Party animals, welcome to another jam-packed week of political fundraising! Know how we know midterms are approaching? This week’s social calendar is overflowing with politicos bellying up to the (campaign cash) bar.
Aside from the usual juicy tidbits from the party circuit, the last few weeks have been rather exciting. First, there was news of that men-only fundraiser for Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., which (a) lit up social media, and (b) proved that you can’t make this stuff up. Then, our friends at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting launched the first state-level collaboration with Party Time, complete with an ab-fab roundup of how political partying goes down in the Pine Tree State. (Want your state to be next? Let us know and we can set it up!)
And now, for this week’s highlights!
Palmetto State Partying
Trips to New Hampshire and Iowa by politicians pondering a presidential run always grab headlines. But as the host of the “First in the South” primary, South Carolina is an equally important stepping-stone to the White House.
So, for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, this week’s touchdown in Columbia, S.C., is just the latest nod to political watchers that he’s seriously considering a run in 2016 (for the record, he’s been partying plenty in New Hampshire and Iowa, too). He also recently shook up his political staff and added some fresh blood to his campaign posse.
And come Monday, Cruz is the special guest at a victory lunch benefiting the South Carolina Republican Party. PT’s records show this is the second time Cruz has headlined a shindig for the state party: Back in May 2013, he was the featured guest at the 46th Annual Silver Elephant Celebration, which, incidentally, also served as a tribute to former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who retired last year in favor of running the Heritage Foundation.
Then, on Tuesday, as part of his duties as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will make the trek down to South Carolina for an RGA funder. It’s another stop on Christie’s marathon partying schedule, and he’ll be joined at the get-together by another fundraising powerhouse, Gov. Nikki Haley. The dynamic duo of Christie (always in the mix as a potential presidential candidate in 2016) and Haley (a rising star in the party who is up for reelection this fall) will only add to the RGA’s stuffed-to-the-gills bank account, which is thanks to Christie’s record-breaking cash-grab as head of the organization.
Two-day par-tay with Obamas, H. Clinton
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama join fundraising forces at the end of the week for the Democratic Party’s yearly confab for the Women’s Leadership Forum. The annual national issues conference is always a prime place to spot bold-named Dems, and this year, in addition to the president and first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are slated to speak. It’s all set to go down on Thursday and Friday at the brand-new (and super swanky) Marriott Marquis in downtown D.C.
Of course we can’t be sure, but the smart money is on Clinton and Gillibrand pulling heavily from their respective new books when prepping their remarks for the women-focused event. Gillibrand, who holds the Senate seat Clinton vacated to become Secretary of State in 2008, made some waves when her book, “Off the Sidelines,” revealed a batch of sexist remarks made by her male colleagues. (She also got into a bit of trouble with Northern Virginia residents when she referred to Arlington as a “soulless suburb.”) No matter: Gillibrand still made Time’s 100 Most Influential People list this year, and her book has everyone atwitter about whether or not the memoir is a nod to a future presidential run.
As for Clinton, well, just about everything she does and says is dissected and analyzed to the nth degree. Her tome, “Hard Choices,” might not have divulged anything new, but the book tour got the media buzzing about what another Clinton candidacy would look like. And for PT watchers, in September alone, Clinton headlines a fistful of fundraisers, including a recent stop in Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s Steak Fry.
Boehner makes it rain
Speaker of the House John Boehner is a fundraising fanatic. A master moneymaker. A crusader for campaign cash. During the recent recess, the Ohio Republican went on a multi-state money-grab, hitting up donors for specific candidates and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
On Thursday evening, Boehner has a party of his own, an alliterative gem called the Boehner backyard BBQ. It’s slated to take place at the Half Street Fairgrounds, right near Nats Park in Southeast D.C., but don’t let that, or the invite’s cute mason jar or quaint red-and-white-checkered theme, fool you: This is one pricey party. Tickets start at $500, and climb to $10,000 for what better be some pretty awesome BBQ.
Come Saturday, Boehner is back on the road, heading to the Empire State for a fundraiser for State Sen. Lee Zeldin. This is the latest in a string of high-profile help for Zeldin, who is running against Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop for New York’s 1st District House seat. Party Time’s records show that so far this year, Zeldin has partied with the likes of Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor (that fundraiser appearance was just a few days after Cantor’s surprise primary defeat, FYI), Oregon Rep. and NRCC Chair Greg Walden, and former Florida Rep. Allen West.
Party Time has a soft spot for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., because we can just about always count on her to throw some sort of themed get-together, complete with a gem of an invite (June’s Crawfish Fest is the latest winner). On Thursday evening, Landrieu is at it again with the sixth installment of her celebrity chef event, this one featuring Chef Rusty Holman of Pennsylvania Avenue’s Bayou. Expect to throw down anywhere from $1,000 to $5,200 to attend.
