When President Joe Biden scrambled to raise money for his re-election campaign last month, he tapped his running mate, Kamala Harris, to headline fundraising receptions across the country.

By all accounts, the events were a success, with one LGBTQ gala in New York City bringing in $1.25 million, more money than it had during any previous year in its decades-long history.

But, privately, the fundraisers did little to calm concerns among a group of high-powered Democratic donors over Harris’ place on the ticket.

Interviews with nine donors and top donor advisers revealed that some of the biggest money-men and women in the Democratic Party remain lukewarm to the vice president even as she has taken on more of the responsibility of wooing them. Two of those donors went so far as to say the party’s fundraising class was reluctant to host big-money events headlined by Harris because of concerns that she wouldn’t be enough of a draw. Others who have worked with her on fundraisers complained that there was little follow-up after the events.

Within fundraising circles, it is not uncommon to hear chatter about whether Biden should replace Harris on the ticket, with one particularly untethered-to-reality fantasy — that she gets nominated for the next Supreme Court vacancy — popping up “all the time,” as attorney John Morgan, a Biden bundler and major Democratic contributor, put it.

“When I talk to ’em, when I’m around people, everybody knows the problem, and everybody knows there’s no solution to the problem,” Morgan said of his conversations with other Biden supporters. “She’s not going anywhere. If you try to move her out, you’re gonna have the K Hive come at you with everything they have.”

Morgan has a reputation as one of the more outspoken — and politically bombastic — members of the Biden donor class. But his sentiments, to a degree, reflect the chill that persists between certain corners of the donor universe and the vice president’s office. It’s a chill that has created tension within the party right as the general election campaign starts coming into focus.

Harris’ place on the ticket has long been secure. And her defenders argue that sentiments like Morgan’s are not just damaging but farcical.

Vice presidents have historically not been as much of an attraction as the commander in chief for donors, who often expect access in return for their checks. One senior official at the Democratic National Committee said the same concerns circulated around Biden’s fundraising abilities when he was the vice president in 2012. Democratic officials also insist that Harris is a formidable fundraiser who has routinely met or exceeded her goals while headlining a dozen events for Biden and the DNC this year.

“She has been a superstar for us. She is willing to go anywhere,” said Chris Korge, finance chair of the Biden Victory Fund. “I cannot tell you how many donors, because that’s who I deal with, have told me after they see her in action … ‘She is really good.’ They literally give her superstar status. So whoever talked to you probably has not been to an event with her.”

The frictions echo a longstanding tension within the Democratic Party on the fault line of race. The traditional donor class is largely comprised of older, white men, and Black politicians have long argued that such networks aren’t fully accessible to them. Harris — the first Black, Asian and female vice president — has been a successful fundraiser in the past. But even her diehard supporters have grown fearful that a cool relationship between her and some donors could pose a challenge if she runs for president in 2028. Some of Biden’s top contributors, they said, likely wouldn’t be there for her in such a campaign.

Harris world has taken steps designed, it appears, to smooth things out. Some Democratic fundraisers said her team has been trying to bolster relationships with donors lately. They said that Harris has been more active at recent receptions and other events, working the crowds and going table-to-table to court donors.

“Part of what it takes is really working at the engagements, going to campaign events and, like Bill Clinton or Joe Biden, looking people in the eye and making them think you’re interested in them and you’re interested in forming relationships with them,” said Alan Kessler, a Biden bundler and longtime Democratic fundraiser. “I think she and anybody else at that level is capable of doing that.”

Some donors also said that there recently has been more outreach with them after events.

“She certainly has loyal friends who have been inspired to organize support for her over the years. For the first year many of those people felt disconnected,” said Neil Makhija, a Democratic fundraiser and president of the civic group Indian American Impact. “But that started to change post-Covid and in the second half of the term, where people were able to reconnect with the V.P. through gatherings at the residence and on the road.”

Korge acknowledged that he still gets complaints from donors who feel they weren’t appreciated after 2020. “Every day we try to do better,” he said, pointing to a donor summit in April with Biden and Harris as an example.

Democrats involved in fundraising said that staff turnover earlier in Harris’ term contributed to the difficulties she’s confronted on the donor circuit. For others, it was the primary debate four years ago where she attacked Biden that made them sour. There is a general nervousness about her poor approval ratings, even though she and Biden have similar numbers.

“They don’t necessarily blame her, but it is what it is. We want to win, and people know that Kamala’s got a lot of work to do to make up for a couple of years [of a lack of popularity],” said one Democratic donor who was granted anonymity to speak frankly.

Biden himself has never been a prolific fundraiser. He struggled to raise money for his first two bids for the White House before bringing in historic levels of funds when facing off against Donald Trump in 2020. But one bundler for the president said that Biden now generates more excitement among donors than his running mate. That bundler said that if they were asked to host a fundraiser headlined by Harris it would be harder to recruit fellow donors.

“People just don’t seem to be enamored with her,” the bundler added, speaking on condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of the situation.

Other bundlers denied that putting a Harris event together has proven to be a difficult draw. Former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, who hosted an event in Chicago with “at least 90” donors on Monday, said that the host committee eventually had to turn off the registration link because of so much interest. The event easily raised more than $300,000, which was $50,000 higher than their original goal.

Rogers said interest in seeing Harris hit a fever pitch after the vice president traveled to Florida and castigated the state and its governor, Ron DeSantis, for changes to its teaching standards surrounding the teaching of slavery.

“I got so many phone calls at the end. We had a wait list of people. And in fact when we shut down the site, I think it just gained momentum,” Rogers told POLITICO.

Still, some Democratic donors and strategists argued that the party would benefit by cultivating a more diverse universe of contributors to back Harris, both for the sake of the party itself or her personally if she decides to run for president in 2028.

Stefanie Brown James, co-founder of The Collective PAC, which helps elect African American candidates, said that Black women often face financial hurdles when running for higher office.

“We often see with Black women who are running statewide or federally that they don’t have maybe those entrenched relationships through the party infrastructure,” she said, “which is going to have a database that is primarily older, primarily white, primarily men.”

She said that figuring out how to best utilize Harris for fundraising “is a challenge, but something that needs to be figured out on the campaign side.”

Harris has done five fundraisers so far this year — and had two last year — with hosts and donors of color, according to a DNC official. But Korge, the Biden Victory Fund finance chair, said “we need to do better with Hispanics and Black donors, and I do think that part of my job … is for us to try to re-engage a lot of our donors of color as well as build a more diverse group of younger donors.”

Harris, he said, “is a great person to help us do that.”