WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton embarked Monday on an aggressive campaign dash across the United States, further fueling questions about whether the front-running Democratic presidential candidate is having a harder time than expected locking down the Left in the face of a surprisingly strong challenge from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton is scheduled to attend over 20 fundraisers between Monday and July 3 — including 11 in New York — according to a list obtained by Fox News.
The push comes as Clinton, like all candidates on both sides of the aisle, is required to file disclosures with the Federal Election Commission at the end of the quarter. The bottom line on fundraising is seen as a major sign of strength or weakness for candidates across the board.
The list of Clinton fundraisers coming up includes high-profile events with some pretty big stars, including a concert Wednesday in New York with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, as well as a much-hyped “Evening with Hillary and Jon Bon Jovi” in Red Bank, N.J.
Many of the events come with recommendations on contributions: $2,700 for an individual, the legal primary maximum; or, that an attendee raise at least $27,000.
Clinton is fundraising Monday in Indianapolis and Minneapolis, then heads on Tuesday to Chicago and and St. Louis for more money events. Over the weekend, she made appearances in California and Washington state.
Democratic strategists privately admit there is some apprehension about enthusiasm being a little less than expected for Clinton, though Clinton aides have said the major reason they’re pumping up the fundraising is to keep up with the slew of Republican candidates raking in big money.
Nonetheless, Clinton’s fundraising may also be getting hampered by a surprisingly strong challenge from the left by Sanders, the Democratic Socialist who has thrown his hat into the ring and has been getting incredibly large crowds across the country. Sanders aides say he had 5,500 people turn out for a rally Saturday night in Denver.
Clinton allies now appear to be moving to lower expectations.
Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, who appeared Sunday on ABC’s “The Week,” claimed Clinton might even lose to Sanders in Iowa or New Hampshire.
“We shouldn’t be surprised if he (Sanders) does very well in New Hampshire or Iowa – and perhaps even win,” Cardona, who worked on Clinton’s 2008, said.
But veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi told Fox News the campaign push in the last few days is something all candidates do.
“They always step up in the final days,” he said. “I think Hillary Clinton is going to have a lot of problems, but raising money isn’t going to be one of them.”
Ed Henry currently serves as Fox News Channel’s (FNC) chief White House correspondent. He joined the network in June 2011.