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Originally published November 21, 2013 at 8:41 PM | Page modified November 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM

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President Obama in Seattle on Sunday for fundraisers

President Obama plans a fundraising swing through Seattle on Sunday Nov. 24, attending two events to raise money for Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.


Seattle Times political reporter

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President Obama plans a Sunday fundraising stop in Seattle as part of a West Coast swing to raise money for Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

For most locals, Obama’s visit may mean no more than a glimpse at the presidential motorcade zipping past. No public events had been announced as of Thursday.

But an exclusive group of wealthy Democratic donors will shell out up to $32,400 per couple to get up-close access to the president at a pair of political fundraisers.

On Sunday afternoon, Obama is scheduled to headline a “discussion” at the North Seattle home of Sonya and Tom Campion, according to an invitation circulated in local Democratic circles.

The price tag for that event is $20,000 per person (or $32,400 per couple), with the money benefiting the Democratic National Committee.

“Our Party, led by President Obama, is focused on building an economy that lasts — an economy that lifts up all Americans,” the invitation reads. “Since we do not take money from special interests, corporate lobbyists and political-action committees, we must rely on dedicated Democrats like you.”

Tom Campion is co-founder of youth-clothing chain Zumiez. Sonya Campion is a longtime professional philanthropic fundraiser. The couple launched the Campion Foundation in 2005 to promote wilderness preservation and ending homelessness.

The Campions have given more than $750,000 to Democratic federal political committees and candidates over the past five years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Later Sunday, Obama is scheduled to attend a dinner and cocktail reception at the Medina home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.

That event, to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), also will feature House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., according to an invitation.

Democratic members of Washington’s congressional delegation also are expected to attend.

The cost is $16,200 per person (or $32,400 per couple), with donors getting a receiving-line photo with the president.

It’s the second time in the last few years that Shirley has hosted Obama at his 27,000-square-foot home on the shores of Lake Washington. On Obama’s last visit, in 2011, he mistakenly called his host “Mark” before being corrected by his small audience of donors.

Shirley and his late wife, Mary Shirley, have been among the area’s biggest arts benefactors, and helped finance the Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle.

They have donated nearly $200,000 to Democratic political committees and candidates since 2009. Jon Shirley also aided Obama as a fundraising “bundler” during the 2012 campaign, raising between $100,000 and $200,000 for the president’s re-election effort.

The president’s Seattle visit comes as his administration faces withering criticism for the fumbled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, enrollment website.

Unlike in many parts of the country, sign-ups for private health insurance and Medi-caid have surged in Washington state under the law.

But anguish over the changes to the insurance market has hit here, too.

Most of the 290,000 Washingtonians who had insurance on the individual market received letters this fall telling them the policies would be canceled because they don’t meet the requirements of the new law. Some residents qualify for subsidies to help purchase new plans. Others face the prospect of having to buy more expensive insurance without help.

A White House official confirmed Obama’s plans to travel to Seattle for fundraising Sunday but had no further information.

After his Sunday stops in Seattle, Obama is scheduled to attend similar fundraisers on Monday in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @Jim_Brunner



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