By Danny Schrafel
Democratic fundraiser Jon Cooper bucked conventional political wisdom in 2007 when he declined to support Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential ambitions and threw his support behind up-and-coming U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.
In 2015, he’s doing it again. Cooper, a former six-term Suffolk County legislator and businessman from Lloyd Harbor, has been tapped to be the national finance chair of Draft Biden 2016, a super PAC formed in hopes of convincing Biden to run for president.
Citing comments from people he described as Biden’s “inner circle,” Cooper said in an interview Monday that he expects Biden to announce his presidential bid by the end of the month.
“For me, supporting the effort to draft Joe Biden to run for president was a no-brainer,” Cooper said. “So many of the prominent fundraisers from 2012 have been waiting for a candidate who can inspire even a fraction of the energy we felt in the Obama campaign. Joe is that candidate.”
Cooper was a top bundler for Obama in 2012, raking in over $1 million for his re-election campaign, and he expects other Obama backers to join the cause.
“There’s a broad base of support for Joe among both Obama fundraisers and grassroots volunteers. Clearly, nobody is better suited to carry on President Obama’s legacy and continue the great work they’ve done together,” Cooper said. “When you factor in Joe’s integrity, honesty, and family values, that’s exactly the sort of candidate the American people are yearning for.”
Previously, Cooper held fundraisers for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and had announced conditional support for him, expecting Biden wouldn’t run – but still hoping that he would.
“Biden was always my top choice. But the consensus had been in the media and beyond that he wasn’t running, particularly after the tragic passing of his son, Beau,” Cooper said of the former Delaware Attorney General who died of brain cancer May 30.
But, according to published reports, Biden has received encouragement from his sons to run, including from Beau shortly before his death. Another sign cited by supporters of an impending run is the fact that Biden’s camp hasn’t tried to quash the draft effort.
After a meeting with the Draft Biden team and a little back-and-forth, Cooper signed on as their fundraising czar.
“I’m very excited to have this role in the national campaign,” Cooper said.