Hillary Clinton raises campaign cash in Broward

Hillary Clinton wrapped up a South Florida fundraising trip on Friday, staying out of sight — except to contributors.

She spent about two hours in Parkland at midday, according to participants, departing with perhaps $275,000 for her presidential campaign and leaving behind a pumped up crowd of local Democrats.

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“It was fantastic. She was great. She was energetic,” said Andrew Weinstein, a Coral Springs lawyer and major fundraiser for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Ken Evans, Broward’s state Democratic committeeman, said Clinton’s speech “was incredible.”

And U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents Northwest Broward and Southwest Palm Beach counties, said Clinton “sounded an awful lot like somebody that most Americans would want to be the next president.”

The fundraiser was at the Parkland home of Mike Moskowitz, one of Broward’s most prominent money-raisers for Democratic candidates, and co-hosted by his son, State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, who represents Northwest Broward.

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Clinton spoke and answered questions for about 25 minutes, then mingled with attendees for about 90 minutes more, Moskowitz said. Everyone got time with the former secretary of state, former U.S. senator from New York and former first lady.

“It was a conversation with her. This was not a typical event where they had a photo line and everybody comes for a photo,” Moskowitz said.

Weinstein said Friday’s gathering reminded him of the kind of fundraising events Obama held in 2007, during the early stages of his first presidential campaign. “It was intimate and [Clinton] made sure that she made a personal connection with the folks that were there.”

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Clinton previewed what some of what the public may see as the campaign progresses. Attendees said she talked about the environment, children and education, mental health and substance abuse, Washington dysfunction, and “the power of the mind.”

“She said, ‘I’m not running for President [Bill] Clinton’s third term, and I’m not running for President [Barack] Obama’s third term. I’m running for my first term,’ ” Evans said. He and Weinstein both described Clinton as energetic.

Moskowitz said all of the 105 attendees paid — “nobody got a free pass” — which means the take from the $2,700 a head event could have topped $275,000.

Other elected officials who attended were State Reps. Lori Berman and Kevin Rader, who represent parts of Palm Beach County; Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen; Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis and Parkland Mayor Michael Udine. Also there: former South Florida U.S. Reps. Ron Klein and Larry Smith.

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On Thursday, Clinton held fundraisers in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. After the event at Moskowitz’s house, she was scheduled to travel to the Orlando area for a fundraiser hosted by John Morgan, a trail lawyer, Democratic fundraiser and principal backer of efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

The Florida Republican Party criticized Clinton for raising money but not holding public events.

“We’re asking Hillary to take a moment from her closed-door, expensive fundraisers to talk to the people of South Florida,” said Wadi Gaitan, the state Republican Party’s communications director. “People want a clarification [as to] why she keeps resorting to these staged, closed-door events with little access to the general public and to the media.”

Deutch said Republican criticism of Clinton raising campaign money is disingenuous, since so many Republican presidential candidates are courting billionaire donors to help fuel their campaign efforts.

“It’s May of 2015. She’s done public events. She’ll obviously do many, many more public events,” Deutch said, promising more Clinton public appearances in South Florida to come.

aman@sunsentinel.com, 954-356-4550

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