President Barack Obama returns to Southern California on Monday for his first fundraising swing in nearly a year to lend support to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
The three-term Democrat has seen her reelection prospects diminish as the Golden State’s unemployment rate has climbed above 12 percent and the GOP prepares to field a well-funded challenger.
The venue seats up to 160 people and sold out last week, according to Boxer’s campaign.
The evening event will likely boast a plethora of Hollywood’s most famous Democratic donors. Actors such as Tom Hanks and George Clooney have in the past donated to Boxer, the DNC and Obama, according to the Federal Election Commission. Singer India.Arie is scheduled to perform, according to Variety's blog Wilshire and Washington.
"We’re thrilled that President Obama will be campaigning for Senator Boxer to help her win reelection and keep fighting in the Senate to
create jobs and turn the economy around,” said Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski.
It will be Obama’s first visit to Los Angeles since last May, when he spoke at a fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton that reportedly brought in some $3 million for the DNC.
Boxer could certainly use the financial boost. She raised $2.4 million in the first quarter and now has $8.7 million cash on hand. But in an anti-incumbent year when she’ll need to vigorously tout her accomplishments, Boxer will have to spend heavily on TV advertising.
Meanwhile, Republican strategists were decidedly pleased by the first quarter fundraising numbers put up by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R) and former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.). Each raised close to $1.7 million in the first quarter and Fiorina has the potential to inject some of her own fortune into her campaign.
The most recent Real Clear Politics polling average shows Boxer and Campbell in a dead heat, and Boxer just a few points ahead of Fiorina.
If the polls remain close, one Washington-based Republican strategist said on background, “we would absolutely spend money there.”
Boxer expressed concern over the weekend that Democrats won’t be energized to vote in November.
"At this point, I think the polls are showing that there is more enthusiasm with the Tea Party party," Boxer told reporters before taking the stage at the California Democratic Party's convention in Los Angeles on Saturday. "I think it is absolutely a fact that we have to match that enthusiasm."