Hollywood Figures Set L.A. Fundraiser for Joe Biden

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joseph Biden, expected to announce his presidential bid on Thursday, will trek to Los Angeles in May for a showbiz-centric fundraiser, according to sources.

The event will be held May 8 at the home of James Costos, a former HBO executive who was U.S. ambassador to Spain under President Barack Obama, and his husband, designer Michael Smith. The event also is expected to draw a long list of co-hosts, including Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ken Solomon, the president of the Tennis Channel.

Sources say that Biden will announce his campaign launch via video announcement on Thursday, reportedly with plans for a fundraiser in Philadelphia co-hosted by Comcast senior executive VP David L. Cohen, former Governor Ed Rendell and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Biden already had been laying the groundwork for a presidential run. During the midterms, he raised money for his leadership PAC, American Possibilities, at an event hosted by Katzenberg at his WndrCo. The event drew a mix of studio chiefs and other figures including ICM Partners’ Chris Silbermann, Byron Allen and RealD’s Michael Lewis.

A number of campaign bundlers have met with the parade of Democratic contenders as they have visited L.A., but they had been waiting for Biden to enter the race to throw his support behind his candidacy. Still, fundraisers say they are hesitant to make exclusive picks, a contrast to previous cycles. “I think people will narrow down their choices quickly, but it will be for two to four candidates,” says one prominent bundler.

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) likely raised more from industry sources in the first quarter of 2020, but there is considerable buzz around the candidacy of South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as some of his boosters compare it to the emergence of Barack Obama’s rise in the year before the 2008 election.

Buttigieg’s campaign has been scheduling a trek to L.A. around May 9, and he’s also planning a return on June 19 for an event at the home of Ryan Murphy. Cohosts include Simon Halls, Matt Bomer, Tammy Billik and John Gile, according to sources. At least one other event also is in the works during that visit.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported on Biden’s event.

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