Hello party people! We interrupt our annual August nap for a birthday celebration. That’s right, folks: good old Party Time turns 6 today!
We threw – what else? – a party last year to mark five years of keeping our finger on the political party pulse, collecting invites for all of those receptions, pheasant hunts and get-togethers at Johnny’s Half Shell. Last year, we counted a total of 17,807 events in the Party Time database, but our latest check on the numbers shows we’ve now logged 19,631 invites. Whew!
And that embarrassment of riches is thanks largely to you, dear readers. We couldn’t do it without your contributions (and we don’t mean the kind our party animals collect, although the Sunlight Foundation, which created and maintains this unique database of political fundraisers, could always accept a few dollars to help feed our hungry bloggers and data-entry team).
Meanwhile, PT’s needs are far more rarefied. As the go-to place for a big-picture look at political fundraising – from the traditional to the outlandish – Party Time relies on an army of friends to send us the goods on what’s going on in their hometowns.
Which reminds us: Do you have an invite, or know of a fundraiser in the works? You know what to do! Upload whatever you’ve got right here, or email us. We take it all: invites for federal, state and local politicians; news clippings and guest lists; event menus and party photos. Send it our way!
Before we dig into that delicious-looking b-day cupcake, we should point out that it actually hasn’t been such a sleepy August. The pols are partying hard this summer recess, gearing up for 2014 and jockeying for 2016 (we see you, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md.).
In the past, August has seen a lull in fundraising fun, but not so this year. We’ve tallied 122 parties this month, compared with last year’s 89. And 2014’s total is more than double the number of invites (54) we have for August 2010, the last midterm-sans-presidential-election cycle.
Does that mean more partying or are we just hearing about more events? Who could know! Either way, keep those invites coming!
Graphic: Caitlin Weber/Sunlight FoundationTweet
Hey party people! Welcome to August, a month known for its sweltering humidity and Congress’s enviable five-week summer recess. As Capitol Hill quiets down, Party Time also plans for a break of our own. We will hit the pause button on our weekly roundups, and plan to be back in September. But our hunt for fundraiser invites never ends! If you know of something good going on, send it our way! If it’s good enough, we’ll break our moratorium for a PT extra!! Go ahead: We challenge you to wake us up from our long August nap.
It’s been a hectic year, with Party Time counting almost 850 fundraisers so far in 2014. But as the countdown to Election Day continues, we are confident that plenty more partying is in our near future. Have you heard of a fundraiser, or do you have an invite? You know what to do! Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invites right here.
But before we hit the pool and order a summertime adult beverage, let’s check out this week in political parties.
Dueling parties for dueling parties
The Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders may not agree on most anything, but they are spending the first day of summer break the same way: traveling to a party for their party.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes his way up to the Garden State on Monday to headline an afternoon reception for David Norcross, a current state senator who is running for New Jersey’s 1st District U.S. House seat. Tickets to the fundraiser go for $2,600 per person.
It’s a partying departure for Reid, who usually sticks to events benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or specific Senate candidates. Plus, the 1st District seat is considered Safe Democrat. But this is no ordinary House hopeful: David Norcross’s brother is George Norcross, an insurance executive and one of the most influential – and deep-pocketed – people in his state’s Democratic circles. George plays host at Monday’s shindig.
Apparently, he and Reid go way back. According to a National Journal story, “‘George has stepped up to help Senator Reid a few times over the years, and I think this is reciprocal loyalty,’ said one source close to the South Jersey Democratic Party apparatus.”
Meanwhile, the Midwest will get some face time with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The minority leader drops in for a reception for the North Dakota Republican Party on Monday evening. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will bring McConnell as a “special guest” to the party at the Bismarck home of Republican state Rep. George Keiser. Details are scarce, so if you know of anything else, send it our way!
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has never been shy about his dreams of a presidential run, telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl back in 2012: “I’m not going to deny that I’m interested.” Since then, he’s only added fuel to the fire, hiring a handful of well-connected (and primary state-based) political operatives for his super PAC, RAND PAC. He’s also a frequent player on Party Time’s social calendar, headlining fundraisers in New Hampshire, Iowa and Ohio, which give him the opportunity to ingratiate himself to voters, local-level party operatives and those all-important donors.
On the heels of announcing that he’s planning to put out a book in early 2015 (“Just coincidence, probably just coincidence, yeah,” Paul told the Courier-Journal about the timing of the release), Paul is embarking on a multiday tour in the Hawkeye State. First up is a Monday evening fundraiser for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, at a lakefront bar in Okoboji.
On Tuesday, Paul headlines two more events. In the morning, he does a breakfast fundraiser in Clear Lake for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans. This, for the record, is a group that knows how to pull in big-name guests. PT’s records show that, so far this year, Cerro Gordo has also hosted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for a dessert reception and Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a summer BBQ.
Then, it’s off to Iowa City for a noontime party for Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor turned head of Iowa’s Department of Public Health turned congressional candidate. Paul, also an eye doctor before he sought political office, headlines the party for Miller-Meeks’s campaign, and Sunlight’s Real-Time tool shows she could use the help. She’s running to unseat Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, who incidentally has a fundraiser of his own scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Cedar Rapids.
