US Vice President Harris fundraises for 2024 in Georgia

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Biden holds Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will kick off fundraising for Democrats' 2024 re-election campaign in the swing state of Georgia on Friday, as she and President Joe Biden start to tap donors who contributed over $1 billion to the 2020 campaign.

Harris will headline the Democratic Party of Georgia's "Spring Soiree" fundraiser - a gathering expected to have hundreds of attendees. She will also attend a private fundraiser hosted by the Democratic National Committee, a White House official said.

The events come a day after Biden began his 2024 fundraising spree and attended two events in New York hosted by wealthy donors, where he addressed concerns about his age and said the upcoming campaign could be "a pretty ugly" one. The president launched his re-election bid in April with a promise to protect personal freedoms.

Georgia, which was considered safely Republican just a decade ago, has since seen significant change as new voters move in and Black voters, college-educated suburban women and young adults become more politically active.

Harris played a key role in mobilizing those voters ahead of the midterms with a focus on abortion rights, boosting turnout for Democrats. Biden won the state by a narrow margin in 2020.

Biden and Harris face significant political headwinds in their bid for a second term, including low approval numbers and concerns about Biden's age. Political strategists have said Harris's appeal as a fundraiser for the re-election campaign will be tested in the coming months.

Harris's 2020 campaign 'Kamala Harris for the People' raised over $40 million, with nearly 57% coming from large contributors, according to campaign finance records. When she joined Biden's ticket in August of 2020, he raised $48 million in 48 hours.

Harris cited a lack of "financial resources" when she dropped out of the 2020 presidential campaign but had a bundler donation list that spanned from Wall Street to Silicon Valley that was considered among the most valuable in the 2020 field. She is expected to tap those resources in 2024.

In April, Biden and Harris met 150 high-dollar donors and fundraisers in Washington, who will tap their networks to help fund their campaign over the next 18 months.

Biden's campaign in 2020 was the first presidential campaign in history to raise over $1 billion. Campaign officials say it may need well more than $1 billion this time to re-elect Biden, hold the Senate and regain control of the House of Representatives, which Republicans took in the 2022 midterm elections.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington, Editing by Chris Sanders and Edwina Gibbs)