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Documenting the Political Partying Circuit
From the early hours of the morning until late in the evening, politicians are partying. Sunlight's PARTY TIME can help you find out who is partying, where and when.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.23.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum hit the road for cash, Sen. Tammy Baldwin fundraises in D.C. and lobbyists who represent lobbyists hang out with Sen. Tim Scott

With spring’s arrival on Capitol Hill, politicians are likely hoping that the warmer weather will inspire some cheer and generosity. So, party people, ready those checkbooks because we’ve got another busy week of fundraising fun.

As you look at this week’s social calendar, notice anything we are missing? If so, you know what to do! You can share invites right here with our handy (and confidential) upload feature, or you can email us the goods. We will take it all, from federal-level candidates all the way down to local races.

And now, let’s look at your week in political parties!

– Two Republicans with their eyes on the White House in 2016 will travel out of their home states to headline fundraisers for county parties. On Friday evening, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers the keynote address at a Lincoln Dinner in Michigan. And on Saturday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum travels to Tennessee for a Lincoln Reagan Dinner for the Montgomery County Republicans.

– As our faithful readers well know, over here at Party Time we love kooky, outlandish and/or themed fundraisers whenever we come across them. But sometimes, you’ve got to salute the traditional party animals of this town, too. On Wednesday, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., throws a breakfast fundraiser at PT hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell. What a classic D.C. party!

– Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin hits up D.C.-based donors on Tuesday evening with a dinner at the Georgetown home of Bill and Cindi Broydrick, who co-run Broydrick & Associates, a lobbying firm with offices in D.C. and Milwaukee.

– Lobbyists who advocate for lobbyists will throw an afternoon roundtable event on Thursday, and yes, that is a real – and true! – statement. The Association of Government Relations Professionals hosts an event with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., at the group’s D.C. area offices. Tickets are $60 for association members, and $99 for nonmembers.

Those are your highlights, party people. Let us know what you’ve heard about!

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2016 presidential • POSTED - 03.18.15 BY Peter Olsen-Phillips

With 2016 elections in sight, it’s not a bad time to be a pol in Iowa

Fresh off the 2014 campaign trail, first-term Iowa Rep. David Young, R, has already dived headfirst into the money chase. And his seat in a state with the earliest of early presidential nomination contests guarantees visits from plenty of party leaders.

On April 8, Republican presidential prospect and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will trek to Council Bluffs, Iowa, population 61,000, to join Young at a pizza parlor funder benefitting the freshman congressman.

Tickets for the general public start at just $25, but admission to a special “Private Sponsor Event” runs from $250 to $1,000.

Four-figure fundraising dinners are generally confined to eateries within walking distance of Capitol Hill, or a handful of other posh restaurants scattered around Washington, but the pull of a potential presidential nominee can be a powerful incentive for opening wallets.

It’s not the first such occasion for Young.

The announcement of the Council Bluffs get-together comes just days after a local fête with another former governor and 2016 hopeful. On March 6, Jeb Bush attended a $1,000-and-up party in Urbandale benefitting Young’s campaign.

Though we are more than 300 days out from the Iowa caucuses, GOP frontrunners are already busy jet-setting from one early voting state to the next, glad handing congressmen and helping out local politicians.

A glance through Perry’s twitter feed shows the Texan recently made pitstops in both New Hampshire and Florida in recent weeks.

The fundraising in those early states has already begun to pick up. Party Time’s records show 18 Iowa fundraisers already on the books in 2015, including visits from other potential 2016 contenders like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., and dark horse candidate Donald Trump.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.16.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: St. Patrick’s Day-themed fundraisers, Jeb Bush keeps partying hard, Rep. Debbie Dingell has a money breakfast and Martin O’Malley goes to Iowa

Hello party people! Your friends at Party Time are on the fundraising trail this week, doing our best to sniff out all the politicians on the hunt for some sweet campaign cash. And wouldn’t you know it – it’s yet another busy week!

Although PT’s social calendar is bursting at the seams, we just know there are more par-tays happening out there. What have we missed and what have you heard about? You can upload invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got. No matter what, we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, meaning you can feel comfortable sharing.

Now let’s take a quick tour of your week in political parties!

– A couple of politicians are hoping to collect some greenbacks this week by cashing in on the ultimate green-themed holiday: St. Patrick’s Day! Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who works in Dane County in Wisconsin, will throw his annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Madison on Monday evening. It’s $50 to get in the door, but sponsorships climb to $500 a pop. On Tuesday, Rep. Gerry Connolly has his annual St. Patrick’s Day Fete, which the Virginia Democrat has been throwing since 1995.