FYI, on Saturday, Paul will be back in Iowa for the daylong Family Leadership Summit, a yearly get-together of Christian conservatives. The confab – put on by the FAMiLY LEADER, Citizens United and Family Research Council’s PAC, and sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, RAND PAC, the Branstad Reynolds Campaign and Texans for Rick Perry – features a long list of conservative darlings, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Kicking off summer vacay right
Party Time thinks Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., are super smart party people. Not only are they getting five weeks off, the pair are jumpstarting things far afield of their home districts with some drool-worthy getaways in California.
On Tuesday, Shimkus starts his four-day Napa getaway at the luxurious Solage Calistoga (you “may never want to leave,” the hotel’s website faux-warns). The invite promises five or six wine tours over two days, and a private tour bus for the wine tastings. But it’ll cost you: It’s $1,500 per person or $3,000 per PAC.
As Shimkus wraps up his NorCal retreat, Whitfield gets started with his similarly priced weekend in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills Hotel will play host as the congressman and donors hobnob during dinner, drinks and some quality time at a poolside cabana on Saturday.
Party people, those are the week’s highlights! As we take a blogging break, remember to keep Party Time posted about whatever fundraisers you hear about out there during summer break. Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invites right here. See you in September!
Photo courtesy PixabayTweet
Hello, party people! Here we are, wrapping up July and looking toward August. We can’t believe it’s almost time for Congress’ loooooooong break until Labor Day, but come to think of it, summer political partying has kept us pretty busy. Turns out, time really does fly when you’re having FUN(draising)!
While politicians will soon be heading home for recess, we just know some of them will fit in a fundraiser or two. So, send us what you hear in your home states! You can use our confidential upload feature to share official invites, or feel free to email us news clippings, guest lists, or photos from the event.
As D.C. – and D.C. partying – slows to a crawl, Party Time preps for an abbreviated schedule, too. But before we take a summer break of our own, we’ve got a handful of parties to check out. Here’s your week in parties!
Take me out to the ballgame
New Hampshire comings and goings always capture political watchers’ attention, what with the state’s status as host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries. Politicians hoping to ink a lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue often test the waters in the Granite State long before they become official candidates.
And this Thursday evening is no exception. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – consistently on a list of possible GOP 2016ers, and a frequent party animal – hits the road for a shindig for the Republican Party of New Hampshire. The Fisher Cats, a Manchester-based minor league baseball team, will be having a home game and the state’s GOP is throwing a Home Run to Victory in 2014 party to celebrate.
Things get started at 6 p.m. with a BBQ buffet and reception, and first pitch is at 7:05. But don’t scoot out early; the invite also promises fireworks! Tickets start at $45, but go up to $2,500 for a seat in the VIP Suite to watch the game with Christie.
As Christie gins up support (and gets some face time with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who will also attend the game), a former presidential candidate will stump for one of the Granite State’s GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in Virginia. Arizona Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is slated to headline a fundraiser for Walt Havenstein at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington on July 30.
Havenstein, one of four candidates for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire’s Sept. 9 primary, is hoping for a chance to unseat Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan come November. A former Marine turned defense industry bigwig — heading up mega defense firm (and political heavy-hitter) BAE Systems) — Havenstein has been a fan of McCain for years. He introduced the one-time presidential candidate during a primary stop in New Hampshire in 2008 and gave money to his campaign.
Party for Peters
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is running for Senate in his home state and has been pumping up his fundraising schedule, in the past few weeks. First, he brandished his progressive bona fides, partying side-by-side with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during the yearly liberal confab at Netroots Nation. This week, Peters will throw a luncheon at popular party post Johnny’s Half Shell. Tickets to Wednesday’s fundraiser start at $500 and go up to $5,000.
The get-together comes on the heels of a batch of recent polls that have Peters leading his Republican challenger, Terri Lynn Land. GOP heavyweights have lined up behind Land, Michigan’s former Secretary of State, at D.C. fundraisers for her campaign. In June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, headlined a luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill.
Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer tool shows that Land is winning the money race, besting Peters when it comes to cash raised and money in the bank. But candidates’ coffers aren’t the only source of money in the campaign – outside groups have spent more than $5 million so far. The lion’s share of that, $4.2 million, has been spent on anti-Land media buys by Senate Majority PAC, NextGen Climate Action Committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and labor organizations.
Party Time’s buy two, get two
Bargain hunters rejoice: For a cool $1,000, you can break bread with three Democratic senators — two of whom just happen to be running for reelection this year — and one former Democratic senator. On Saturday, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (“Saturday Night Live” royalty) and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall (political dynasty royalty) will lunch with former New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman and his successor, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., in Albuquerque. It’s a four-for-one deal, folks!
Photo courtesy WikipediaTweet
Hello party people! We’ve got another busy week of political parties on the books over here at Party Time. But, as has been the case during the past few weeks, our social calendar skews heavily blue, with Democrats from all over getting in on the fundraising game.
Since we know the GOP does just as much fundraising as its counterpart, our only question is: What are the details?! Send us anything and everything – news clippings, hot gossip, attendee lists, luncheon menus, etc. – right here, or share those invites with our confidential upload feature. Don’t be shy!
Now let’s get to the week in political parties.
Obamas continue to go big on party circuit
Cue the ’80s dance party mix because President Barack Obama just can’t seem to get enough of … fundraising!
That’s right, folks, the partier-in-chief is back at it again, with another three-day swing packed with parties. He’s hitting up donors on the Left Coast this week, stopping briefly in Washington state before cruising through California. According to PT’s running tally, these latest get-togethers make for 41 Obama-headlined parties in 2014.
