MINNEAPOLIS, MN – United Healthcare CEO Dave Wichmann will host a fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders at his home in Edena, Minnesota, BeetPress has learned. Tickets to this extravagant event, catered by St. Genevieve and Tilia head chef Steven Brown, begin at $2,700 per plate, and upwards of $10,000 to share a table with the Vermont Senator.
Wichmann, who was a lead bundler for Sander’s 2016 presidential campaign, has been privately telling friends that he’s likely to fully support Sander’s 2020 bid. Also expected to attend are other healthcare industry leaders including Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos and Eli Lilly CFO Joshua Smiley.
“Mr. Wichmann is a major fundraiser, and having him in your court is a major boost”, said a Minnesota donor familiar with the event. “If Bernie wants to remain competitive in the [democratic] primaries, he needs to start bringing in big cash.”
When reached for comment, the Sander’s Campaign Deputy Political Director Sarah Badawi told BeetPress “$27 donations here and there are good, but to really move the needle we need the big money. Mr. Sanders is committed to aligning himself with the elites of all sectors of the economy”, adding “Our number one goal is to defeat Trump in 2020”.
A key component of Sander’s platform has been healthcare reform, and he hopes that by rubbing shoulders with leaders in the global healthcare industry, he’ll receive the institutional support that he’ll need to achieve his vision. Healthcare executives have expressed optimism in Sanders’ willingness to enter their sphere. “Our support for Senator Sanders is really an investment into the future of our industry”, said Beth Bierbower, a senior executive at Humana who is expected to attend the fundraiser, adding “We’re excited for his commitment to our industry and the strong connections that we are making with the Senator. He really shares our core values”.
Bernie Sanders has a full schedule in the upcoming months including planned fundraisers with top-level executives at Lockheed Martin, CoreCivic, and Citigroup.