PARK CITY — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrived in Utah Wednesday and spent about an hour at a private fundraiser before leaving for similar events in California.
The $500-a-person fundraiser — $2,700 for those who wanted a photo with Clinton — was held at the Park City home of former TV executives Amy and Barry Baker and was off-limits to the news media.
The fundraiser attracted more than 300 people and collected some $300,000 for Clinton's campaign.
"It's always terrific to have a national figure come to Utah," said Donald Dunn, who helped organize the event. "She had a lot of support here today for her campaign and we look forward to helping her become the next president of the United States.
Clinton congratulated the Utah Legislature for passing protections last session against housing and employment discrimination for the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"The crowd cheered," said Weston Clark, a former Salt Lake County Democratic Party chairman who has two children with his husband. "It was great that she clearly did her research."
Clinton also recognized Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who attended the fundraiser, for being on the forefront of LGBT rights, Clark said. Salt Lake City passed an anti-discrimination ordinance in 2009.
He said Clinton, who sounded a little hoarse, appeared comfortable and relaxed. She spoke about enjoying skiing and other outdoor activities in Utah, joking to the audience, "Don't tell the press that because they'll think I'm a real person."
Clinton, who wore a bright blue pantsuit, also reportedly drew laughs and applause when she said she was "not so optimistic to think we can carry Utah, but I'm sure we can do better than expected."
The former first lady, senator and secretary of state asked the audience to participate in next year's presidential caucuses in Utah, which will replace the usual primary election.
Utah Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Littlefield, who was one of about two dozen volunteers serving chocolate-dipped strawberries and checking guest lists, said Clinton made a point to personally thank them all.
"She came and said 'thank you' to all the volunteers and shook our hands," Littlefield said, as the candidate exited. "Admittedly, I'm a giant political nerd. I was so pumped up."
Both the Republican National Committee and the Utah GOP issued similar statements suggesting Clinton should be addressing the issues rather than raising money.
"It should come as no surprise the Hillary Clinton is choosing to spend her time schmoozing with high-dollar liberal donors in the face of serious credibility issues that have weakened her lead in the polls," Utah GOP Chairman James Evans said.
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