First up is a quick stop in Seattle, where Obama is slated to appear Tuesday at a reception for the Democratic National Committee. He’ll spend the afternoon at a private home with about 250 guests, according to the Seattle Times. He’ll then fly down to San Francisco, where he’ll spend the night and prep for a full day of partying in the Golden State.
Wednesday’s fundraising fun gets started with an afternoon event at the Los Altos Hills home of Judy and George Marcus. The couple runs a family foundation, and George Marcus is an ex-UC Regent who counts former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as buddies.
Pelosi – as well as Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. – will be on hand with Obama to gin up support among the wealthy donors able to shell out $10,000 for lunch and a photo. But if you are more in the mood for a “VIP photo,” get ready to cut a check for $32,400 per couple. (And get ready to explain the difference between a photo and a VIP photo, too – inquiring Party Time minds want to know!)
After that event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama cruises over to a party in San Francisco for the House Majority PAC. That’s the super PAC working to get Democrats elected to the House, and the group responsible for some mega ad buys for the midterm elections.
The prez then hits the tarmac for the short flight down to Los Angeles, where he headlines a reception and dinner for the DNC. Hollywood heavyweights (and “Scandal” chums) Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes serve as hosts at the fundraiser, which will be held at Rhimes’ L.A. home. (Incidentally, Rhimes recently told a press gaggle that her sister, a party planner by trade, is handling all of the nitty-gritties because “those are not things that ever interest me.”)
A bit of extra hubbub recently popped up around this party when CharityBuzz.com set up an auction for a chance to meet Obama at the fundraiser. But the DNC asked the website to call off the bidding war – and then decided to raffle off a ticket to the fundraiser.
Thursday morning, Obama sticks around in L.A. to squeeze in one more fundraiser, a $32,400-per-person roundtable discussion. The party, held at the home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and his model/actress wife Jolene, benefits the DNC and is limited to 30 guests.
Not to be outdone, the first lady will chip in with some fundraising of her own on Thursday. Michelle Obama travels to her native Chicago for a DNC fundraiser at downtown’s spiffy Waldorf Astoria. Thursday also happens to be the Windy City stop on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour, which means that, as the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out, concertgoers should definitely keep their eyes peeled for M. Obama. She’s an outspoken fan and friend of the music power couple, and took the first daughters to a Queen Bey concert last year.
Sin City shenanigans
Nevada’s 3rd District House race is heating up, and Party Time’s got a pair of back-to-back fundraisers to prove it.
Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican who has represented the Las Vegas suburbs since 2010, will face off against Democrat Erin Bilbray come November. Bilbray runs a health care nonprofit with her husband, got a nod from abortion rights group Emily’s List, and is part of the Democrats’ Jumpstart Program, which targets especially promising candidates in winnable districts.
Despite these Dem bona fides in her swing district, a May poll showed that Bilbray lacked name recognition among Vegas voters, even though they preferred her platform. But you know what can get your name out there? Partying with one Joe “BFD” Biden.
On Wednesday afternoon, the VP headlines a campaign rally for Bilbray at Kona Ice, known for its shaved ice and do-goodery. If this event doesn’t produce multiple gif-worthy moments – Biden with sugary desserts in Las Vegas, people! – we don’t know what will.
And that’s the second big-name fundraiser in two days for Bilbray. On Tuesday, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also the head of the DNC, throws a Women for Bilbray event at a Las Vegas law firm.
Dems in D.C.
For the few Democratic donors not already tied up with political parties during this busy week, don’t fret: You can hit up Eric Lesser’s fundraiser in downtown D.C.
Lesser – a member of Team Obama since the early days of 2007 and who started the tradition of marking the seder at the White House – is running for a state Senate seat in his old stomping grounds of western Massachusetts. The Harvard Law grad, who is also a consultant on HBO’s “Veep,” has friends in high places and he’s not afraid to use them. The invite to Wednesday evening’s party name checks a fistful of Obama whisperers: David Axelrod, Andrew Bleeker, Stephanie Cutter, Shomik Dutta, Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, Ben LaBolt, Reggie Love, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Jim Messina, Jennifer O’Maley Dillon, Patrick Dillon, David Plouffe, Pete Rouse, Erik Smith, Julianna Smoot, Jake Levine, Buffy Wicks and Abby Witt. Whew!
A few of our favorite things: BBQ, beer, bourbon … and ice cream!
With a week full of luncheons, receptions and roundtable discussions, two parties stand out for their creative calls for campaign cash.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., throws his Smoked ’n’ Oaked: A Celebration of Virginia’s Best Barbecue, Bourbon, and Beer party on Tuesday evening, with tickets starting at $100 and capping out at $1,000. The shindig goes down at law firm Jones Day on New Jersey Avenue, since nothing says authentic BBQ like a rooftop garden in the heart of Capitol Hill.
A few blocks away on Wednesday evening, a different rooftop will play host to an ice cream social for Sen. Patrick Leahy. This is a regular event for the Vermont Democrat, who is stockpiling cash for his 2016 reelection race. The invite, which features those famous Grateful Dead bears, claims that “Senator Leahy is looking forward to an evening surrounded by friends, Grateful Dead tunes, Magic Hat Beer, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.” These are good ingredients for an eventful evening, folks.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Hey, party people, hey! Over here at Party Time, we know that political fundraising is a bipartisan mistress, her siren song calling to Democrats and Republicans alike. But it seems like the last few weeks have been extra busy for Dem donors.
