ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Four of the biggest names in the Democratic race for president are in Atlanta on Thursday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Congressman Beto O'Rourke all will take part in events put on by the Democratic National Committee.
The biggest event of the day is the IWillVote Gala, an evening fundraiser with tickets starting at $1,000.
Booker kicked off Thursday's events by speaking at the African American Leadership Summit at the Westin Hotel. He urged fellow Democrats not to make the 2020 race about President Donald Trump, but instead about the issues that impact Americans such as health care and economic opportunity. Booker said that's the key to winning even traditionally conservative states like Georgia.
"What we need to do is to get people out to vote," Booker told reporters after his remarks. "This is a blue state, and it means that we need to go back to organizing and build a 50-state party. Texas is a blue state. Iowa is a blue state if you get people organized and out to vote. We have hundreds of thousands -- for example -- of African-Americans that are not registered in this state. Well, there's your difference right there for many elections.
"So, I want this not to be an election about one guy in one office. This has got to be a movement election because in communities like rural Georgia, in tough, below-the-poverty-line census tracts in Atlanta, this is not just -- it can't just be about going back to the days before Donald Trump because there were challenges in rural Georgia before Donald Trump was elected."
Buttigieg addressed the summit Thursday afternoon and talked about making investments in affordable housing.
He also stressed the importance of participating in democracy and making voting easier.
"We aren’t truly a democracy when states like North Carolina target black voters, in the words of the 4th Circuit, with 'almost surgical precision.' " Buttigieg said.
"Or when voters in predominantly black neighborhoods have to stand in line for four hours to vote for Stacey Abrams, who should be governor of Georgia right now. So we’ve got to challenge voter suppression targeting communities of color. We need to make it easier — not harder — to vote."
At the Democratic National Committee’s Gala at Flourish in Buckhead, the tag line for the night was ‘I will vote.’
It was a message reiterated by numerous top Democrats in an effort to oust President Trump.
Included among the speakers were DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Congresswoman Lucy McBath and others.
The top tier speaker was the democratic party’s front runner for president Former Vice President Joe Biden. He said every child deserves a quality education and he would triple the budget for education. He pledged to close tax loopholes for the rich and fight to uphold Roe versus Wade. Biden said he’ll stand with the Democratic nominee, whoever it may be. He said it was important to keep the Democratic victories going after the party took control of the house.
“We have put a check on Donald Trump Trumps power and America is in better hands because Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the house and we’re going to be in Better hands when Donald Trump is gone. Whomever the nominee is I will support, I’ll flat support that nominee,” said Biden.
Others speakers at the Thursday night event included presidential contender Beto O’Rorke from Texas and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams who spoke of overcoming voter suppression in our state and elsewhere.
“We know voter suppression does not negate voter turnout. It’s not a proof point that voter suppression is real. It’s an antidote to voter suppression. We show up when they try to tell us we can’t and when we show up, when we show out, we show people who we can be,” said Abrams.
Based on the DNC’s website the fundraiser cost patrons anywhere from fifty thousand dollars for a table with premium seating all the way down to one thousand dollars for a single ticket.