Steve Marcus | Reuters
Marc Lasry and Blair Effron, two of the most influential and prolific Wall Street Democratic fundraisers, are lining up behind the former vice president in the presidential primary race now that Sen. Kamala Harris has dropped out.
Lasry, a longtime investor and a part owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, is opening up his donor network to Biden just weeks after Harris withdrew from the Democratic primary for president, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Effron, who is the co-founder of investment firm Centerview Partners, has also indicated to allies that he is going to put his fundraising connections to help Biden, these people added.
Lasry and Effron were members of Harris’ finance committee, which included other Wall Street players such as Frank Baker, co-founder of Siris Capital Group. Effron and the Lasry family hosted several fundraising events for Harris before she dropped out.
Lasry and Effron are the latest Wall Street figures to back Biden. Alan Patricof, the founder and managing director of venture capitalist firm Greycroft, is also assisting the former vice president in the fundraising game.
The support of Lasry and Effron comes at a crucial time for Biden. He continues to lead in national poll averages among Democrats, while state polls indicate he is in for a tough battle during the first nominating contests of the 2020 season. The Iowa and Nevada caucuses, along with the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, take place in February. And Biden is looking to bolster his fundraising numbers after lagging rivals Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg during the third quarter.
Lasry and Effron were marquee fundraisers for former President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In 2012, Lasry, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, bundled over $500,000 for Obama. Four years later, he helped bring in over $100,000 for Clinton.
Effron bundled similar amounts for Obama and Clinton.
Lasry and Effron have each contributed $2,800 to Biden’s campaign, according to a Federal Election Commission filing.
Other top Harris supporters are being courted by allies close to various primary candidates, including associates of Biden, Buttigieg and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker.
Even with other moderate Democrats in the race, including new candidates former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Biden has remained the most prominent alternative to progressive candidates Warren and Sanders. Lasry has been critical of Warren, a Wall Street critic who has proposed a wealth tax, saying that the stock market would decline 20% to 30% if she were to win the presidency.
Lasry, Effron and a spokesman for Biden did not return a request for comment.
Biden’s campaign has already signaled that it improved its fundraising efforts since a sluggish third quarter, when they only finished raising $15 million. Biden went into the fourth quarter with only $9 million on hand.
The Associated Press reported that Biden’s fourth quarter fundraising efforts have far surpassed his previous haul, but the campaign has yet to disclose how much cash he will have on hand going into 2020.