Last week, the partier-in-chief hit up deep-pocketed supporters in a 24-hour cash-collecting bonanza, cruising through Denver, Dallas, and doing two stops in Austin. (In fact, the trip was so notable that we went on MSNBC to talk about it.) But President Obama wasn’t the only White House denizen getting in on the action. First lady Michelle Obama headlined a party of her own for the Democratic National Committee in New York City last Thursday. And Vice President Joe Biden attended an event last Friday down in Nashville for the Democratic Governors Association.
Combine those shindigs with news that Dems are raking in cash off former Gov. Sarah Palin’s calls for impeachment and House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, and you’ve got yourself a Democratic fundraising frenzy.
This week’s social calendar sees more big-name Dems on the party circuit, but GOPers are getting in on the fun, too. And although we’ve got a good amount of fundraisers on the books, we are confident that there’s a lot more going on out there. So, send us what you’ve got! Hand over invites with our nifty confidential upload feature right here, or email us any news tips and hot gossip.
And now, for your week in political parties!
Mr. and Mrs. Obama, fundraising dynamic duo
They did it last week, so why not do it again? The president and first lady will divide and conquer this week with a set of bicoastal fundraisers benefiting Democratic organizations.
Michelle Obama gets things started on Tuesday afternoon with a party for the Democratic National Committee in sunny SoCal. Entry to the roundtable discussion at the Los Angeles home of Michael Lombardo (HBO executive and Kennedy Center board member) and Sonny Ward (founder of West Hollywood’s June Street Architecture) goes for $5,000 a pop. And this isn’t the first hosting gig for the power couple: Party Time data show Lombardo and Ward have served on host committees for Dem fundraisers benefiting Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
On Thursday, President Obama hits up donors in the Big Apple at a party for the House Majority PAC. This is the president’s second appearance at a string of fundraisers for super PACs working to get Democrats elected (and, yes, it marks an attitude switch-up when it comes to raising money for PACs).
Back in June, Obama spoke at a Senate Majority PAC roundtable, and next week, he’s slated to attend another party for its House counterpart in San Francisco. (The Bay Area get-together is part of another jam-packed week of on-the-road fundraising for the prez, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.) Unfortunately, specifics on all of these events are scarce, so if you know any details, send them our way!
Kansas governor parties in D.C.
Come Tuesday evening, it’ll be like old-home week for Gov. Sam Brownback. The Kansas Republican returns to D.C. for a fundraiser at the Capitol Hill Club, familiar stomping grounds for the congressman-turned-senator-turned-governor.
The full Sunflower State delegation will be on hand to fete Brownback, a first-term governor running for reelection. And it looks like the incumbent could use some help from his friends. Despite Kansas’s deep-red-state status, a recent poll shows Brownback down by 6 points against Democratic challenger Paul Davis.
Last fall, Davis – a state representative since 2003 and House Minority Leader since ’08 – announced he would make a run for the governor’s mansion. Davis immediately focused his campaign on schools, making it all the more notable that, in response to the recent poll results, Brownback’s camp touted the governor’s record on education.
2016 watch alert: Christie in Iowa
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a fundraising fiend during his tenure as the head of the Republican Governors Association, is working his magic again this week with three parties on Thursday in Iowa. Political prognosticators, take note: this is the first time Christie has traveled to the Hawkeye State in two years, according to the Des Moines Register.
Christie starts his long day with a party for the RGA at the home of Kyle Krause, CEO of the convenience store chain Kum & Go. This is one of the more expensive RGA fundraisers Party Time has come across, with tickets starting at $25,000. Then, Christie heads to Cedar Rapids for an afternoon event benefiting Iowa’s Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen. Christie will then make his way over to the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport to headline a party for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Although tickets cap out at $10,000, general admission starts at $25.
It’s a strategic mix of partying (all in one day!) that gives Christie plenty of one-on-one time with well-heeled donors and gets him in front of average Iowans at a fair. And it’s only the latest installment in a busy year of fundraiser appearances. Party Time data show Christie has appeared at 41 events so far in 2014.
Paging Marty McFly
Rarely do fundraiser invites make us think of our childhood, but this week, we’ve got Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to thank for a walk down memory lane. This has nothing to do with partisanship, folks; Pelosi’s leadership PAC, PAC to the Future, is having a party – and making us reminisce about watching the ’80s classic and then rewinding the VHS to watch it again (thanks, by the way, to the generous parents who let this happen on a regular basis).
On Tuesday evening, Pelosi and a fistful of lobbyists from powerhouse firms like Ogilvy Government Relations, Podesta, Wal-Mart and United Technologies will hoverboard over to Penn Quarter’s Rosa Mexicano for a cocktail reception for PAC to the Future. Tickets start at $500 and go up to $5,000 to host. Great Scott!
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Hello party people! We hope you had a great long weekend filled with fireworks, outdoor BBQs, and desserts tricked out in red, white and blue. While just about everyone was busy partying in the name of the good ol’ U.S. of A, politicians took a break from their usually hectic social calendars. According to Party Time records, lawmakers took off the weekend, too, perhaps to do some non-political partying of their own. It almost makes us want to form a friendship circle and sing “America the Beautiful.”
But only almost. After all, this week, Congress members are back at it, hitting the fundraising trail for cash to fill their campaign coffers. Even though our social calendar is heating up, we know more money-tree-shaking is happening out there. What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Email us anything you’ve got, or send us official invites via our confidential upload feature.
