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CNBC - June 18, 2019

Democratic front-runner Joe Biden on Monday appealed to a billionaire Republican donor for fundraising help in his presidential campaign. But the financier, Trump-supporting New York supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, declined.

Biden spoke to Catsimatidis, who has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion, for about 10 minutes at a fundraiser held at the New York home of short seller Jim Chanos, according to the businessman. When Biden asked for his help, “I just smiled,” Catsimatidis said.

Catsimatidis, who owns the New York supermarket chain Gristedes and ran for mayor in 2013, had praise for Biden, but he is sticking with President Donald Trump in 2020. Catsimatidis was an invited guest to the Monday fundraiser and did not contribute to Biden’s campaign to gain entrance.

“I think Joe Biden is the most common sense nominee of the 23 people running in the Democratic Party,” he said. “Monetarily, I did not commit to helping him but I will treat him fairly on my radio show.”

Catsimatidis’ decision to stick with Trump despite his goodwill toward Biden demonstrates the stranglehold the president has on the Republican donor class. Biden has claimed that he received encouragement from GOP donors.

“An awful lot of people have offered to help — and the people who are usually the biggest donors in the Democratic Party, and I might add some major Republican folks,” Biden said in February, before he launched his campaign. He also repeatedly said he is open to working with Republicans in Congress if he were to become president. ...
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