Joe Biden will campaign in Seattle on Friday, with fundraiser at home of Amazon executive

Seattle News

Former Vice President Joe Biden will raise campaign cash Friday in Seattle at a pair of private fundraisers, including one at the home of a top Amazon executive.

The Democratic presidential contender is scheduled to attend an afternoon reception in the Madison Park neighborhood, hosted by Seattle philanthropist Janet Ketcham, followed by an evening event at the Queen Anne neighborhood home of David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel and senior vice president.

Biden has scheduled no public appearances.

Some local activists are planning a protest of the Zapolsky fundraiser at nearby Kerry Park, with speakers including recently reelected Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who made criticism of Amazon’s political spending a central campaign theme.

Admission to the Zapolsky event was set at $2,800 per person, according to an invitation. The earlier fundraiser had been selling tickets starting at $1,000, but organizers this week sent out an email saying they were adding some $500 tickets.

Biden last campaigned in the state in June, speaking at private fundraisers in Seattle and Medina. Then, as now, he made no public appearances, unlike some of his 2020 rivals. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a crowd of 15,000 to a campaign rally at Seattle Center in August, and New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 at Gas Works Park in May.

Asked about Biden’s itinerary not including any public events, state Democratic Party chair Tina Podlodowski said in a statement: “We understand all of the Democratic challengers need resources to compete against the President. However, we’ve encouraged all the 2020 candidates to do public events and get to know the great people of our state, and not just here in Seattle.”


Washington’s presidential primary has been moved ahead from previous years. It is scheduled for March 10, 2020, just a month after New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.

Biden’s Seattle visit is part of a West Coast campaign swing.

At a pair of fundraisers in Los Angeles on Thursday, Biden decried the school shooting earlier that day in Santa Clarita, where a 16-year-old high school student pulled a gun from his backpack, killing two classmates and wounding three others, before shooting himself in the head.

Biden said he was “sick and tired of people talking about prayers and thoughts,” blasted the power of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers as “sickening” and spoke of the anxiety felt by today’s youths.

“You know what their single biggest concern they have is? Getting shot in school,” he said. “What has become of us? ‘Getting shot in school.’”

This story will be updated. Seattle Times staff reporter Paul Roberts contributed to this report.

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