And now, party people, set aside those sparklers and get ready for your week in political parties!
Obama keeps up the partying
The partier-in-chief just can’t seem to get enough. Party Time has been keeping tabs on President Barack Obama’s borderline-insane partying schedule, following him as he touches down in California, New York, Maryland, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis – and that’s just since the beginning of May!
This week, Obama continues to rake in the frequent flyer miles, swooping in on Colorado and Texas for three fundraisers on Wednesday. According to Party Time data, this trip includes something we haven’t seen in quite some time: a fundraiser benefiting a specific candidate.
That’s right; up until this week, Obama’s travel schedule has benefited the general campaign accounts for national committees – the Democratic National Committee, and the two groups that work to get Dems elected to the U.S. House and Senate. It makes sense, since these organizations can dole out dollars to the races they deem most important. And when you consider Obama’s sinking approval ratings and candidates’ outspoken desire to stay as far away from the president as possible on the campaign trail, the decision looks like a no-brainer.
But one such candidate is doing a 180, and has an Obama-headlined event to show for it. In January, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., pled the Fifth on whether or not he wanted to be seen on the trail with the president. But come Wednesday, Udall – a first-term senator locked in a tight reelection battle against Republican Rep. Cory Gardner – will party with Obama in Denver.
The luncheon benefits the Colorado 2014 Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Udall and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In addition to Obama, fellow Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who chairs the DSCC, will also attend. And turns out, you could, too! While seats at the lunch cap at $15,000 per couple, Udall’s campaign is raffling off one ticket to the event for $5, according to a fundraiser email.
There won’t be much time for lollygagging. After his Denver lunch, it’s wheels up for Obama as he flies down to the Lone Star State. First stop, the Dallas home of Marc Stanley, an Obama bundler and the former chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council. The Summer BBQ benefits the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and may be the most expensive grill-out we’ve come across, with tickets starting at $10,000 and going up to $32,400 per couple.
Obama then heads to Austin for a DNC fundraiser at the home of Latino filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. The president may be headlining the high-dollar event, but Hollywood glitterati Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Demi Lovato and Danny Trejo will add some star power of their own at the party.
There’s considerable pressure for him to visit distinctly unmonied precincts along the border but the following day, according to Austin Culture Map, Obama will headline a roundtable discussion at the home of Aimee Boone Cunningham. She’s a Democratic and feminist activist who now works at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Don’t have the $32,400 it will take to get into the Cunningham confab? Bargain hunters, rejoice: The president will speak afterwards at a DNC sponsored event in Austin’s Paramount Theater. Tickets are first-come, first-serve and free. Yes, partiers, you heart that right.
Bucks for Broun
On the other end of the political spectrum, Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is throwing a reception on Wednesday evening at D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club. Folks prepping to write four-figure checks better make them out to Broun’s debt retirement account, since he’s looking to shake off the leftovers from his unsuccessful bid to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The three-term congressman from Athens recently came in fifth in a seven-way Senate Republican primary in the Peach State. David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston, the primary’s top two vote-getters, are heading into a runoff later this month.
Even though Kingston’s got his own campaigning to do, he’s slated to stop by the debt retirement party, as is another unsuccessful primary opponent, Rep. Phil Gingrey. In fact, the whole Republican delegation from Georgia will be on hand to help out Broun.
Broun – who has made national headlines by warning of an Obama dictatorship and calling the president a “socialist” – can’t run for his seat after the primary loss, and will leave Congress at the end of this year.
Conyers collects cash
After serving in Congress since 1965 – and winning with at least 75 percent of the vote throughout his tenure – Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., almost didn’t make it onto his home state ballot this year. Questions came up about his nominating petitions, but a judge stepped in and ordered that Conyers get added to the primary ballot.
With that all squared away, it must be time for a fundraiser. On Friday evening, Conyers will head to Manhattan for a reception benefiting his reelection campaign. Tickets start at $500, but the invite suggests PACs give $5,000.
Wedding anniversary – perfect fundraiser opportunity?
A particularly interesting fundraiser (and invite) rounds out this week in political parties. On Saturday evening, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., wants you to help her celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary with a $1,000-per-couple fundraiser at the Coconut Grove Ritz Carlton. You guys, there may actually be one of those money tree gizmos (a wedding anniversary tradition) at a political fundraiser!
Send us photos if so! And, as always, let us know what you hear about out there!Tweet
Hey party animals, just one week before we inflate the kiddie pool and break out the illegal fireworks! And while you’re still figuring out how much potato salad you can cram in your fridge, politicians from sea to shining sea are honoring our nation by collecting as many portraits of dead presidents as they can. On greenbacks, that is.
Happy birthday America, it’s political party time!
The past weekend saw one of the more innovative fundraisers to cross PT’s desk lately: One New York state legislative candidate’s very own “Who Dunnit?” murder mystery.
That’s right, on June 29th, Rich Cocchiara, a Republican candidate for New York’s State Assembly, hosted a “Party to Die For” in support of his election bid. For $75 and up, ($1,000 got you a table for eight and “sign recognition”), partiers could jump into a live-action version of Clue with the four-term mid-Hudson Valley city councilman. What else would you want to do with your Sunday night now that Game of Thrones is over?
