Hillary Rodham Clinton opted out of a fundraiser for Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tuesday to spend time with her new granddaughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky — and Charlotte’s mom, Chelsea.
But the former secretary of state sent a well-known stand-in to Potomac to stump for Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown: her husband (and the proud grandfather), Bill Clinton.
The former president told 450 guests who paid between $250 and $4,000 to attend the event that Brown has “the right priorities, he’ll do it in the right way, and you know it because of what he has done as lieutenant governor.”
“Anthony Brown will not waste one single solitary day,” Bill Clinton said, according to a news release issued by the Brown campaign. “He will be building a future that you can all share — and that’s why you should elect him.”
Chelsea Clinton gave birth to the Clintons’ first grandchild Friday night. In a statement on Saturday, Bill and Hillary Clinton said they are “blessed, grateful, and so happy” to become grandparents. Hillary Clinton has canceled several events this week to spend time with her daughter and granddaughter.
“I am very grateful to President Clinton for changing his schedule to travel to Maryland and attend our event,” Brown said in a statement. “I appreciate and respect Secretary Clinton’s decision to stay and spend time with her daughter and new granddaughter, Charlotte.”
The fundraiser at the sprawling home of David and June Trone, who made their fortune selling discounted wine, beer and liquor, netted $1.2 million, the campaign said.
Valets greeted guests at the end of a driveway so long that swanky, oversize golf carts ferried people up to the house hidden in the woods. One neighbor out for a walk marveled at just how many cars were parked in the neighborhood, including on the lawn of the gated home next door.
The arrival line was a who’s who of Maryland politics, with nearly all Democratic members of the Maryland congressional delegation making an appearance, along with state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch.
Clinton arrived in a small motorcade that bypassed the golf carts and drove straight to the house.Busch said the former president joked about the lavish setting: “He said, ‘It makes the White House look like public housing.’ ”
The former president praised Maryland for expanding its Medicaid program, Busch said, and warned that states that refuse to do so will pay in uncompensated care. Clinton praised Brown for his work on health care, education and foster care, Busch said.
The Clintons have been longtime backers of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Brown, who were both early supporters of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run. In May, Bill Clinton headlined a fundraiser for Brown that generated close to $1 million, organizers said.
But the friendship has gotten a little more complicated now that the term-limited O’Malley is leaving office and — like Hillary Clinton — is mulling a 2016 presidential bid. O’Malley also attended Tuesday’s fundraiser.
Brown will face Republican nominee Larry Hogan, an Anne Arundel County businessman, in the November election.
John Wagner contributed to this report.