Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) held a Martha’s Vineyard fundraiser just one week after the island reported a spike in coronavirus cases, which followed a massive star-studded birthday party former President Barack Obama hosted there.
McAuliffe, who is running for governor again, held his fundraiser at the multimillion-dollar vacation home of Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in Vineyard Haven, according to an invitation of the event shared by the New York Times.
The high-dollar “cocktails and conversation” event for McAuliffe asked for a “suggested contribution” of $1,000 for guests, $2,500 for sponsors, $5,000 for cohosts, and $10,000 for hosts, per the invitation:
Attendees paid $1k+/ticket.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) August 19, 2021
Ken Vogel of the Times noted Warner — who is chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is one of several committees with jurisdiction over the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan — said during the fundraiser that he “intends to investigate Afghanistan collapse, per someone familiar.”
McAuliffe, who once served as chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been associated with wealthy and powerful campaign contributors, including the Clintons and, at one point, Harvey Weinstein.
The Virginia Democrat made headlines last week after he abandoned a virtual forum about disability issues to attend a fundraiser in Las Vegas with Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), whose ex-wife has accused him of domestic abuse.
McAuliffe’s latest fundraiser follows Obama’s 60th birthday party in Edgartown on August 7, which raised eyebrows for its celebrity-packed invitation list and photos and video that emerged of crowds and maskless attendees, including Obama himself. While the party took place at Obama’s private home, the event involved at least a couple hundred guests descending all at once on the small island, which is designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an area of “high” coronavirus transmission.
The Daily Mail, which obtained several visuals of Obama’s event, observed an uptick in cases on the island in the week following the former president’s celebration. The outlet noted the Harbor View Hotel — which several celebrities, including Bradley Cooper, checked into — “was among three new COVID clusters in Edgartown, along with the Alchemy Bistro & Bar with 14 cases, and Port Hunter restaurant with five, according to local health officials”:
Erykah Badu and H.E.R. turning up with Barack Obama at his 60th birthday bash. pic.twitter.com/cPfBU167PT
— Rap Alert (@rapalert4) August 8, 2021
On the day of McAuliffe’s event, the Vineyard Gazette indicated cases on the island were continuing to surge, reporting, “Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is seeing its largest numbers of Covid and non-Covid related patients since the pandemic began, testing emergency room capacity as cases spike on-Island during the peak of summer.”
McAuliffe is facing Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin, a former CEO of the Carlyle Group who is campaigning as a political outsider against the former governor. The race is the most high-profile of the election off-year as polls show the two candidates neck-and-neck and state data reveals expenditures of more than $10 million from each candidate during the first half of the year.
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].