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Fundraiser For Legislative Democrats Goes Virtual Amid The Pandemic

A fundraiser for Democratic lawmakers that was scheduled to take place in person is going digital.

Rep. Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) confirmed that an event to raise funds for the campaigns of top legislative Democrats will be hosted virtually, rather than outdoors at a Phoenix restaurant.

The event is one of many that will be held during “hell week,” a mad dash of fundraisers hosted by lobbyists the week before the next legislative session begins on Jan. 11. Lobbyists are prohibited from making campaign contributions to Arizona legislators during the session. The fundraisers are poised to continue amid the pandemic.

Bolding, the minority leader in the House, was listed as an attendee for an event hosted by the Dorn Policy Group. Sens. Rebecca Rios (D-Phoenix) and Lupe Contreras (D-Avondale) were also due to attend, as was Rep. Jennifer Longdon (D-Phoenix).

Bolding said he thought the event was always meant to be held online, though a fundraising invitation went out last week asking supporters to gather outdoors the morning of Jan. 6.

“We always wanted to ensure the health and safety of not only ourselves, members of the capitol community, that they are also taking, there’s precautions,” Bolding said. “And this fundraiser absolutely is a virtual one. And my understanding is that it was always a virtual one.”

Bolding said he has no plans to attend any other fundraising events, but would only do so if they are held virtually. 

And he expects his fellow House Democrats will take appropriate safety precautions during the pandemic.

“Each member, in their own way, has been taking precautions that they need, whether it be wearing face masks, social distancing in groups of 10 or 20 or less,” Bolding said. “So I expect that each member of the caucus will continue to take precautions and move forward as each member needs to.”

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.