Jeb Bush keeps collecting those frequent flier miles! After touching down in New Hampshire at the end of last week for not one, not two, but three fundraiser appearances, the former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate will head to South Carolina on Tuesday to headline a fundraiser for that state’s House Republican Caucus. Then it’s off to the drool-worthy Waldorf Astoria in Boca Raton for a weekend-long spring retreat with the Republican Party’s major donors. Meanwhile, Bush’s son, Jeb Bush Jr., is the special guest at a Miami Beach fundraiser on Thursday evening for the Right to Rise super PAC.

Rep. Debbie Dingell may be new to Congress, but she’s no stranger to the ways of Washington. In November, the one-time lobbyist and General Motors exec took over the seat long held by her husband, former Rep. John Dingell. But on Thursday morning, Debbie Dingell proves she already knows the name of the game – money! The freshman member will have a breakfast fundraiser for her reelection campaign just two months after getting sworn in.

– As questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails and foundation fundraising continue to dog the presumptive presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley continues to position himself as an alternative for Democrats who aren’t, ahem, ready for Hillary. After two stops in New Hampshire a few weeks ago, O’Malley travels to Iowa to headline fundraisers on Friday and Saturday for county Dems.

And that’s a wrap on your week in political parties! If you know of anything we’ve missed, send it right here.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.09.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Ed Gillespie throws a debt retirement party, Jeb Bush keeps fundraising like crazy, Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz head to New Hampshire and a Wisconsin judge parties hard

Hey, party people, hey! As just about everyone on the East Coast keeps their fingers crossed for an end to winter weather, one New Yorker is practically betting on temperatures thawing out the snowy doldrums. Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin throws his annual spring reception Thursday night at beer distributor Clare Rose’s East Yaphank headquarters. It’s a minimum of $125 to get in the door, but event organizers suggest writing that check for $250 – or $2,600 to be a co-host. Our only question: How much beer does that get you?

Party Time has our eye on yet another busy week of political fundraising, but we know there’s more going on out there. What have you heard about, friends? Upload invites right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.

Let’s take a quick look at some of this week’s highlights!

– Mo money mo problems! Ed Gillespie, the Republican National Committee chair turned lobbyist turned Senate candidate, will have a debt retirement party on Monday night at a downtown D.C. lobbying shop. Longtime PT friend Dave Levinthal over at Center for Public Integrity alerted us to the fundraiser, and his article noted that Gillespie’s campaign account – after an unsuccessful run to unseat Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. – is almost $1 million in the red. According to the invite, a fistful of lobbyists will host the event, while Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Rob Portman of Ohio are listed as special guests.

– Jeb Bush continues his fundraising tear this week, starting with an event on Monday for his Right to Rise super PAC. Mike Fernandez, the billionaire head of a healthcare-focused private equity firm, will host the party at his Coral Gables mansion. But keep those million-dollar checks in your pockets – Bush asked donors to hold off on giving such hefty sums for fear of appearing beholden to certain contributors. Tickets start at $10,000 but cap out at a mere $100,000. On Friday, Bush heads to New Hampshire (!) for a meet and greet event for his PAC, and then is the special guest at a party for Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H.

– Speaking of New Hampshire, two other potential presidential candidates make stops in the important early voting state this weekend. On Saturday, Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., rallies with Granite State activists at the state party’s 2016 kickoff grassroots training. And on Sunday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz headlines the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner for Grafton County Republicans. That’s a lot of New Hampshire hobnobbing!

– On the heels of a segment about judicial elections on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” a Wisconsin judge with his eye on the Supreme Court is going big for campaign cash with three fundraisers this week. James Daley holds back-to-back cocktail parties on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a roundtable discussion (with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., as the special guest) on Friday in Milwaukee.

And that’s your week in political parties! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.05.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Republican presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, etc. to headline fundraisers in Iowa, New Hampshire

Republicans have been grabbing most of the headlines in the past week, what with the conservative lovefest at CPAC, the Club for Growth’s winter meeting and the California Republican Party’s convention all happening within a few days of each other.

A quick look at this week’s social calendar reveals a similar trend, with the Iowa Agriculture Summit – a buzzy see-and-be-seen event hosted by big-time Republican donor Bruce Rastetter – capping out the week on Saturday in Des Moines. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are among the confirmed speakers.

And, to make sure they squeeze as much as possible out of a trip to the always-important Hawkeye State, some of those speakers will also rally the troops for down-ballot GOP candidates. Bush will headline a reception for Iowa Rep. David Young on Friday night, while Walker will attend a fundraiser for Iowa Rep. Rod Blum on Saturday evening.

