Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to media at the Delaware Memorial Day Ceremony, in New Castle, Delaware on May 30, 2019. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden will visit Seattle on June 29, making his first stop in Washington state since declaring his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Biden's campaign announced the pending trip Friday but did not provide details of his itinerary. No public events have been announced.

Invitations circulated by his campaign's local fundraising consultant indicate Biden is scheduled to attend a late-afternoon fundraiser at the home of Seattle public-relations executive Roger Nyhus, followed by an evening event at the Medina home of former Microsoft President Jon Shirley.

Tickets to the Nyhus event start at $1,000 per person. For $2,800, donors get a "sponsor" designation and a photo with Biden, according to the invitation. The Medina event tickets start at $2,800 per person.

Both Shirley and Nyhus are sought-after political patrons for candidates seeking a cash infusion from the Seattle area's passel of wealthy Democratic donors. President Barack Obama attended big-money events at Shirley's home in 2011 and 2013, while Nyhus has feted members of Congress, Seattle mayors and others.

Kevin Geiger, the political fundraising consultant organizing the local events for Biden, declined to comment when reached by phone Friday. Nyhus also declined to comment.

The Biden visit is scheduled shortly after the first Democratic Party primary debate, scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Miami. That 20-candidate debate will be split over two nights with half the candidates appearing each night.

Biden, a longtime Delaware senator who served two terms as vice president with President Obama, has shot to a lead in early polling among 2020 Democratic contenders. Supporters argue he's best situated to peel away working class and moderate voters who helped elect Donald Trump president in 2016.

But Biden has had some early stumbles and faces criticism from the more progressive wing of the party for past stances, including support for the Iraq war and for a get-tough-on-crime bill in the 1990s. Biden on Thursday backtracked past support for the federal abortion-funding ban known as the Hyde Amendment, saying he now opposes it.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, another 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has hit Biden on the abortion flip-flop and also has criticized the former VP's climate agenda as "lacking teeth." He has also pressed Biden to join his calls for a climate-focused debate that has been rejected by the Democratic National Committee.

Biden's Seattle trip is part of a West Coast swing; he's scheduled to be in San Francisco on June 28.

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