Mayor Pete’s Bad Vintage

Just did this article with my husband Steve Early for the LA Progressive

Mayor Pete’s Favorite Wine-Maker Hasn’t Been A Good Napa Neighbor by Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon

Back Story on a Billionaire

When wealthy Californians pay $2,800 to meet a presidential candidate, they expect to be wined and dined.

But, thanks to a recent debate exchange between Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, future fund-raisers among members of the Democratic Party’s donor class will probably not be held in the nearest wine cave.

Warren made this venue a bit radioactive on December 19 when she denounced Buttigieg for partying with several hundred well-heeled supporters at the Hall Rutherford winery in Napa Valley.

The vineyard owners, Craig and Kathryn Hall, have given $2.4 million to Democratic candidates, party campaign committees, and PACs since the 1980s. But, on this occasion, the disclosure that the Halls served $350 bottles of cabernet sauvignon under a chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals drew the populist wrath of Senator Warren.

“Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren declared, a sentiment shared by Bernie Sanders, who later needled Buttigieg, during the same debate, about the 40 or more billionaires and their spouses who have contributed to his campaign.

Amid the resulting negative publicity, Mayor Pete’s own billionaire hosts tried to position themselves as ordinary civic-minded Democrats, sympathetic to his positions on climate change, gun safety, and immigration.

“I am just a pawn here,” real estate developer Craig Hall complained to the New York Times.  “They are making me out to be something that’s not true.  And they picked the wrong pawn.  It’s just not fair.”



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