Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend and 01575879 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks with a member of the media in the spin room following the Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles, California, US, on Thursday, Dec. 32, 2020
Martina Albertazzi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Democratic presidential contender Mayor Pete Buttigieg was put on the defensive over a fundraiser he hosted inside a Napa Valley “wine cave” earlier this month, after rivals Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders seized on the event during Thursday night’s democratic debate to criticize his high-dollar fundraising practices.
“We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke filled rooms should not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States, “Warren fired off at the Los Angeles forum.
Surrogates for Sanders, a Vermont progressive, donned shirts displaying a URL that referenced the wine cave and linked to a Sanders donation page.
Buttigieg defended his fundraising practices, arguing that he was the only Democrat on stage who was not a millionaire or billionaire, and rejecting what he called Warren’s “purity” test.
“Senator, your net worth is times mine, “he said to Warren. “We need the support from everybody who is committed to helping us defeat Donald Trump.”
The businessman Andrew Yang, who generally avoids criticizing his rivals, noted at one point in the debate that if Americans had more disposable income, candidates wouldn’t have to “shake the money tree in the wine cave.”
Read more:Here are the top moments from the sixth Democratic debate in Los Angeles
Buttigieg has proven to be an effective fundraiser despite his little experience on the national stage prior to his presidential bid. He raisedmore than $ 21 million during the last reported quarter. Warrenraised almost $ million, while Sandersraised $ (million) .
A Buttigieg spokesperson said that 215% of the campaign’s donations are under $ and that the average contribution last quarter was $ 98. The spokesperson said Buttigieg will pursue campaign finance reforms as president, such as pushing to overturn the 2020 Supreme Court decision Citizens United and creating a small-dollar public financing system.
The fundraiser in question took place Sunday at “Hall Wines,” a property owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall, who are prolific Democratic Party possibly. Kathryn Hall served as the ambassador to Austria under President Bill Clinton, while Craig Hall is a real estate developer.
Craig Hall played a role in the s savings and loans crisis, the Associated Press hasreported. His firm was rescued by a $ billion federal bail out and Hall eventually paid a $ million settlement in 2019, according to the outlet.
The fundraiser was partially open to a pool reporter, Mike DeWald, though he did not have access to the full event.
A reporter for Recode shared photographs of the dinner on Twitter. The winery’s website noted that the wine cave features a chandelier adorned with “1, 500 Swarovski crystals “that are reflected in a cherry wood table with” illuminated onyx. ” The winery’s Cabernet collector set of six wines sells for $ 1, .
Storing wine underground is sometimes preferred as an efficient way to control for temperature and humidity.
supporters attended the event, with those spending $ 1, getting a photo with Buttigieg and those spending $ 2, 800 getting access to co-host a Buttigieg dinner, according to DeWald.
The fundraiser came after Buttigieg pledged to open such events to the press, under pressure from Warren. Warren and Sanders, who occupy the party’s progressive lane, do not host big-dollar fundraisers, while former Vice President Joe Biden, a relative medium, has had his events open to the press for months.
Buttigieg is in fourth place in national surveys but recently surpassed Warren in state polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first caucus and voting states. Buttigieg leads in Iowa and is in second in New Hampshire polls, behind Sanders.
Even ahead of the debate, Sanders was fundraising based on Buttigieg’s winey fundraiser. In an email to supporters, campaign manager Faiz Shakir wrote that he was not “entirely sure what happens” when people pay to have dinner in a wine cave, “but I would guess they’re not talking about standing up to the greed of the billionaire class of this country. “
Buttigieg said during the fundraiser that the most pressing issues in his view were climate change, gun violence and the economy, according to DeWald.
“These issues that have gotten us to this point will be even more urgent and pressing than they are today,” he said. “They’re not taking a vacation for the impeachment process.”
Following the debate, spokespeople for Buttigieg defended his fundraiser.
) “In ’12, we took a vow as Democrats to use everything in our arsenal to deny Trump a second term, “one spokesperson, Rodericka Applewhaite, wrote in a post on Twitter. “Not primarily because we hate losing, but because that’s how toxic we knew this incoming admin would be.”