Politics

Megadonor Alan Patricof sticks with embattled Biden but says he must win South Carolina

Key Points
  • Venture capitalist and Democratic megadonor Alan Patricof told CNBC he's staying with Joe Biden but said the former vice president must "show his stuff" in the next two nominating contests.
  • "It's critical" that Biden wins South Carolina and "he's got to produce in Nevada," said Patricof.
  • A day after two major Biden fundraisers, Patricof said attendance at the events indicted support remains strong.
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Patricof: It's critical Biden wins South Carolina to continue raising money

Alan Patricof, tech investor and major Democratic donor, told CNBC on Friday he's staying with Joe Biden — but said the former vice president must "show his stuff" in the next two nominating contests to reinvigorate his run for the presidency.

"It's critical" that Biden wins South Carolina and "he's got to produce in Nevada," said Patricof, founder and managing director of the Greycrof venture capital firm. "He's said it. Donors feel it. Everybody is sticking with Joe until they see what happens there."

Nevada holds caucuses on Feb. 22, followed by South Carolina's primary on Feb. 29, just days before Super Tuesday on March 3, when a third of the delegates are up for grabs in 16 nominating primaries and caucuses.

A day after two major Biden fundraisers in New York, Patricof said on "Squawk Box" that attendance at the events indicated support remains strong.

The rooms "were packed," said Patricof. Biden rallied more than 250 Wall Street and big money donors Thursday, in hopes of keeping support after stumbles in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"It could have felt like a friendly funeral — but it didn't," another donor told CNBC in a brief interview as she exited one of the fundraisers.

TWEET 1

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg came out on top in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Biden finishing in fourth and fifth, respectively, in those contests. Biden is polling as the front-runner in Nevada and South Carolina.

At the second donor event, Biden emphasized that Iowa and New Hampshire are largely white states, and said the majority of black voters "has not spoken."

"I have overwhelming support in the African American community because they know me," Biden said. I've been engaged my whole life, from the time I've been a kid in the civil rights movement straight through to being Barack's vice president. And so I'm looking forward to getting down to South Carolina which we will win. And we will win, I think, handily. And into Super Tuesday."

Biden raised almost $800,000 at the two events.

The Bloomberg factor

Patricof also told CNBC that billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's late entry into Democratic presidential race "confused people." Bloomberg is self-funding and concentrating his considerable wealth on the Super Tuesday contests.

"The same people who would be supportive of Mike are the same people who would be supportive to Biden," Patricof said. "A lot of people, certainly the New York people, as I am, are a friend of Mike. ... But in the end, voters are what counts."

At the fundraisers Thursday, Biden declined to answer questions from reporters about Bloomberg's rise in national polling.

TWEET 2

Patricof said donors are sticking with the candidates they started with "until it runs its course." He refused to say whom he might support if Biden can't right the ship.

"I think it's fair to say I've always been a friend of Mike's and he's a very viable, formidable candidate. His ads are overwhelming at this point," said Patricof.

Bloomberg, worth about $60 billion, has spent more than $250 million on TV and radio ads and $45 million to $50 million on digital, according to Advertising Analytics and Acronym.

Last week, two days after the messy Iowa results were coming in decidedly against Biden, Patricof tipped his hand a bit more, saying "You could probably guess who my No. 2 would be." He then said, never mentioning Bloomberg by name, that he likes the letter "B."