Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders got their California campaigns into high gear on Monday, each holding events in Los Angeles with less than two weeks before the state’s highly contested primary on June 7.
Clinton raised money at the home of CAA’s Bryan Lourd and restaurateur Bruce Bozzi, with Anna Wintour as one of the co-hosts. Tickets started at $2,700 per person at the event, which drew 300 attendees and such industry figures as Allison Janney, Melanie Griffith, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Aaron Eckhart, Richard Lovett, Simon Halls, Steve Warren, Michael Rubel and Kevin Huvane.
Also there: Gavin Newsom, Emma Roberts, Vivi Nevo, Eric Paquette, Michael Kives, Jim Toth, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, Tate Taylor and Wendy Greuel.
Later, she attended an event at the Hancock Park home of Clarence Daniels, chairman and CEO of CMS Hospitality, and his wife Monet, with co-hosts including Matt Johnson, Kerman and Capri Maddox, Pluria and Paula Marshall, Marcus and Christina Mason, Robyn Ritter Simon and Tara Taylor. About 150 attended, with tickets starting at $1,000 per person.
A Clinton aide said that she talked about “her commitment to building on the progress we’ve made under President Obama. She does not believe that we live in a single-issue country and she is not a single-issue candidate.”
She did not mention Sanders at the Lourd-Bozzi event, according to an attendee.
Sanders spoke on Monday evening at Santa Monica High School, where he joined by Cenk Uygur, Rosario Dawson and Dick Van Dyke, to a crowd that filled about half the school’s football field. Van Dyke, 90, introduced Sanders as the “sanest man in America.”
“We are going to win here in California,” Sanders said, adding that the campaign would he having rallies “from one end of the state to the other.”
As he has at other rallies, he criticized media coverage, saying that “one of the crises is we have a corporate media that talks about everything but what is most important.”
In his hourlong speech, Sanders addressed the penalties that many face because they have marijuana possession convictions on their records.
Sanders said that if he lived in California, he would vote for an initiative to legalize marijuana.
Sanders faces very long odds to be able to overcome Clinton’s delegate lead, and she is likely to clinch the nomination on June 7. Clinton has a lead of almost ten points over Sanders in California according to polling averages collected by Real Clear Politics.
If he wins on that date, it could prove a setback to Clinton as she will move to unify the party in advance of the Democratic National Convention in July. But it could bolster Sanders’ argument that his campaign has been a “revolution” that requires major changes to the party and its platform.
Clinton supporters have become increasingly concerned about party unity and that Sanders’ continued criticisms will only exacerbate divisions. Sanders, however, has repeatedly cited the enthusiasm of his crowds as well as polls that show him beating Trump by a wider margin than Clinton.
Sanders will have influence over the party platform, as five of his representatives were named to the platform writing committee.
Both candidates are expected to campaign heavily in California over the next two weeks. Clinton on Tuesday is scheduled to tour a foster care facility in Los Angeles, and later events in Commerce and Riverside. Sanders is scheduled to hold rallies on Tuesday in Anaheim, San Bernardino and Riverside.
One event that won’t be happening: another debate. Clinton’s campaign on Monday declined an invite from Fox News to attend another debate, this time in California. Although Sanders’ campaign accepted the invite, Clinton’s campaign had not been expected to agree.
At his rally, Sanders said he was “disturbed but not surprised” that Clinton “backed out of the debate.” He called it “insulting” to the people of California. The crowd booed, and one attendee shouted, “she sucks!”
Laura Amelia, 28, was at the Sanders rally with her daughter, Harmony. She said that she has never voted in a presidential election, but has been active in her support of Sanders.
“We’ve donated. We’ve converted our whole family,” she said. A musician, Amelia’s group Anodica has created a song and a poem in support of Sanders’ campaign.
She called Sanders a “breath of fresh air. It’s a lot of truth to take in, but we got to do it.”
“I’ll write him in. The other candidates don’t deserve my vote. They haven’t earned it,” she said. She said it would be a “disaster” if Trump were elected, but that doesn’t mean that she would vote for Clinton. “She is just as bad, in my opinion,” she said.
Dave Holtzman, 56, of Brentwood, said that he was impressed because Sanders has a “clear stand” against the war on drugs, noting what he has said about marijuana legalization.
“I think he has every right and the obligation to his supporters to contest this battle to the end, to take it to the convention and stand up for what he believes in,” he said.
He said that if Clinton is the nominee, he would vote for her “if she needs our vote in California,” given that the state has been a Democratic stronghold. He said that it depends on what the polling is in October, and whether he could still cast his vote for a candidate like Jill Stein of the Green Party. “Basically you don’t make that decision until you look at the polls and make sure you are not screwing something up like the people did by voting for Ralph Nader in Florida [in 2000] and later regretted it.”
Donald Trump, meanwhile, is returning to California on Wednesday, for a rally in Anaheim and a fundraiser that evening at the Los Angeles home of Thomas Barrack and his wife Rachelle. Tickets start at $25,000 per person. Barrack is the founder of Colony Capital and serves as its executive chairman. The company sold its stake in Miramax earlier this year, but Barrack’s primary investments are in real estate.
According to a spokeswoman, Barrack’s friendship with Trump dates to 1988, when Barrack was an executive with the Robert M. Bass group and negotiated the sale of the Plaza Hotel to Trump.