WASHINGTON — Donald Trump hits Chicago on Tuesday for a high-dollar fundraising lunch days before he accepts the GOP presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The next day, Wednesday, Hillary Clinton touches down in Wilmette for a big-dollar fundraiser weeks before she becomes the Democratic presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
The top ask for the Trump lunch is for $100,000, which gives a donor access to a VIP roundtable, photo opportunity and two tickets to the lunch, according to an invitation obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
A $25,000 donation yields two lunch tickets and a photo opportunity for the event, which will be held at an undisclosed location. The cheapest ticket for the event is $10,000 per person, which just gets a ticket for the lunch.
Trump was last in Chicago the Friday before the March 15 Illinois primary, but he never surfaced publicly because he canceled a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavillion when protests erupted.
During the primary, Trump made much of his pledge to self-finance but reversed himself when he became the presumptive GOP nominee facing a general election campaign against Clinton, with a tab of at least hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the runup to the GOP convention, to kick off on July 18, Trump has been stepping up his fundraising as he faces the formidable Clinton fundraising operation. Trump just started a professional fundraising drive last month.
In contrast, Clinton opened a Midwest finance office in Chicago when she launched her bid in 2015. The Democratic convention opens on July 25.
On Wednesday, the Trump campaign announced raising, in June, $26 million from its new digital and small-dollar efforts. Trump tossed in another $3.8 million, bringing his self-funding total up to $55 million.
During the last week of May and June, joint fundraising between the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee — done mainly through 22 fundraising events — yielded another $25 million.
The pricing for Trump’s Chicago event is based on what fundraisers gauged the political market could bear.
For example, at a similar event Wednesday in Cincinnati, the top tab for a roundtable discussion, photo and reception is only $25,000, with the cost for the reception alone $2,700 per person.
The high end is quite higher.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the top end for a July 13 joint Trump/RNC at Rancho Santa Fe in southern California is $449,400 per person.
As I previously reported. the Clinton funder on Wednesday is hosted by Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts and her wife, Brooke. The top giving level is $150,000 to give or raise; the cost to attend is to contribute $33,400.
The host for the Chicago luncheon is Ron Gidwitz, the Trump Victory Illinois finance chairman, a powerhouse fundraiser for GOP Illinois candidates up and down the ticket.
Both the Republicans and Democrats are wooing donors by offering convention perk packages giving the biggest contributors access to the best hotel rooms, briefings, VIP parties and credentials to convention sessions.
Trump is doing the high-end fundraising with the Republican National Committee and some state parties. Clinton’s mega fundraising is with the Democratic National Committee and some state parties. The Illinois GOP and Democratic state parties are not part of the joint fundraising agreements.