

Previous Lamont Fundraiser

Biden was last in Greenwich in June 2023 at the home of Stephen Mandel Jr., a longtime hedge fund manager who founded Lone Pine Capital in 1997. Public records show that he donated $1 million in 2020 to the Lincoln Project, run by former Republican strategists who helped block Trump's re-election bid.

Mandel, whose name is on Biden's recent invitation, said at the fundraiser: “As Americans, we all owe the president a huge debt of gratitude for what he has done over the past two years.”

Biden also headlined a major fundraiser at Lamont's home in October 2019, when Biden was still a candidate and had not yet achieved the major momentum that his 2020 South Carolina victory had brought. The event raised more than $450,000 and was considered one of the most successful fundraisers for Biden's campaign nationwide at the time.

In an email sent to supporters on Tuesday that included a map of all 50 states, the Biden campaign said: “The momentum behind our campaign is incredible. Check out this map of the donations we've received recently from coast to coast. Holy cow!”

Biden has traveled to Connecticut several times for political reasons.

In December 2009, he attended a fundraiser for then-U.S. Senator Chris Dodd at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford before rushing to East Hartford to shower the city with millions of dollars for a new fire station in the southwest part of town.

Standing in front of a red aerial ladder truck, Biden spoke about the federal government's stimulus package to more than 100 people gathered at fire headquarters on that frigid day. Biden spoke of his roots as a blue-collar worker in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and described how the stimulus package helped prevent another Great Depression.

“We inherited this hole,” Biden said. “That's our problem now. We have to put a ladder in that hole and pull these people out.”

Biden spoke for about 25 minutes at the four-station headquarters complex in East Hartford to on-duty and off-duty firefighters who were prepared to leave the building at any time.

Christopher Keating can be reached at ckeating@courant.com

Anna Harden

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