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Fundraising trail for Hillary to lead Bill Clinton to return stop in Valley

By David Skolnick

Thursday, November 5, 2015

By David Skolnick


Former President Bill Clinton will be the special guest at a Nov. 19 fundraiser for his wife’s presidential campaign at the Canfield residence of Bruce and Rori Zoldan.

The invitation lists contributions for the campaign of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for the 2016 presidency, from $500 to $5,400 to attend. Also, the campaign will accept $27,000 from so-called bundlers, who get others to donate the $2,700-per-person maximum primary election contribution amount and provide the money in a bundle to a campaign.

“My relationship with the Clintons goes back several years,” said Bruce Zoldan, president and chief executive officer of B.J. Alan, a Youngstown-based fireworks company, and prominent local political donor. “It’s an honor to host someone of his stature.”

Up to 250 people are expected, he said.

“A little over a year ago, I was at an event with President Clinton, and I asked if I could help with any efforts for Hillary,” Zoldan said. “We got a recent call from the campaign asking if we’d like to host an event, and I said, ‘Absolutely.’”

This would be Clinton’s third visit to Zoldan’s house for fundraisers.

Clinton attended a March 2008 event there during his wife’s failed presidential bid that year, and raised money in January 2010 for then-Gov. Ted Strickland’s unsuccessful re-election campaign.

Also, Hillary Clinton was the main attraction in October 2006 for an event to raise money for Sherrod Brown, elected to the U.S. Senate a month later.

“I’m always happy that contributors in the Mahoning Valley and bundlers like Bruce step up to the plate,” said Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras. “Bruce is a rock-star bundler for us. It helps our area get the attention of presidential campaigns.”

Zoldan said the event is “unique” in that the Clinton campaign is encouraging donors to bring their children. Bill Clinton will spend time at the event speaking with the children, Zoldan said.

A $500 contribution gets you in the door.

For $1,000, a person can bring along two children under age 16. A photo with Clinton for the person and two children costs $2,700.

It’s $5,400 for two adults and two children, which includes a photo with the former president.

Those who give $10,000 – in a bundled amount – will get a photo and access to a small reception with Clinton.

The $27,000 amount includes the photo, reception and membership in the Hillstarters program, which allows bundlers to meet with the presidential candidate.

Clinton campaign spokesmen declined to comment to The Vindicator about the Zoldan fundraiser.

Zoldan said he would welcome certain Republicans, without saying who, running for president for a fundraiser at his family house.

“If I was asked by the other side of the aisle, if it’s the right person, I’d be proud to show off the Mahoning Valley,” he said. “I have friends on both sides of the aisle, and that’s how Washington should operate.”

The Zoldans had a fundraiser for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is running for the presidency, in 2013.