Obama Visits Bay Area For Fundraising Drive

05/23/2012 02:08 pm ET
  • Aaron Sankin Assistant San Francisco Editor, The Huffington Post

For a place that isn't exactly in danger of falling to his Republican challenger, Barack Obama sure spends a lot of time in the Bay Area.

What San Francisco lacks in registered Republicans (or even undecided swing voters for that matter), it more than makes up for in deep-pocketed donors willing to shell out the big bucks.

The president is swinging into town on Wednesday for a handful of Silicon Valley fundraisers. This trip marks his second whirlwind tour of the region in under a month.

First up on the schedule is a ritzy dinner in the well-heeled suburb of Atherton. Tickets cost $35,800 a plate. Following the dinner is a $250 a ticket event at Redwood City's Fox Theater featuring a performance by Ben Harper.

Obama is scheduled to fly out on Air Force One the next morning.

This trip marks the president's first foray to the Bay Area since he publicly declared his support for gay marriage; something bound to increase enthusiasm in this famously LGBT-friendly part of the country.

"This is what it takes to win an election," retired, openly gay Navy Commander Zoe Dunning told the San Jose Mercury News at Obama's campaign headquarters earlier this week. "It takes boots on the ground, it takes people who have his back."

Despite the expected large haul, Obama's spin around the Bay Area won't be free of controversy. A coalition of Filipino-American groups will be protesting outside of the Redwood City event as part of a campaign against the increased American military presence in the Philippines and the president's recent efforts at stepping up deportations of undocumented immigrants.

If Obama's Atherton fundraiser is a little liberal for your taste, GOP House Speaker John Boehner will be appearing at a similarly priced dinner held at the Woodside home of C3 founder Tom Siebel.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

"Let's face it," said Eric Bauman, vice chairman of the California Democratic Party. "For Democrats, California is donor heaven, and because so many Californians support this president, it makes it an important place for him to come."

"[However,] I think when the final tallies are done on the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney will have raised more money from California than any other state," [conservative blogger Joe] Fleischman said.

Some of Obama's top bundlers of campaign cash hail from the Bay Area. According to OpenSecrets.org, local supporters like Levi Strauss heir Doug Goldman, Jordan Real Estate Investments' Wayne Jordan and Farallon Capital Management's Tom Steyer have all raked in over $1 million each for the president's reelection effort.

The Sacramento Bee notes that Obama has raised $59 million in California so far. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has raised about $21 million.

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