Landrieu’s creative ploys for cash collection are all sorts of necessary in her neck-and-neck race. The Rothenberg Political Report calls Landrieu’s matchup against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy a pure toss-up, and Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer tool shows that the candidates – and outside groups – are spending buku bucks on the seat.
But here’s a quandary, party people: We’ve got a pretty good record of Landrieu’s partying plans, but not a whole lot on the books for her challenger. Got a Cassidy invite to share, or know of a fundraiser in the works? Send whatever you’ve got right here.
Cash for Cotton
A similar scenario is playing out in Arkansas, another southern state where the Democratic incumbent is hanging on by a thread and gobs of money are flowing into the race. According to Real-Time, outside groups alone have spent more than $13 million on the Senate matchup between Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton. And recent polls give Cotton the advantage.
On Friday, lobbyists from mega firm Podesta Group are throwing a lunch fundraiser for Cotton at the company’s downtown D.C. headquarters. PACs are asked to chip in $1,000 to $2,500, but individuals can get in for a mere $500. Next week, Cotton will benefit from another high-profile party, when he goes to Tampa for a fundraiser headlined by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Political Party Time makes no secret of wanting to get the low down on as many parties as possible. So we absolutely love it when others partying aficionados jump in to scout out the 411 on far-flung festivities. And so we are extra excited to welcome Maine to the Political Party Time family!
The good folks at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting are PT’s first local partner in our never-ending endeavor to uncover the who, what, when and where of political fundraising. The Maine-specific project launched yesterday, and senior reporter Naomi Schalit has a fantastic and comprehensive roundup of how political parties go down in the Pine Tree State.
Schalit found that, like our friends in D.C., Maine politicians will riff off of just about anything for an excuse to throw a party. Congressional session just ended? You should throw a party! Holiday season getting started? Celebrate it with a fundraiser! In the mood for a day at the shooting range? Invite your best donors (oops, sorry: friends) to a party, and while you’re at it, raffle off a couple of guns, too!
When Political Party Time, OG edition, first launched back in 2008, we aimed to track fundraisers thrown for more top-of-the-ticket races: U.S. Congress and the White House.
But as word got out, and more and more fundraiser invitations started coming our way, our record of fundraising fun has grown to include state- and local-level races. And that’s such a good thing! If you’ll recall, one Mr. Barack Obama started out as a state senator in 1996 and was voted into the White House a mere 12 years later.
No matter one’s political inclinations, we can all agree it would be great to get our hands on some of those fundraiser invites from his first campaigns back in the ’90s. As a central repository of political fundraisers – and the only such database keeping tabs on how politicians party for campaign cash – PT couldn’t be more excited to have a boots-on-the-ground local partner with the same passion for partying.
Frankly, we hope that this partnership with our Maine friends is just the first of many state-level projects. If you are interested in joining the party, give us a shout! Contact us about setting up a Political Party Time feed specific to your community.
And this is probably an excellent time to cheerfully remind you that Party Time needs your help to keep on keeping on. PT’s database is rapidly approaching the 20,000 invitations mark, a feat that would be impossible without you all sending us the goods. So if you’ve got something to share, you know what to do! Upload official invitations right here, or email us whatever you’ve got.
Party people, for months now we’ve been anticipating a fall season bursting at the seams with political fundraisers. And here we are, in the second full week of September, with a jam-packed social calendar.
This week, D.C.-based partying is back in full swing after the traditional emptying out of Capitol Hill during August, which saw plenty of on-the-road fundraising. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is one politician taking advantage of D.C.’s summertime-in-September weather, throwing a fundraiser at Nationals Park during Tuesday night’s Nats-Braves matchup. It’s a popular party spot, but usually it’s to watch your home team take on the Nats (since Schneider represents Chicago’s northern ‘burbs, we’re assuming he’s a Cubs fan). But, hey, a politician’s got to do what a politician’s got to do, and if that means having a fundraiser during a baseball game when your team’s not playing, then so be it.
Although Party Time’s schedule is super full, we are sure there’s more going on out there. What have you heard about, and what invites have come across your desk? You know what to do! Upload official invites right here, or email us any news tips.
And with that, get ready for a busy week in political partying!
Dems are partying hard. Like, really, really hard.
Democrats and Republicans are in the midst of a fight to the death for control of the Senate. Seriously. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recently called his race against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes a “slugfest” and a “knife fight” during a fundraiser in southeastern Kentucky.
