Biden, Clintons raise over $8 million at fundraiser in critical Virginia

U.S. President Biden and former Presidents Obama and Clinton participate in a discussion at Radio City Music Hall in New York

By Jeff Mason

MCCLEAN, Virginia (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's re-election effort raised $8.1 million at a fundraiser on Tuesday in Virginia, where Biden, joined by former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warned against a second presidential term from Republican rival Donald Trump.

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe hosted the event at his home in McClean, Virginia. Recent polls have shown Biden and Trump virtually tied in the state ahead of November's election.

Biden and the Clintons on Tuesday sought to contrast the incumbent president and former President Trump, whom Hillary Clinton called a "clear and present danger to our country and the world."

She also said that Biden's priorities for a second term include bolstering reproductive rights and lowering costs for Americans.

In his remarks, Biden referred to Trump's recent criminal convictions, after a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

"It's clear (Trump is) worried about preserving his freedom," Biden said.

"Democracy is on the ballot this year," he added.

Tuesday's fundraiser was held in Fairfax County, the most populous county in Virginia and one that Biden safely won in the 2020 election against Trump. Biden also won the state, receiving 54% versus Trump's 44%.

"We have to win Virginia," Bill Clinton said on Tuesday. "We have to win this election."

Virginia Democrats secured majorities in the state legislature after making abortion a central campaign issue last year.

The fundraiser on Tuesday followed a star-studded cash haul in California last weekend, when the president appeared with former President Barack Obama.

That event, which was attended by Hollywood stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, raised more than $30 million.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $51 million in April, the campaign said, lower than the $90 million they raised in March and less than $76 million Donald Trump and the Republican Party reported.

Democrats still maintained an overall cash advantage over Trump, and the Biden campaign continues to have a considerably larger war chest.

Some 41% of registered voters in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll said they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, while 39% picked Biden.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; writing by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Stephen Coates and Cynthia Osterman)