And while we’re on the topic of wild princes from untamed lands, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be a special guest at a hamburger and hotdog feed in support of Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. While not touring California in a Tesla or trying to remember that last federal agency he’d like to close, Perry has been busy hitting up donors far from the Lone Star State. A month ago, Perry was cruising Iowa at three separate fundraisers for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Just two weeks before that, Perry was having a cheeseburger in paradise at a Florida Tiki Bar fundraiser for Gov. Rick Scott. No word yet if Perry will be channeling Kobayashi at the July 2 event, but if you live in the greater Indian Land, SC area, you can see for yourself for just ten bucks.
Moving further down the trail into the heart of Dixie, the state that brought us musical legends like Ronnie Van Zant, Fred Durst and Vanilla Ice is hosting famous jazz saxophonist (and former president) Bill Clinton at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party on June 28th. Two hundred bones gets you a plate of chow and a chance to hear America’s most famous pseudo-vegan give the keynote address.
The man with the beat-up truck and the man with an elevator for his cars will be hanging out in the Granite State July 2. Brown, Former Massachusetts Republican senator (and former male model) Scott Brown is hoping to stack some chips for his latest Senate bid in neighboring New Hampshire. Featured at the fundraiser is another multi-state, multi-former: former Massachusetts governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney who is currently paying taxes in the plush California precincts of La Jolla but who also has a lakefront “cottage” in New Hampshire. Whew! The two will stump for cash at the very farm where Romney launched his own presidential campaign in 2011, according to the Boston Globe. Perhaps “Bittersweet Farm” will be less of an ill omen for Brown as he goes to battle in New Hampshire’s GOP Primary in about two months’ time.
Boys aren’t having all the fun though. On Monday, New York City’s Harvard Club, a once all-male bastion, will play host to two powerful politicos of the female persuasion: Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright will headline a fundraiser for veteran Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Lowey, the top-ranking Democrat on the clout-heavy House Appropriations Committee, is considered a shoo-in for her 14th term.
As usual and as always, Party Time relies on you, dear reader, to provide the tips and send the invites that keep this site running. You can email us or use our confidential upload feature, whichever tickles your fancy. Party Time is always accepting dinner menus, guest lists or any other tidbits about how politicians are raising the big bucks that keep their campaign machines well fueled.
Until next week party animals and happy Fourth of July!
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Here we are, party people, deep into June of a midterm election year, which can only mean one thing: as the humidity keeps climbing, so does the tally of political fundraisers.
Local and federal politicians are busy bees this week, partying all over the map, from New York to Colorado to Utah to Iowa. But even in the midst of this far-and-wide fundraising, one invite did manage to catch our eye and pique our interest. Illinois Rep. Bill Foster – Democrat by affiliation, physicist by trade – wants his donors to learn the art and physics of trapeze during a fundraiser event on June 25. Details are scarce, but we do know that tickets run from $500 to $5,000 for this D.C. event.
And that leads right into our regular Party Time refrain: Send us the goods! If you’ve heard of an event or have an official invite, email us or use our handy (and confidential) upload feature. If you know of extra details – dinner menus! Attendee lists! Pictures! – send them right here.
And now, for your week in parties.
Cash for cocktails
Before her last fundraiser, Alison Lundergan Grimes promised to talk to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., about coal and fossil fuels. But as the Kentucky Senate candidate and the Majority Leader partied at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Grimes never said the word “coal,” according to leaked audio from the event.
While political insiders are trying to ferret out the source of the leak, Grimes preps for another high-dollar fundraiser, this one at the see-and-be-seen Waverly Inn in Manhattan’s West Village. Monday’s cocktail party gives Grimes some face time with well-heeled donors who can shell out $2,600 per person, as well as hosts/mega Dem donors/Hollywood heavyweights Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harvey Weinstein. Katzenberg last hosted a fundraiser for Grimes in January in Los Angeles, but PT data show this is Weinstein’s first shindig for the Kentuckian.
Dems celebrate July Fourth in June
Democrats may have the majority in the Senate, but it’s a razor-thin margin. Number crunchers posit that the GOP can gain control, making those tight races (see: Louisiana, Colorado, Arkansas, etc.) even more crucial for Dems to hold onto.
Enter the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the group tasked with keeping the Senate in the blue column. And in order to accomplish that, everyone knows that means one thing: get ready for some fundraisers! According to PT’s records, the DSCC has benefited from 12 parties in 2014, and, perhaps more importantly, often boasts big-name attendees like President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
On Tuesday evening, the group keeps up the partying (but minus any specific special guests) with a decidedly Americana get-together on the grounds of Capitol Hill’s Mott House. The Fourth of July is still a few days away, but no matter – the DSCC is throwing an Independence Day Summer BBQ, with tickets going for $1,000 to $2,000 a pop.
Obama parties in Minneapolis
The DSCC’s counterpart for the House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has an even harder job this cycle, seeing as Democrats need to snag 17 seats to get a majority. President Obama also vowed to help the DCCC’s fundraising efforts, headlining a handful of pricey parties this year in the hopes of inspiring deep-pocketed donors to write fat checks.
Come Thursday evening, there’s another partying opportunity for the DCCC. Obama bundlers Sylvia and Sam Kaplan – he founded law firm Kaplan Strangis & Kaplan P.A. in 1978, and was Obama’s ambassador to Morocco in 2009 – are hosting an expensive reception and dinner at their Minneapolis home, where donors can throw down as much as $32,400 per couple. Obama, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel will all be on hand to gin up support for House Dems.
