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President Obama Visits La Jolla for Fundraiser

The visit to San Diego is Obama's first since taking office, but presidential candidates are increasingly targeting local donors.

President Barack Obama will visit La Jolla on Monday afternoon to attend a private, $5,000-per-person re-election fundraiser at the home of Elizabeth and Mason Phelps.

This is Obama's first visit to San Diego since taking office, but it is not the first presidential fundraiser in La Jolla. Presidential hopefuls Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have made stops in La Jolla in the past three months.

Money raised during these early, high-ticket, private fundraisers will be used to fund candidate campaign efforts.

“As we get closer to the election there will be more public events, but all the money they are raising now is paying for their campaign, so when it is time to do these events they have funding,” said Francine Busby, executive director of Run Women Run.

Busby, who ran for Congress in District 50 in 2010, which includes a portion of La Jolla, said in recent years fundraiser networking, the number of donors, and the ability to reach out and identify donors has also grown locally.

“This area has really been put on the map,” said Busby. “Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla, Fairbanks Ranch, the Del Mar area, places where people of high net worth live locally have become a magnet for political fundraising because people who have given here in the past are known publically.”

In 2008, La Jollans donated $4.89 million to political campaigns, according to CampaignMoney.com. Of that money, 61 percent went to Democrats and 30 percent to Republicans.

Big donors included San Diego Chargers President/CEO Dean Spanos, Qualcomm Chair/CEO Paul Jacobs, securities class-action attorney William Lerach and Sempra Energy President and COO Neal Schmale.  

While the donation information for Q3 2011 is not due to be submitted to the Federal Election Commission until the end of this month, records indicate that La Jollans have already opened up their wallets to the tune of $488,532 in the first half of this year.

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said both Perry and Romney did very well in their fundraising efforts in La Jolla and Del Mar earlier this month.

“Romney has a little bit more extensive of a base to reach out to locally because he did this four years ago and now he has a house here,” said Krvaric.

San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee will be attending Obama’s fundraiser on Monday. Due to a high level of security, guests needed to RSVP for the event by Sept. 22. The address of the private home where the event will be held was not revealed until reservations were made.

The invitation was largely spread by word of mouth and organized local fundraisers.

“Barack Obama is running for re-election. Four years ago he ran a very thorough, very professional campaign, captured a lot of names, a lot of email addresses, a lot of addresses—and he still has all of those,” said Durfee. “His campaign has a very thorough network and there is a large network of ardent supporters of the president in San Diego.”

Obama's visist is just the fourth fundraiser locally and it certainly will not be the last. Here is a breakdown of presidential candidate fundraisers for 2011:

  • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Republican, held a fundraiser at a private home of Lynn and Rob Hayes on June 26. Tickets were $1,000 per person or $2,500 for a VIP.
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry made two stops in San Diego earlier this month. On Sept. 7, the Republican spoke at a meet-and-greet gathering at Landmark Aviation near Lindbergh Field. The following morning, Perry hosted a fundraising breakfast at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine in UTC. Tickets to the fundraiser were $1,000 per person and $2,500 for the VIP reception and photo opportunity.
  • Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who owns a house in La Jolla, held a private fundraiser at the home of Jenny Craig in Del Mar on Sept. 16. Tickets were $500 per person or $2,500 for a VIP ticket with photo opportunity.
  • President Barack Obama is hosting a private fundraiser at the La Jolla home of Elizabeth and Mason Phelps on Monday, Sept. 26. Tickets are $5,000 per person, $10,000 per person for photo opportunity and $38,500 per couple to be a VIP trustee.

La Jolla Patch can be found on Facebook and Twitter @LaJollaPatch.

David September 26, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Your article referred to, "... securities class-action attorney William Lerach ..." A visit to the State Bar website will confirm that Mr. Lerach is not an attorney because he was disbarred under Case No. 07-C-13619. His association with the so-called "Democratic" Party goes back to the Clinton Presidency, when he hosted a fundraiser for then-President Clinton right after then-President Clinton had confessed to perjury. Birds of a feather ...
tom Comeau September 27, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Obama knows where the money is! It's a safe bet that he will not be visiting the state's poorest community. Relax El Cajon, you won't have to dodge the presidential motorcade.

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