Obama Raises $7.6 Million at Fundraiser for Biden’s Campaign

June 23, 2020 Updated: June 23, 2020

WASHINGTON—Former President Barack Obama held a grassroots fundraiser on Tuesday for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Biden, who appeared virtually alongside Obama at the event, said it raised $7.6 million from more than 175,000 individual donors.

The fundraiser marked Obama’s official return to the presidential campaign trail and underscored his popularity within the Democratic Party.

Obama warned Democrats against being “complacent or smug” about the presidential race, calling on viewers to learn the lessons from 2016 and not take the election for granted.

He implored the audience to get engaged with Biden’s presidential campaign, declaring that “whatever you’ve done so far is not enough.”

Trump’s Dallas fundraiser earlier this month raised north of $10 million for the campaign, Republican National Committee and the Trump Victory Fund.

Tuesday’s event was a kickoff of what Obama’s team says will likely be a busy schedule heading into the fall, as he looks to help elect not just Biden but Democrats running for House and Senate.

Obama sometimes struggled to lift other Democratic candidates while he was in the White House, notably losing control of the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.

“There’s two groups of voters that Biden needs to move,” said Dan Pfeiffer, former White House communications director. “You have the 4 million Obama 2012 voters that sat out in ’16, Obama obviously has cachet with them. And you have to persuade some number of voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and either Trump or a third party candidate in 2016, and Obama obviously is very, very high-performing with those as well.”

During Tuesday night’s fundraiser, Obama made a frequent pitch directly to young voters, telling them he was “hopeful” about the new energy for reform he’s seen within the younger generation but warning them not to get discouraged with a political process he said “is always going to be slower” and “less satisfactory” than engaging with a social movement through public demonstrations.

Obama earlier endorsed Biden with a video message in April.

By Alexandra Jaffe