Granite State GOPers throw two part-ays
The Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 2nd District House race pits a retired Marine against a harpist, and yes, you read that right.
Marilinda Garcia, musician-turned-professor-turned-state-representative-turned-U.S.-House-candidate, is getting nods from across the Republican spectrum. The Republican National Committee named her a “rising star” last year, ShePAC endorsed her in May, and the Club for Growth just announced it was backing her run. Jarhead (he’s still in the Marine Reserves) Gary Lambert, a former state senator and small business owner, has support from veterans’ groups, but isn’t getting the same kind of national attention that Garcia is. But Sunlight’s Influence Explorer tool shows that, so far, Lambert is winning the money race: He has almost $200,000 more cash on hand than Garcia.
The two candidates are hoping to bump up their bottom lines this week with a pair of fundraisers. Lambert will be partying at the Nashua Country Club Wednesday evening, with tickets capping out at $3,500 per person. On Saturday, Jerry Gappens, the VP of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, throws a shindig at his racetrack for Garcia.
Lambert and Garcia will face of in September’s primary, with the winner going up against Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, a first-term Democrat who was a state-level lobbyist before coming to Capitol Hill. Politico recently reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee will target Kuster and 16 other House Democrats in an $18 million ad buy this fall.
Tea party parties on
Last, but certainly not least, is a Thursday evening party for the Sevier County Tea Party. The Tennessee-based group is throwing an America’s Last Stand get-together headlined by former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Rep. Allen West, former Sen. Rick Santorum, various media personalities, and this bald eagle. The forecast calls for rain, but no worries: Organizers moved the party from a stadium to the Sevierville Convention Center.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Party people, we hope you rested up this weekend, because wowzers, do we have a full week of fundraisers for you. Folks with an eye on 2016 are coming out of the woodwork for some tactical party appearances, and some politicians from yesteryear are popping up, too, lending their name to invites for allies in need of an extra boost. Former President Bill Clinton, for example, is headlining a lunch on Monday in New York for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and then helping out longtime political buddy Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday at an event in Chicago.
But the best example might be a couple of parties that bookend the week. Bob Dole, a GOP presidential candidate in 1996, a vice presidential candidate in 1976 and a longtime senator from Kansas, throws a party Monday for North Carolina GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis. The lunch will be held at law firm Alston & Bird, where Dole serves as special counsel.
Fast-forward to Friday, when Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., heads to Iowa for a pair of events benefiting that state’s Democratic Party. O’Malley, who makes no secret of his presidential aspirations, will attend the Hall of Fame Celebration Friday evening and then deliver the keynote during Saturday’s State Convention.
It’s a jam-packed week, but what are we missing, faithful partiers? If you’ve heard of something good out there, you know what to do. Email us tips, suggestions and newspaper clippings, or upload official invites right here. And it’s totally confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.
With that, here are this week’s highlights!
GOP in N.Y.C.
A batch of House Republicans and a group of congressional hopefuls gather together on Monday at the super swanky New York Palace for a fundraiser. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s leadership – Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Ga., Steve Stivers, Ohio, Ann Wagner, Mo., and Roger Williams, Texas – and House heavyweights Reps. Peter Roskam, Ill., Pete Sessions, Texas, Darrell Issa, Calif., and Ed Royce, Calif., will all be on hand for the afternoon meet and greet.
The fundraiser benefits the NRCC, but it also provides some of that all-important face time among established GOPers and candidates hoping to make their way to Capitol Hill this year. The invite lists Virginia’s Barbara Comstock, Florida’s Carlos Curbello, Arkansas’ French Hill, West Virginia’s Evan Jenkins, Arizona’s Martha McSally and Massachusetts’ Richard Tisei as attendees. Not surprisingly, these six nominees are all identified, through the NRCC’s Young Guns program, as promising candidates in their respective districts.
Jeb Bush + Ohio = hmmm…
November 8, 2016, is still 876 days away but it’s never too early to hobnob with swing state voters. Just ask Jeb Bush.
The former governor of Florida, and oft-mentioned GOP presidential candidate, travels to Ohio on Monday evening for a private fundraising event for the Republican National Committee. Bush will chat up RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Ohio’s own Sen. Rob Portman, as well as the well-heeled Ohioans able to afford the admission: Tickets range from $1,000 to $64,800 for the multipart event (the invite promises a roundtable discussion, photos, a reception and then dinner).
Ohio, with its history of selecting the president and those crucial 18 Electoral College votes, is always a big player every four years. And Bush’s stop in the Buckeye State is just the latest of his notable overtures toward key states – last month, he threw two parties in Florida for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
Obama logs more frequent flier miles
After his weekend jaunt to sunny SoCal for a pricey fundraiser, UCI’s commencement ceremony and a Palm Springs getaway, President Barack Obama returns to the White House Monday evening. But don’t unpack that suitcase, Barry! You hit the road Tuesday for a set of fundraisers in New York.
First up, the N.Y.C. home of Anna Wintour, Vogue editor and fundraiser host extraordinaire for Obama’s 2012 campaign. A seat at the dinner benefiting the Democratic National Committee goes for up to $32,000.
The Partier-in-Chief then hops over to Gotham Hall where he will headline another DNC event, this one billed as an LGBT Gala. According to Politico, a note that went out to potential gala attendees heralded Obama’s stance on gay rights to get people to come out for the party … and bring their checkbooks. “From hospital visitation rights, to workplace protections for transgender federal employees, to supporting marriage equality, we have so much to be proud of – and so much at stake in 2014,” the note reads.