Bush’s Iowa trip – his first since announcing he would “actively explore the possibility of running for president” – wraps up another busy week of partying hard for campaign cash. On Tuesday, he was in Arizona for a fundraiser for his Right to Rise super PAC hosted by former Vice President Dan Quayle. On Monday, Bush joined Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott for a fundraiser in Tallahassee for their state’s Republican Party.

As for another former governor, Perry’s jaunt to the Ag Summit is the latest in a string of moneymaking appearances in early-voting states. Party Time records show the bespectacled Texan has had repeat performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. But on Monday, he was in the Empire State, providing some star power during a luncheon in upstate New York, where tickets went for $1,000 for a half-hour VIP reception and photo.

Christie is keeping himself in the mix, too. Before his weekend trip to Iowa, the New Jersey governor goes to the Sunshine State on Friday to deliver the keynote at the Lincoln Day Dinner for Palm Beach County. This seems to continue a trend of visits to states with warmer weather; Christie headlined the California Republican Party’s Spring Convention in Sacramento last weekend.

While this batch of bold-named Republican gents rally supporters in Iowa, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and one-time California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina – who seems to have her eye on the White House – will be staking out some territory of her own in New Hampshire.

Early Saturday morning, Fiorina headlines a breakfast at the Keene Country Club, and that afternoon, she will speak at a New Hampshire Young Republican event. The group is giving its annual Gipper Award to former State Rep. (and 2014 House candidate) Marilinda Garcia and former State Rep. Shaun Doherty.

That’s what Party Time has on the books for a busy week for Republicans politicians – and Republican donors! If you know of something we’ve missed, send it right here.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.04.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Schock Watch: Where has Rep. Aaron Schock been throwing fundraisers all these years?

The hits just keep on coming for Rep. Aaron Schock, the Illinois Republican whose once-shiny star has been tarnished by the office renovation heard ’round the world. Since the initial article last month about Schock’s “Downton Abbey”-inspired congressional digs, other stories have shown he spent boatloads on travel, rented private aircraft and has been lax (at best) about reporting gifts and spending.

Party Time has found the four-term congressman a bit elusive, too, at least when it comes to collecting invitations to his fundraising events. Since coming to Washington in 2009, Schock has had fewer than 40 fundraisers since he came to office in 2009. But with such, ahem, refined tastes–and a total haul of $8.7 million in contributions–we strongly suspect that Schock is partying way more than that.

Needless to say, highlights from our informal Schock Watch include a “Top Chef” viewing party in 2010 in D.C. and a beer-themed “Schocktoberfest” party in 2013 in his home district with former Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher as the headliner. For the inquisitive among you, yes, you guessed it: Schock did, in fact, pay $25,000 for the football star to appear at the funder, according to a Roll Call story.

We are also fans of Schock’n Sushi & Spirits, a 2010 St. Patrick’s Day luncheon where tickets cost $500 per person. A year later, Schock did a fundraiser in Las Vegas around the Academy of Country Music Awards. And this guy loves his golf, too: Party Time records show that Schock has hit the links with donors four times since August 2011.

It’s not all light-hearted fun and games, though. Schock had a D.C. fundraiser with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in March 2013, and PT data show this was among Ryan’s first forays onto the fundraising circuit after he and Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential contest. And just a few months ago, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., headlined Aaron Schock’s Summer Sit-Down in the small town of Brimfield, Ill.

With gems like that, we just know more are out there. If you’ve got a fundraiser invite to a Schock party, you know what to do! Send them to your friends at Party Time and we will include them in our ever-expanding database of fundraisers. We keep our sources 100 percent confidential and want whatever you’ve got (even those old ones collecting dust!). Upload them right here, or you can email us.

Let the Schock Watch continue!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.02.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Sen. Lindsey Graham “tests the waters” with a fundraiser, Emily’s List honors Hillary Clinton, Rep. Gwen Moore parties with bankers and Republicans go big in Iowa

As most of the country braces for yet another cold snap, Party Time is here to assure you that the political fundraising season is only heating up.

We’ve got a jam-packed week of political parties on the books, but we also know there must be more brewing out there. Friends, what are we missing and what have you heard about? Share with your friends at Party Time!

You can upload invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got. No matter what, we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, meaning you can always feel comfortable sharing.

And now, a look at your week in political parties!

– Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is “testing the waters” for a presidential run in 2016 and he’s got a D.C. fundraiser on Tuesday to prove it. The host list for the luncheon for his Security through Strength committee shows he’s snagged some key backers, too. Mega Republican donors Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Blackstone Group lobbyist Wayne Berman, Boston kingmaker Ted Cutler, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Arizona Sen. John McCain are among a long list of attendees.