While candidates are using “control of the Senate” to rally support around their individual campaigns (at that same fundraiser, McConnell told those gathered: “This is the biggest race in the country. And the consequences are enormous.”), national-level party committees also employ the refrain to ply mega donors for mega bucks. To wit: This week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – in charge of keeping the Senate blue – is throwing six pricey parties.
Dems have been rather adept this year at deploying unpopular-yet-moneymaking politicos (ahem, President Obama) to collect cash, and this week’s swath of fundraisers continues the trend. Tuesday evening’s annual fall reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts features DSCC Chair Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., always a popular target for Republicans. Tickets start at $1,000 and climb to $32,400. And on Friday, expect a similarly priced event in Baltimore, where the partier-in-chief himself headlines a fundraiser. (Details on President Obama’s party are scarce, so let us know if you’ve heard about what’s doing in Charm City.)
Hillary Clinton makes her fall fundraising debut this week, hosting a DSCC reception and dinner – tickets go for $10,000 per person, or $32,400 per couple – at her Northwest D.C. home. Between her summertime book tour and various speaking gigs, not to mention the continual will-she-won’t-she-in-2016 storyline, Clinton keeps grabbing headlines. But Party Time counts this as her first step into purely political territory since May, when she headlined a fundraiser for Marjorie Margolies (mother-in-law to one Chelsea Clinton, not-so-incidentally), who ultimately lost her bid to return to Congress. State Rep. Brendan Boyle defeated Margolies in the Democratic primary for an open seat in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District.
Tuesday’s event is the first of two fundraisers this week for Clinton. On Sunday, she and hubby Bill will touch down in Iowa to co-headline Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual Steak Fry. As the site of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, the Hawkeye State visit has political prognosticators buzzing more than usual about her possible White House run. Ready for Hillary, the super PAC that’s collecting cash and solidifying support for a possible H. Clinton presidential candidacy, even cooked up a fundraiser raffle for supporters to win a trip to the Steak Fry.
And two more fundraisers fill out the week for the DSCC’s fundraising frenzy: On Wednesday, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper will host a lunch in D.C., and come Friday, party faithful will gather in swanky Kiawah, S.C., for a weekend-long fall retreat.
Famous faces come out for Michelle Nunn
In Georgia’s tight Senate race, Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn benefits greatly from name recognition. Her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, continues to be a popular political figure in her home state after serving in the Senate for more than 30 years.
But a recent article questioned whether or not the Nunn name provides much of a boost among African Americans or younger voters, key constituencies for Democratic candidates. Fortunately for the Nunn camp, some very well-known people with names that just about everyone can recognize are throwing fundraisers this week for the campaign.
First up is first lady Michelle Obama, who is headlining a roundtable fundraiser Monday afternoon in Atlanta. The event benefits Nunn and the DSCC, and marks Obama’s first foray into fundraising since the end of July. Then, on Saturday, former President Bill Clinton throws a funder at the Atlanta home of Usher. Is everyone else counting on a Clinton-on-the-saxophone version of “Yeah!”? Thought so.
Cash for Comstock
Before she became a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, Barbara Comstock was a go-to researcher and political consultant within Republican circles for years, working on former President George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000 and on Mitt Romney’s run in 2012. Now, as she competes for Virginia’s 10th District House seat, Comstock is getting help from some long-ago cultivated friendships.
On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., headlines a reunion event in D.C., which will feature other top aides from the 2012 campaign. Comstock’s team is also raffling off two tickets and a photo with Ryan, asking supporters to throw down anywhere from $25 to $2,600 for a chance to meet the former VP candidate and current chair of the House Budget Committee.
The next day, Comstock throws another fundraiser, this one at the Middleburg, Va., home of Kristi and Vito Germinario. Former Virginia Sen. John Warner and Rep. Frank Wolf, whose upcoming retirement opened up the 10th District seat, are slated to attend Wednesday’s event.
Happy birthday, Mr. Governor
Politicians will use anything for a fundraiser gimmick. And why not? If you are planning to celebrate a wedding anniversary or the coming of summer anyway, why not tack on a little fundraising for good measure?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a one-man fundraising machine for the Republican Governors Association, is joining in on the tradition and marking his birthday (which actually fell on Sept. 6) with a fundraiser for the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Christie will celebrate the big 5-2 with his right-hand man, Bill Palatucci, and Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, turned presidential candidate, turned big-time GOP surrogate in 2014.
While $150 will get you into the general reception, it’ll cost you $5,000 to attend the private reception or $25,000 to attend the roundtable. And if that doesn’t entice you to bust out the checkbook, the birthday balloons on the invite should do the trick.
