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This combination of photos shows former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden, right. (AP Photo/File)
This combination of photos shows former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden, right. (AP Photo/File)
Clara HarterHanna Kang
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and are both headed to the City of Angels in June on to tap into the the ATM known as Southern California’s .

Trump will be the first to touch down, attending a Beverly Hills fundraiser on Friday, June 7, where tickets range from $5,000 to $250,000, according to the invite. He’ll then travel south to a Newport Beach fundraiser hosted by virtual reality entrepreneur Palmer Luckey on Saturday, June 8.

The following weekend Biden will headline a star-studded fundraiser at the Peacock Theater in downtown Los Angeles with speakers including , Julia Roberts and Barack Obama, NBC reported. The two Oscar winning actors will also be assisting the campaign by putting their names on text and email outreach to voters.

While Trump has largely stayed away from Los Angeles on the trail so far, both he and Biden are expected to visit the Southland more frequently as their fund-raising efforts ramp up.

“We tend to think of California as a “blue” state in terms of votes, but to presidential candidates, California is really a “green” state,” said Matthew Beckmann, professor of political science at UC Irvine. “The number of wealthy donors makes California a bipartisan destination early and often.”

Pepperdine Political Science Professor Joel Fox said he isn’t particularly interested in what will go on inside the events, where both candidates will predictably rake in big bucks. Rather he’s interested in the public’s reactions to their visits.

“Will there be out front, which could be a foreshadowing of what the Biden campaign could face in the Democratic Convention? And, will there be protesters in front of Trump’s fundraisers, whether it be about some of the lawsuits he’s involved in or the Israel-Gaza debate?” he said.

“It’s not the people inside, it’s the people outside that I think are going to matter on these fundraising trips.”

Trump is also expected to be a frequent visitor in the wealthy Republican-steeped stronghold of Orange County.

The affluent, coastal 47th Congressional District — which includes Newport Beach — is one of the top areas in the country where Republicans punch above their weight in fundraising, said Matt Jarvis, an associate professor of political science at Cal State Fullerton.

“Even though California is a foregone conclusion, we are the ATM for national campaigns,” he said. “And Orange County, despite being much more purple than it used to be, is still a place where Republicans come to raise money.”

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Trump, in 2020, in California. The 92660 ZIP code in Newport Beach, where he held a , was among the top 45 ZIP codes — in the country — where he received the most money, the data shows. So far in the 2024 election cycle, Trump has raised more than $16.9 million in the Golden State.

“There’s a whole bunch of enthusiasm when the president comes out here,” said Huntington Beach City Councilmember Tony Strickland, who represents the Trump campaign in Orange County. “A lot of the volunteers get really motivated, and it also affects people running at all levels.”

That’s not to say Trump doesn’t raise funds effectively in other parts of the state, Strickland added. The former president has a strong support base in Beverly Hills, where he’ll be a day before he travels to Newport Beach.

In fact, one of Trump’s largest donors, real estate billionaire Geoffrey Palmer, lives in the 90210 ZIP code in Beverly Hills, which was — and continues to be — that pull in the most money for Trump. Palmer has donated more than $2 million to Trump’s campaign and super PACs so far in the current election cycle, according to campaign finance reports.

On a national scale, Biden is currently running at a clear . His campaign reported bringing in $187 million in the first quarter of 2024, almost double the $93 million reported by the Trump campaign.

President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

This sets him up at an advantage when it comes to dominating the airwaves in critical swing states like Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona.

“The fact that Biden’s campaign has already reserved $30 million in advertising means that they’re getting it at a major discount as opposed to a September price, which is probably going to be one and a half times more expensive when President Trump starts buying in,” said veteran democratic campaign consultant Michael Trujillo. “For being a savvy businessman, he’s buying high, and Joe Biden’s buying low.”

This is an advantage Biden sorely needs as a recent showed in all seven battleground states.

Currently, Trump’s legal battles are a drain on his war chest and on the time he has available for campaign events. Nevertheless, there are signs he is closing in on the fundraising gap.

He raised a record-breaking $50.5 million at a Palm Beach fundraiser in April, bringing his estimated haul for the month to $76 million, his campaign reported.

“Trump’s campaign is going to be hamstrung, at least in the short term, by court obligations,” said Beckmann. “As spring turns to summer, however, the campaigns will heat up and Trump will be fund-raising as vigorously as ever.”

Another advantage that Biden currently holds is the support of major celebrities and former presidents. Both Bill Clinton and Obama headlined a March fundraiser for Biden in New York and Obama is expected to continue promoting his former vice president in the run up to November.

Trump, meanwhile, has not received any campaign trail support from former Republican presidents.

In 2020, Biden received the endorsements of many of America’s biggest celebrities including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And with the upcoming George Clooney and Julia Roberts event in Los Angeles, he is once again hoping to use star power to his advantage.

Still with approval rates lingering around 38%, famous friends can only take Biden so far.

“Political science research shows that presidential elections tend to turn on national conditions — especially the economy,” said Beckmann. “Both candidates will be well known, and millions of dollars here or there will not make a difference, nor will celebrity events and endorsements.”

And ultimately, there’s also a limit to the power of fundraising.

“The American public, they know you these guys are, they know their track records, they know where they stand,” said Fox. “I think what the votes are going to come down to is whether they want the Biden approach or the Trump approach to the presidency.”

“I don’t think that money is going to be the deciding factor.”

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