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Biden strikes gold in California, one week after Trump’s massive haul in the blue bastion

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Former President Trump’s profitable, 3 days After leaving California, President Biden returned to the West Coast to take advantage of the Democratic-majority state’s political ATM machine.

With less than five months until the November election, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel will interview Biden and former President Barack Obama at a star-studded fundraiser with Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney and Julia Roberts that the presidential campaign says is already breaking records.

The Biden campaign boasted that the event has already raised more than $28 million and counting, making it the largest fundraiser in Democratic history.

That exceeds the $26 million raised by a fundraiser held in March at Radio City Music Hall in New York City featuring Biden, Obama and former President Clinton.

Trump wins huge vote counts in long-time Democratic states during campaign

Former Presidents Clinton (right), Obama (left) and Biden (center) headline a Democratic fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall on March 28, 2024 in New York City. (Getty Images)

But Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, raised more than $50 million at a fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire investor and hedge fund founder John Paulson in early April. That was the most ever raised at a single fundraiser, beating the record set by Biden just a week and a half earlier at Radio City Music Hall.

It’s the latest instance of national politicians coming to California to boost their campaign coffers: Both Biden and Trump have raised more money in California than any other state this election, according to figures from the Federal Election Commission.

“When politicians look west, they see greener fields,” Jack Pitney, a veteran political scientist at California-based Claremont McKenna College, told Fox News.

Biden vs. Trump

President Biden and former President Trump both raised millions of dollars at a fundraiser in California ahead of their 2024 presidential rematch. (AP Photo/Julia Nickinson and Evan Vucci)

Invitations to Saturday’s gala at the Peacock Theatre in downtown Los Angeles bill it as a “historic evening,” with admission prices ranging from $250 a person to $500,000, which includes special access, photos with Biden and Obama and invitations to the afterparty.

President Trump arrived in California a week after leaving the state.

Once the Trump campaign has tallied all the money, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee expects to raise about $27.5 million at three fundraisers in California and one in Las Vegas, a senior campaign official told Fox News.

Why Trump’s San Francisco fundraiser was a success on multiple fronts

The Trump campaign also announced that another $6 million had been raised for outside groups supporting a rematch against Biden in the 2024 election.

Trump has been trying to close the fundraising gap with Biden, and in April, his campaign and the Republican National Committee raised more money than Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee for the first time.

The Trump campaign announced this a week ago, and the Republican National Committee raised a staggering $141 million in May, fueled by the former president’s recently concluded criminal conviction.

Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court

Former President Trump appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on May 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Poole)

President Trump is the first former and current president in U.S. history to be convicted of all 34 felony counts at trial.

The former president’s campaign noted that in the first 24 hours after the verdict, it and the Republican National Committee raised nearly $53 million, which was added to May’s total.

The Biden campaign has also used Trump’s ruling to raise funds, with a source telling Fox News that “the 24 hours after the ruling were one of the most fundraising 24 hours the Biden campaign has had since launching its campaign.”

While Trump’s California fundraising was backed by big-time Republican donors, including tech investors and hedge fund giants, Biden’s fundraising on Saturday is being spearheaded by the Democratic Party’s Hollywood establishment.

This isn’t surprising: The entertainment industry, which generously donated funds to the campaigns of Presidents Clinton and Obama, has a long history of being known for its Democratic leanings.

Biden, 81, lacks the close ties to Hollywood enjoyed by his Democratic predecessors but still has the ability to draw an audience.

“Any Democratic presidential candidate can raise a lot of money in California, but the incumbent president has a huge advantage: When he walks into a room, it’s packed with cash,” Pitney said.

President Biden raises $28 million at star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles

President Biden waves as he arrives in Los Angeles aboard Air Force One on June 15, 2024. Biden is scheduled to attend a campaign event on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Biden’s fundraising in the Los Angeles entertainment world was delayed by a major strike by two Hollywood unions representing film and television writers and actors between May and November last year.

But the president is starting to make up for lost time with a major fundraiser in December hosted by famed directors Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. Saturday’s big fundraiser was organized by media mogul and Democratic rainmaker Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also co-chairman of the Biden campaign. Katzenberg also organized the fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee have enlisted the help of many entertainment stars and well-known performers as the president seeks a second term.

Among those lending a hand is Robert De Niro, the famous actor who headlined a Biden campaign press conference outside a New York City courthouse on the final day of President Trump’s trial.

The press conference became a talking point after De Niro, who has played gangsters in classic films such as “The Godfather Part II” and “Goodfellas,” yelled “you guys are gangsters” as Trump supporters nearby yelled abuse at him.

Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series, recently showed up unannounced in the White House briefing room to praise the president and call Biden “Joe Bye-One Kenobi.”

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Spielberg has worked with the Democratic National Committee on its storytelling efforts, and Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer campaigned alongside Vice President Kamala Harris during a recent election rally in battleground state Michigan.

Trump held his final California fundraiser last weekend in an upscale neighborhood in Newport Beach, California, which also featured veteran actor Jon Voight, but he is spending this weekend in Michigan, where he is scheduled to hold several events, including a roundtable discussion at a church in northwest Detroit.

Trump raises huge amount of money at California fundraiser

Supporters of former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, react to his motorcade during a fundraiser in Newport Beach, California, on June 8, 2024. (Reuters/David Swanson)

The Trump campaign argued that while the former president would meet with “ordinary Americans,” “Biden will attend lavish Hollywood fundraisers with his elitist, naive celebrity benefactors who own him.”

Trump’s campaign and Republican allies also criticized the president for skipping a Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland this weekend to attend a fundraiser in California. Vice President Kamala Harris is representing the U.S. at the peace talks.

Get the latest 2024 campaign updates, exclusive interviews and more on Fox News Digital’s Election Hub.