Sen. Amy Klobuchar surprised America with a third-place finish Tuesday in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary. But her climb will get steeper in Nevada, South Carolina and the March 3 Super Tuesday contests, which all occur within the next three weeks.
So on her way to campaign in Nevada, she stopped in New York City on Wednesday to raise some much needed campaign cash. This is standard operating procedure in political campaigns. Here are some highlights from the press pool report filed by Jasmine Wright and Kyung Lah of CNN:
The reception was held in Manhattan’s midtown at the Il Gattopardo restaurant, an Italian restaurant set in the historic Rockefeller Townhouses, named after their most famous owner, John D. Rockefeller. The poolers awaited the arrival of Klobuchar, who arrived at her event at 6:35pET. She was dressed in a familiar suit from the campaign trail, a deep purple/maroon skirt suit and brown boots. The senator joked when she saw her poolers, saying “You look like you’re at a speakeasy!”
Shortly after Klobuchar descended the stairs into the restaurant’s basement/reception room, the poolers followed at 6:50 p.m.
Per the campaign, the event was co-hosted by Beth Ann Day, Elizabeth Chandler and Ashley Garrett. Beth Ann Day is the chief talent officer and global associate director of research at AB Bernstein. Bernstein is a Wall Street sell-side research and brokerage firm known for its equity research. Elizabeth Chandler is an investor and digital enthusiast, whose Twitter profile also lists her as filmmaker, designer, triathlete, dedicated reader and traveler.
The campaign did not give an estimate of how much the event raised, but confirmed 150 people were in attendance a ticket was priced at $1,000.
Guests fundraisers were greeted at a sign-in table, where they also picked up white name tag stickers. The nondescript foyer led to a five-story tall glassed-in reception area to see the Senator in person. The reception area felt more like a foyer, plainly decorated with simple plants and casual up-lighting.
The campaign says hors d’oeuvres were served before the arrival of the poolers. Guests were served arancini, shrimp cocktails and panini. One bar was in the far end of the reception area where drinks were free. The red wine offered was the modest Ippolito Liber Pater Ciro (approximately $20 retail/bottle), the white wine was Branciforti Dei Bordonaro 2018 chardonnay (approximately same price). Prosecco Castello Roncade was the champagne (retail $12 — 19 per bottle). Beer was Estrella Barcelona and Hop Commander IPA, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
The guests appeared to be predominantly white, mainly late to middle aged, with a few younger attendees present. Poolers saw one black woman.
Klobuchar was introduced by her husband John Bessler at 6:53 p.m. After he congratulated his wife on her achievement (in New Hampshire) saying, “she’s got grit.” He told the crowd that Wednesday also was the anniversary of the day he proposed to her more than 25 years ago.
The senator grabbed the mic and joked, “I am so glad you reminded me of that. I just woke up this morning, that was all that I was thinking about,” to a laughing crowd.
Bessler said he proposed on President Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday because he thought she would prefer it over Valentine’s Day. And Bessler said of Lincoln, that in a divided and toxic time, he had the ability to bring people together.
“The people of New Hampshire have spoken that Amy is the person to do that,” as well, he added. Bessler ended his introduction by touting his wife’s winning election streak.
Klobuchar took the mic at 6:57 p.m., thanking the crowd for showing up and her husband for the nice remarks, “Happy engagement anniversary, John. This is so romantic, you and me and a few of our friends,” she joked.
She then elaborated on their engagement story. The proposal came after a dinner and a failed attempt to take a walk in the freezing Minnesota temperatures; he popped the question in the nonfiction aisle of The Hungry Mind bookstore.
As she called around for wedding venues, people would ask her if she was a Valentine’s Day bride and she emphatically retorted back, “No! It’s Lincoln’s Birthday!”
Then she moved into the New Hampshire primary. “We had quite a night last night!” to big applause, adding that New York is the best place to come celebrate.
Turning to politics, Klobuchar explained why she used the line, “Hello, my name is Amy Klobuchar, and I will beat Donald Trump” in her speech after her 3rdplace finish in New Hampshire. “I was well aware there were some people who had no idea who I was. Why not do it in a straightforward way.”
Klobuchar also shared a part of her family’s immigration story, one that she has not shared much on the campaign trail. She wanted to share it, she told the crowd, as the campaign turns to Nevada where immigration is a significant issue. She explained that her maternal grandfather was from Switzerland and he came through Ellis Island with a friend. They wanted to be cooks. The men were held back because the quota for Swiss immigrants had already been reached. Klobuchar said US government documents recorded how much money the men carried.
The most notable development in this fundraiser was Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s victory lap …. She said “we really shocked a lot of the pundits,” to roaring applause. “I have had people count me out every single time, and I’ve come roaring back.”
- Kevin Diaz