– As questions continue to swirl around foreign governments’ donations to the Clinton Foundation, Emily’s List will fete Hillary Clinton at its annual gala dinner on Monday night in D.C. Tickets to the fundraiser for the organization, which supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates, cap out at $30,000, and the special guest list reads like a who’s who of top tier progressives. Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi and DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz are all slated to attend. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is now a senior adviser to the pro-Clinton PAC Ready for Hillary, is another special guest.

– If that event doesn’t get your heart racing, perhaps this will: Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., will have a seated dinner with the financial services community Monday night in downtown D.C. What’s not to love about a sit-down meal with a bunch of bankers and a member of the House Committee on Financial Services?

– Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., keeps up his trend of presidential positioning with a two-day trip to New Hampshire at the end of the week. He’ll headline a fundraiser in Concord on Friday, plus an event for the state’s Democratic Party on Saturday.

– Sen. Bob Casey hits the road! The Pennsylvania Democrat heads to Florida on Friday for a three-day weekend of sun, spring training and sweet fundraising.

– Republicans converge in the Hawkeye State on Saturday for the first annual Iowa Agriculture Summit, put on by GOP donor Bruce Rastetter. Just about every Republican looking to run for president in 2016 will be there, making for a long speakers list, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Whew, what a week, party people! Let us know if you’ve heard about anything going on out there.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.25.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Will Jeb Bush, Chris Christie win over conservatives at CPAC 2015?

The Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off its four-day lovefest on Wednesday afternoon, with a fistful of Republican personalities and White House hopefuls aiming to solidify their conservative bona fides and connect with the party’s activists.

The yearly confab, hosted by the lobbying organization the American Conservative Union, always promises plenty of red-meat speeches and presidential positioning. But with 2016 shaping up to be one of the more wide-open presidential contests in recent memory, this year’s agenda features a particularly long list of speakers. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are all slated to deliver remarks.

And at the end of last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got added into the mix. Although Christie scored a standing ovation (even before he started speaking) at last year’s event, CPAC organizers snubbed the governor in 2013, just months after Christie memorably embraced President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The down-to-the-wire addition of Christie is noteworthy, since the brassy governor has seen his stock fall slightly among Republicans within the past few weeks. The New York Times reported that New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a big-time Republican donor who has hobnobbed with Christie at Republican fundraisers, has opted to back Bush and his all-but-certain presidential run. Johnson reportedly attended two recent fundraisers in the Chicago area for Bush’s political committees.

Bush’s recent trip to Illinois wasn’t all about the parties, though, since the former governor dipped his toe into foreign policy territory with a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The appearance got mixed reviews, and Bush’s uncertain delivery resulted in a Politico article that wondered how his introverted personality would fare on the campaign trail.

On Friday afternoon, Bush will look to quell that narrative with a Q&A session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. A knock-it-out-of-the-park showing at CPAC could endear Bush to the Republican base, long wary of his more moderate stances on education and immigration. In December, for example, radio talk show host Mark Levin – who will speak at CPAC on Saturday morning – said Bush is “a very good moderate Democrat” and “very boring.”

Throughout his fundraisers and public appearances, Bush has carefully avoided saying the words “Common Core” – the federal education benchmarks that have become synonymous with big government among conservatives – even though he supports the standards. Even if the topic doesn’t come up during the Friday Q&A, the subject still gets the CPAC treatment on Thursday with a breakout session titled “Common Core: Rotten to the Core?”

Wednesday afternoon’s activism training gets the ball rolling, but CPAC begins in earnest on Thursday morning with an 8:40 a.m. talk by Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and conservative darling flirting with a presidential run. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst speaks during a noontime tribute to veterans, and Walker, Jindal and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin close out the day with back-to-back-to-back speeches.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham get things started on Friday, and RNC head Reince Priebus, Donald Trump and NRA chief Wayne LaPierre follow with remarks throughout the day. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will keynote Friday night’s Ronald Reagan Dinner. Saturday features a full day of breakout sessions about religious freedom, government spending, abortion and gun rights, as well as the results of the conference’s all-important straw poll, which provides a snapshot of how conservatives feel about potential presidential candidates. (Paul won the poll last year.)

One-day passes go for $125, but premium tickets – which get attendees priority seating at breakout sessions and admission to the Ronald Reagan Dinner and meet and greets – are $1,700 at the door.

