Hillary Clinton moves to consolidate support of CA Dems

Hillary Rodham Clinton Signs Copies Of Her Book 'Hard Choices' In New YorkSensing an opportunity to shore up her base and fuel a resurgence, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has moved swiftly to consolidate support and spur new enthusiasm among friends and allies in California.

Return visits

An early November sweep through the Bay Area will raise funds and press for commitments among some of Clinton’s closest west coast associates. At a Sacramento luncheon, Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis will play host for Clinton donors at the home of developer Angelo Tsakopoulos and his wife Sofia, Politico reported, with price points for attendance ranging from $2,700 to $50,000. Then, Clinton will visit a “family celebration” in the Silicon Valley redoubt of Los Altos Hills, capping things off with Ambassador Kathryn Hall and her husband Craig hosting in Napa at Hall Wines.

The itinerary has shaped up as a variation on Clinton’s last income-generating mission to the Golden State. Prior to a late September sweep through Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Clinton hit up Southern California for three four-figure-a-head fundraisers “at the home of Rob and Shari Friedman in Los Angeles; the Perch rooftop restaurant in Los Angeles; and the home of Dr. Asif and Noshaba Mahmood in Bradbury,” the San Jose Mercury News reported. “Clinton last visited the Bay Area on Aug. 5 and 6 for fundraisers in Atherton and San Francisco; before that, she was here raising money in May and June.”

This time around, however, team Clinton was in considerably higher spirits than previously. As Politico noted separately, “prominent members of both the East and West Coast Democratic financing communities reported even more interest in giving to the party’s front-runner after her Benghazi testimony last week — an event that bought the Clinton operation its most lucrative hour of fundraising yet.”

Polling peril

On the other hand, the campaign’s California activity sounded a note of urgency. With vice president Joe Biden refusing to contest Clinton for the nomination, her biggest competitor remains Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who recently surged in California polling. “A Field Poll conducted in May found that 66 percent of likely primary voters supported Clinton,” Reuters reported. But in a poll early this month, she had sunk to just 47 percent, while Sanders had “climbed from single-digit voter support among California voters to 35 percent[.]”

Although Clinton’s advantages in the race have proven formidable, and the poll was conducted before Biden’s announcement that he wouldn’t seek his party’s nomination for president, respondents underscored how uncertain many Democrats remain — in California and around the country. Almost two thirds said “it would be a good thing if Vice President Joe Biden were to enter the race,” although “only 15 percent of likely voters said they would back Biden” if he jumped in.

Back in July, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., made a modest contribution to the competitive atmosphere by endorsing another Clinton challenger, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, as the Huffington Post observed.

Going big

Still, Sanders has not threatened to hit the Clinton campaign where it could hurt most — in the pocketbook. Sanders’ outsized successes with smaller donors have raised some concerns. “While Clinton’s campaign was sitting on $33 million in cash by the end of September, it still needs to increase its donor base, various fundraisers say they were told,” according to Politico. “That’s partly because the Clinton team knows Sanders’ campaign (with $27 million in cash on hand) has fewer backers who have already given the full legal maximum, meaning the senator can tap many of his existing contributors again while Clinton cannot.”

But Sanders has been put in dark shadow by Clinton when it comes to fundraising in California’s cash-rich liberal strongholds. In a recent tally of the candidates’ Silicon Valley hauls, CNBC revealed that Clinton had raked in $502,000 while Sanders netted only $189,000.

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