BOISE, Idaho — The 2020 presidential election may still over a year away, but one major Democratic candidate is trying to drum up support in Idaho.
Former Vice President Joe Biden stopped in Boise on Tuesday for a fundraising event after he visited Sun Valley on Monday. Around 300 people filled the Oppenheimer residence on Warm Springs Avenue to meet him and hear his message.
Supporters paid anywhere from $100 to $2,800 to attend the event. Biden is still the front runner in the race, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday.
Supporters slowly filed into the residence awaiting Biden’s arrival.
"I am here to hopefully support the next president of the United States, Joe Biden,” Pam Chiarella, a Biden supporter, said.
The event drew many prominent Democrats. Boise Mayor David Bieter attended along with City Council President Lauren McLean and Boise City Council member TJ Thomson. Two state senators also attended - Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking and Sen. Grant Burgoyne.
"We need to restore sanity and I think he is a very capable, experienced public servant,” Burgoyne said. “Who has demonstrated the wisdom and stability we need in the White House."
Supporters who attended the fundraising event believe Biden is the Democratic Party's best chance of taking back the White House.
"I think people who are of moderate centrist disposition with progressive positions are going to stand a much better chance at beating Trump in the 2020 election,” Burgoyne said.
"Without a doubt, Joe Biden is the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump,” Thomson said.
Supporters touted his experience and time with former President Barack Obama as reasons why they support him.
"I can't tell you how glad and grateful I am that someone who is running for president will come acknowledge small states like mine in Idaho,” Chiarella said.
One supporter told KTVB that Biden addressed education and making healthcare affordable for everyone. The former vice president also talked about the importance of early childhood education, and his plan to make two years of community college free for students and creating universal Pre-K.
"Guess what? There are $1,630,000,000,000 in tax loopholes! If you can justify more than a a trillion two of that, I'll eat the book," Biden said at the event. "There's no redeeming value for it."
He also talked about how important it is the middle class does well in the economy.
"When the middle class does well, the poor have a way up and the wealthy do very well, and in the meantime, we can provide social, political and economic stability," Biden said.
On the topic of President Donald Trump, Biden talked about the dangers of re-electing the Republican candidate.
"We can deal with -- it will be difficult -- four years of Donald Trump's destruction in the nation, but eight years will fundamentally change who we are as a people," Biden said. "Based on the past events we saw in Dayton, they may be running out of tears, but I pray they're not running out of will. We don't need any more thoughts and prayers out of Washington. We need action. We need strength."
Biden's team announced a list of some new endorsements from Idaho leaders. That included names of the two current state senators, Burgoyne and Ward-Engelking.
Thomson was also on the list along with Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan, who is also a member of the Boise School Board.
Below is a full list of the endorsements:
- Larry LaRocco, former U.S. Representative
- Richard Stallings, former U.S. Representative
- Grant Burgoyne, state senator
- Janie Ward-Engelking, state senator
- Hy Kloc, state representative
- Chris Abernathy, state representative
- AJ Balukoff, former Democratic nominee for governor and former Boise School Board of Trustees
- TJ Thomson, Boise City council member
- Elfreda Higgins, Garden City council member and former state representative
- Dennis Doan, Boise School Board Trustee, Boise Fire chief, and former president of Professional Firefighters of Idaho
- Jim Walker, secretary-Treasurer of IAFF Local 149
Biden the second Democratic candidate to visit Boise this year, after Julian Castro's visit back in February.
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