Photo courtesy FlickrTweet
Hello, party people, and welcome to September! It’s the official start of what promises to be a very busy fall full of fundraisers for November’s midterm election. As politicians hunker down for the final stretch of their races, they’ll be asking you to dole out some serious campaign cash. It’s all about the money, honey!
Although Capitol Hill emptied out for August, Party Time’s records show that the partying did not stop when Congress hit the road for a five-week break. In fact, this was one of the busiest Augusts on the books for Party Time. We counted 135 parties last month, which clobbered last year’s tally of 89 events. It looks like the politicians just took the partying with them, hitting up supporters from sea to shining sea: Of last month’s 135 parties, only two of them took place in D.C.
Know of a fundraiser that happened last month and isn’t on our calendar? You know what to do! Upload invites right here, or email us tips or news clippings. And that, of course, goes for upcoming events, too. We want all of it! Send anything and everything right here.
The outside-the-Beltway fundraising trend continues this week, as politicians seem to want to extend that summer break as long as possible. In fact, a handful of them will pack their bags for a long weekend getaway. On Friday, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., will head back to his home state for his annual dove hunt weekend, and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., follows suit with a trip up to the Chesapeake Bay for a golf weekend. And Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., makes his way to French Lick, Ind., for a two-day golf trip with donors.
What else is on the books for this week? So glad you asked. Here’s your week in political parties!
No such thing as a free lunch
From the get-go, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t wanted for bold-named supporters. The Kentucky Senate candidate, running against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has collected cash from the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ben Affleck and partied with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Will.i.am and Bill Clinton – twice!
Given McConnell’s long tenure in the Senate and his front-and-center leadership role, Democrats are salivating at the chance to unseat him. Combine that with McConnell’s own fundraising prowess, and you’ve got a truly epic race, one that some predict will cost more than $100 million by the time the dust settles.
Grimes’ reliance on Dem heavyweights continues this week, as her campaign raffles off a D.C. lunch date with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The fundraiser sweepstakes isn’t the first time Warren has helped out Grimes, either: The two partied at back-to-back events in Kentucky at the end of June. And it’s just another example of how Warren – a liberal darling for her anti-Wall Street rhetoric – is the new “it” fundraiser for Democrats. Her partying schedule shows her bouncing from coast to coast to provide some progressive street cred to candidates and to help them raise tons of campaign cash.
Boehner brings in the bucks
Searching for an equally star-powered get-together for Republicans? Look no further than Tuesday’s early evening reception for Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, which features Speaker of the House John Boehner as the “special guest.”
It’s the latest installment of the Ohio Republican’s summertime road trip, which found him on a 14-state excursion filled with campaigning and fundraising. Boehner also huddled recently with donors and a handful of his Republican House colleagues in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where talk focused on how to pick up additional seats in the House and – you guessed it – the need for more campaign cash. (Bonus: Organizers also showed this highlight reel of sorts from Boehner’s bus tour.)
Coffman’s race, which pits him against Democrat and former state Rep. Andrew Romanoff, is one of the most closely watched this cycle, with the Rothenberg Political Report calling it out as one of the nation’s seven “Pure Toss-Up” contests in the House. And although Coffman is the one with the big-name event this week, Romanoff has gotten some support from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who headlined parties for him this July and back in August 2013.
In yet another indicator that November’s election is just around the corner, Thursday’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in New York features three headliners who can be counted on to inspire donors to cut a fat check: Pelosi, New York Rep. Steve Israel and former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, who logged a busy summer full of events for state-level party committees and a fistful of various candidates, continues to be a popular surrogate for Democrats. Thursday’s shindig is the first in what promises to be a long string of pre-midterm parties. And soon, Hillary Clinton – of will-she-or-won’t-she-in-2016 fame – will join in on the partying fun.
In the next few weeks, H. Clinton will be the featured speaker at four fundraisers, including an all-important stop in Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual (and final) Steak Fry. For those keeping track at home, yes, this will mark Clinton’s first trip to the Hawkeye State since her 2008 presidential campaign.
Before the close of summer: some BBQ and classic rock
With summer wrapping up, you can’t help but want to squeeze in as many warm weather-themed activities as possible. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is doing his part, throwing his annual Boozman & BBQ fundraiser in Little Rock. Tickets start at $60, but sponsorships cap out at $1,500.
If concerts are more in line with your idea of summer fun, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has just the ticket – well, he actually has two of them. Braley, who is running for the open Senate seat created by Harkin’s retirement against Republican Joni Ernst, is raffling off a pair of seats to Saturday night’s Eagles concert in Des Moines. We can’t decide between a play on “Take it to the Limit” or “The Last Resort,” so maybe it’s just better to let it go.
And that’s a wrap, party people! Know of anything good going on out there? Send whatever you’ve got right here.Tweet
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
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.