Photo credit: CPAC

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.23.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Sen. Amy Klobuchar throws a women’s breakfast, Kamala Harris fundraises in D.C., conservatives rally at CPAC and Jeb Bush- and Hillary Clinton-aligned super PACs party in Tampa

Congress is back from its “district work week” that found most members in their home states, and that can only mean one thing, party people: Our social calendar is packed with D.C. fundraisers.

Yes, in between meetings and votes and floor speeches and media interviews, politicians will venture off Capitol Hill to glad-hand donors, aiming to fill up their campaign coffers for 2016.

We’ve got a good amount of parties on the books this week, but what else have you heard about? Share whatever you’ve got with your friends at Party Time! You can email us or upload the goods right here. And remember – we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.

Here are some highlights to get your week started …

– Last Friday, we told you about how Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was working the ladies, throwing a high-dollar “winning women luncheon” with a rising GOP star, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, as the headliner. Come Tuesday morning, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is following suit with a “winning women breakfast” at law firm McGuire Woods’ K Street office. Notable hosts for Klobuchar’s fundraiser? Mega lobbyist and wife of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Linda Daschle; lobbyist Kelly Bingel; the Podesta Group’s Claudia James; and longtime Hillary Clinton friend Donna McLarty.

Kamala Harris heads to the nation’s capital this week in search of some sweet D.C. cash for her Senate bid in 2016. The current California attorney general announced last month that she’s running for the seat long held by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Wednesday evening’s fundraiser is Harris’s first D.C. event of the campaign.

CPAC, the yearly love fest that brings together conservative activists and politicians, descends on the National Harbor Wednesday for its four-day confab. More and more names get added to the speaker list by the day, but so far, it includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Tickets are $125 per day, and a premium pass (which includes priority seating and admission to receptions and “meet and greet opportunities”) goes for $1,500.

– Tampa is the place to be on Tuesday for presidential prognosticators on the right and the left! Right to Rise super PAC, Jeb Bush’s 2016 support group for his campaign-in-waiting, is having an evening reception at the Grand Hyatt where donors are asked to fork over between $1,000 and $25,000 to attend. The former governor of Florida is the event’s special guest. Meanwhile, fewer than 10 miles away, Hillary Clinton supporters will rally at a fundraiser for the Ready for Hillary super PAC.

Those are your highlights, party people! If you’ve got a fundraiser invite to share, send it right here.

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2016 elections • POSTED - 02.20.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Sen. Joni Ernst headlines Arizona fundraiser for Sen. John McCain’s 2016 campaign

Sen. John McCain takes advantage of Congress’ district work period this week with a fundraiser on Friday in his home state. The Arizona Republican will throw a high-dollar party in Scottsdale for his 2016 campaign, which would find him running for a sixth term in the Senate.

Party organizers are calling the fundraiser a “winning women luncheon,” and a look at the bold-named lady attendees on the invite certainly drives home the idea. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst – a conservative darling since she shot onto the national stage last year with her memorable hog castration-themed TV ad about cutting government spending – gets top billing on the invitation along with McCain. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is listed as an honorary host, as are Angela Ducey (wife of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey), Cheryl Flake (wife of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake) and McCain’s wife, Cindy.

Two other Arizona heavyweights are lending their support on Friday. Phoenix-based lobbyist Deb Gullett and Rodel Foundation President Jackie Norton are co-chairing the event. Gullett has deep ties to McCain, having worked as his chief of staff in D.C. and logging time on his presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008. She also served in the Arizona House for four years, and now is a lobbyist with Gallagher & Kennedy. Although Norton now leads the Rodel Foundation, an education advocacy organization, she was the head of the Arizona Department of Commerce for five years under former Govs. Fife Symington and Jane Dee Hull. She’s also got a Gallagher & Kennedy connection, where she used to practice law.

Tickets start at $200 per plate for Friday’s lunch, and $500 will get you a spot at the 11 a.m. “VIP photo opportunity.” But in order to get added to that all-important host committee list, be prepared to throw down $10,000.

Although he hasn’t made it official yet, all signs point to McCain mounting another run for his Senate seat, which he’s held since the mid ’80s. Back in November, he told Politico, “There’s no reason for me to make a final decision right now,” and just last month he told reporters he’s “most likely” going to run.

McCain’s partying ways indicate the same storyline. Party Time records show he’s been collecting cash for his own campaign coffers as well as partying with other influential Republicans. And Friday’s event is a strategic one-two punch for the Arizona Republican, since it simultaneously nods to the conservative wing of the party and to female voters. Ernst is quickly becoming a go-to star among Republicans, delivering the party’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech in January just a few weeks after she was sworn in.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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PARTYFINDER™ Hints

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.