Clinton fundraiser draws hundreds to downtown Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Organizers of Tuesday’s event that brought Hillary Clinton to the Queen City said after it could be the largest fundraiser for a democrat in Buffalo’s history.

Jeremy Zellner, Erie County’s Democratic Party chairman, said more than $300,000 was raised, with 300 people in attendance at the Hyatt Regency. He said most of them paid the $1,000 just to get in the door, and “many” paid the $2,700 to attend the VIP portion of the event.

“I think the fact that you had so many folks come here to support someone who is worked her entire life for middle-class families and working families, and underprivileged children and women’s rights,” Zellner said. “That’s why people came to support her in our community and to help put her in the White House because she’s a fighter for those people.”

Because of the interest, the event was moved from a smaller space in EB Green’s Steakhouse to the hotel’s grand ballroom.

“I know that Buffalo is still a really important place in her heart,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who introduced Clinton to supporters at the Hyatt. “And when she is president of the United States, she will not forget us. She talked about the economy. She talked about equal rights, equal pay, which is so important for women. And she really hit all the high notes and showed her incredible sense of humor.”

There were very few signs of protest for her visit; one only seen near the hotel: A banner hanging from a nearby parking garage read “We don’t believe you” and mentioned the Black Lives Matter group.

The former Secretary of State arrived in Buffalo on the eve of Veterans Day, and on the same day she called for “fundamental changes” within the department of veterans affairs. She sparked a firestorm Monday on the campaign trail when she said the problems in the VA weren’t as widespread as previously reported.

Clinton and her staff spent much of Tuesday responding to the backlash, and said during a round table discussion in New Hampshire she would “modernize” the agency and “overhaul” its governance.

And coming from New Hampshire, pushed back her arrival until just before 745.

“It was certainly worth the wait,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “She gave an excellent speech. She electrified the crowd. She talked about issues that resonate with everyday Americans. She talked about protecting the rights of all members of this country. She talked about restoring our country’s standing in the world using diplomacy and working with other nations.”

Meanwhile, the state’s top democrat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, did not attend Tuesday’s event, despite a handful of trips during the past several months promoting his Buffalo Billion plan. Cuomo was in New York City during the day, where he made the announcement about the state’s minimum wage. He also attended another fundraiser, so a schedule conflict kept him away from WNY.

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