More Dems pumped for Hillary
Hillary Clinton continues her slow-burn flirtation with a presidential run in 2016, making campaign-like stops as she promotes and signs her latest manuscript, “Hard Choices.” (Last week, Party Time looked at her fundraiser schedule as she embarked on her book tour.) But she’s already in hot water about some comments she made about marriage equality as well as her and Bill Clinton’s financial situation once they left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in 2000.
Most pundits agree that the cross-country book tour will help Clinton determine if she wants to launch another run for the White House. But as Clinton figures out if she’s ready to run, supporters keep lining up – and writing checks – encouraging her to do so.
On Wednesday, Minnesota jumps on the bandwagon with a kickoff party for its arm of the Clinton-supporting super PAC Ready for Hillary. The invite name-checks Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Rick Nolan and a handful of state-level politicians as attendees at the fundraiser.
On Thursday, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., dives into the fray with a high-dollar event at the D.C. home of Edie Frasier, a philanthropist and businesswoman. Tickets to the party are $250 or $2,500, a departure for Ready for Hillary events, which usually ask for a contribution of $20.16. (Although this may just be the beginning of a new trend: The last few Ready for Hillary events have been on the pricier side.)
Christie, Cantor speak to Christian conservatives
Christian conservatives converge in Northwest D.C. starting Thursday morning for three-days of fist pumping and chest thumping. The annual Faith and Freedom Coalition get-together, this year called the Road to Majority, features the usual suspects (Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., etc.) and 2016 GOP hopefuls (Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, etc.).
And Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., will also be on hand to give a talk on Friday. It’s the second time in recent months that Christie, consistently on the short list of potential presidential candidates in ’16, has given a very public bear hug to Christian conservatives: In March, he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Christie follows up his Friday talk with a quick trip up to New Hampshire for a fundraiser for Walt Havenstein, who is running for governor in the Granite State.
But wait a minute, is that Rep. Eric Cantor listed as a speaker, too? Indeed, the House majority leader turned primary contest victim will speak on Thursday evening during a congressional reception, event organizers confirmed to Party Time. And it won’t be the first time Cantor has made good on his fundraising duties after his historic loss to economics professor David Brat. He was the special guest at a luncheon June 14 for state Sen. Lee Zeldin, running for New York’s 1st District House seat.
Whew, party people, what a busy week! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Send us whatever you’ve got right here.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
As the House of Representatives prepares to bid adieu to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor after his primary loss Tuesday night, Party Time has to admit: We are sad to see this partying fiend go.
A quick look at Party Time’s data shows that Cantor and his leadership PAC have benefited from 49 fundraisers since 2006, a majority of them in Washington. And although that sure is a good amount of glad-handing donors and lobbyists, PT also knows that count is just the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, we just learned that on the morning of his primary, Cantor wasn’t traveling his 7th District or chatting up voters in Richmond. Instead, he was at a fundraiser at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill. PT’s data indicate this was a favorite haunt of the longtime politician – this makes for 14 caffeinated get-togethers at the Starbucks on Southeast Pennsylvania Avenue, and word is it’s a monthly meeting between Cantor and lobbyists. (We are still hunting around for an official invite to the primary day funder heard ’round the world, but if you’ve got it, feel free to confidentially upload it right here.)
Aside from his favorite Starbucks, the Virginia Republican, who lost his primary to economics professor David Brat, was fond of parties in the District. Of the 49 Cantor fundraisers that PT knows about, 43 were in D.C. Venues ranging from Latin American restaurant Ceiba to popular PT haunt Johnny’s Half Shell to Foggy Bottom hangout District Commons to Nationals Park for his Day in the Park event.
Reason to party: Could Cantor snag a half-million-dollar parting gift?
PT has records for just two Cantor fundraisers in Richmond: a pair of campaign breakfasts in 2013 and 2014. This year’s event, in February at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, cost $100 a plate and featured Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as a special guest.
While Cantor had his fair share of staid dinners and receptions at places like seafood chain The Oceanaire and wine bar Sonoma, he did know how to spice it up with his Festivus for the Rest of Us events, a weekend trip to Los Angeles, and an expensive golf tournament at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Va.
As Vox, via Open Secrets data, pointed out, Cantor spent $168,000 at steakhouses in this cycle alone. And that’s compared to his opponent, Brat, who spent a total of $200,000. But PT has high hopes for the political newbie, as our data find a set of back-to-back D.C. fundraisers for Brat. On May 14, he held a breakfast fundraiser with Grover Norquist followed by a lunchtime party.
As fundraising for the general election heats up and you hear about more parties for the Virginia’s 7th District seat, keep your friends at Party Time in the loop! Email us tips and newspaper clippings, or upload official invites right here.
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Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party
Host: person who is hosting party-often, but not always, a registered federal lobbyist
Venue Name: where the party is
Entertainment Type: type of gathering, such as "breakfast," "ski trip," "bowling"
Other Lawmakers Mentioned: lawmakers mentioned on invitation who are used as a draw for the event
Sunlight's Party Time is a project to track parties for members of Congress or congressional candidates that happen all year round in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (read more)
We also post information we receive about parties where members of Congress are expected to participate—such as convention or inaugural parties.
Since we don't hear about all the parties, you can also tell us if you know where the party is and we don't.