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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 - 03.31.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Old home weeks for Obama and Clinton; Oprah comes to Virginia, Rick Scott parties in Florida

Hello, party people, and happy Monday!

Are you still exhausted from last week’s frenzied fundraising schedule? In our last update, we reported that 28 parties were keeping politicians busy, but after a little help from our friends (hint: that’s you!), that count bumped up to 40 parties. That’s a lot of schmoozing, folks.

The legislators asking for your money seem to need a bit of a breather, too. The social calendar really hit the breaks this week, although some big names are still on the schedule. After his extensive travels in Europe and Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama hops on a plane again, this time heading to Chicago. He’s slated to have a “Small Dinner” fundraiser on Wednesday for the Democratic National Committee at the home of big-time bundlers Grace Tsao-Wu and Craig Freedman.

But we bet there’s a whole lot more going on in fundraiser-land than what’s on our calendar – after all, politicians never pass up an opportunity to party hard for cash. Over here at Party Time, we will keep digging around for more details and more invites, but if you hear of anything, shoot it our way! Double check those mailboxes and email lists, and send anything and everything you’ve got right here.

Clinton cash machine

Bill Clinton loves to help out his friends. The former president has been hopscotching the country to raise some big bucks for his buddies now running for office. In February, he stumped for Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, a longtime family friend. A few weeks ago, he rallied the troops in New York for Seth Magaziner, who is running for Rhode Island treasurer and whose father is a longtime Clinton adviser (and current head of the Clinton Health Access Initiative).

This upcoming weekend, Bubba makes his way back to his native Arkansas for two fundraisers for Democrats running for House seats. On Saturday, Clinton will work the crowd for James Lee Witt, running in Arkansas’ 4th district. Witt led the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Clinton’s presidency, and Clinton is retuning the favor with a $250-per-person party at Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, considered a star since winning the 4th district in 2012, currently holds the seat but is challenging Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in November.

On Sunday afternoon, Clinton makes his way over to the Argenta Community Theater in North Little Rock for a fundraiser for Pat Hays. Hays, who worked on Clinton’s campaign in 1992 and was the mayor of North Little Rock for 24 years, is running for the 2nd district seat. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., is hanging up his hat after two terms in the House.

Not to be outdone, Ready for Hillary, the super PAC set up to encourage Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, is throwing a pricey fundraiser at Capitol Hill hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell this week. The organization usually sticks to events with a $20.16 price tag (it’s clever and subtle), but tickets to Thursday’s party are going for $1,000 to $2,500.

DeMoney for DeMaio

Carl DeMaio caps off a bit of a fundraising spree on Monday with a reception in Southern California. During the past week or so, the Republican House candidate, running in California’s 52nd district, has held four fundraisers in attempts to bolster his campaign coffers. DeMaio, a former member of San Diego’s City Council and a mayoral candidate in the city in 2012, has his sights set on November, when he’ll likely face off against Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. (There’s an open primary in May, but our Real-Time tracker shows DeMaio and Peters are the top two candidates when it comes to cash on hand.)

DeMaio, who is one of three gay Republican House candidates in 2014 and made waves in February with an ad that featured him holding hands with his partner, has been a busy fundraising bee. Since last June, Party Time has 30 funders on the books for DeMaio.

Oprah comes to Virginia

The ever-influential Oprah Winfrey arrives in Alexandria on Saturday to party with Lavern Chatman, who is hoping to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran in Virginia’s 8th district. In her announcement about the Oprah-headlined event, Chatman said, “Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership.”

It’s a good friendship to have, especially since Chatman faces a crowded Democratic primary field. Although the media mogul doesn’t often get involved in politics, when she does, it tends to have a winning effect. Remember that time when Oprah got pumped up for one Mr. Barack Obama? Or when she threw a party for New Jersey’s Cory Booker? She’s two for two!

Rick Scott rakes it in

It’s been a tough few weeks for Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign. The Florida chief executive, running for reelection in November, recently lost his campaign committee’s co-finance chairman, health care bigwig Mike Fernandez. Fernandez abruptly resigned his post, and leaked emails reveal big-time internal issues, including concerns about outreach to Florida’s Latino community.

Then, last Thursday, Scott’s team got wind of another resignation: Gonzalo Sanabria, a board member of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, quit as a result of the Fernandez episode.

Sounds like it’s time for a party. Scott will have a private reception in Tampa this week, with tickets starting at $1,000 and climbing to $10,000 for a VIP reception. (Fun fact: One of the event’s hosts, Brent Sembler, heads up a shopping center development company and is a reliable GOP donor. In 2009, PT shows Sembler and his wife hosted a shindig for Charlie Crist, back when he was a Republican running for Senate.)

And those are the highlights, party people! Let us know if you hear of anything good going on out there – email us, or upload those invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.24.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Mitt Romney returns to the fundraising circuit, Thom Tillis comes to D.C., and Rep. Joe Garcia has three parties in three days

They’re baaaaack!

Party people, Congress is returning to D.C., so, obviously, the best way to celebrate is with a fundraiser … or two … or three. Our social calendar blows up this week with 28 parties as politicians come back to Capitol Hill after their weeklong recess. Ready them checkbooks!

This week also ushers in installments of two recurring fundraisers for Republican congressmen. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has his first of nine breakfast funders on Thursday morning at the Capitol Hill Club. If you throw down $5,000, you get two seats at each of the monthly breakfasts, cleverly titled the Dr. Phil Breakfast Club. And Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., has his second standing lunch date with supporters on Tuesday. Each one-hour lunch at Bullfeathers will put you back $500, or $1,000 to $2,500 for PACs.

It’s a packed week, but what else is going on out there? Upload those invites here, or email us any tips or clips.

Welcome back, Mitt!

Since taking a break after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney has mostly stayed out of the political limelight, heading to Disneyland with the family and working on a remodel of his La Jolla home. But in the last month or so, Romney has been popping up in the news – penning an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, weighing in on the proposed Arizona legislation that would allow businesses to deny service to gays based on religious beliefs – and on the party circuit.

After taking off about a year from fundraising, Romney is officially back in action. Last month, he headlined an event for the Republican Governors Association at the Lenox Hotel in Boston with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and this week, he’ll attend three more funders.

On Monday, Romney and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will hit up donors for the RGA during a pricey evening reception (as in, $25,000 to $50,000 per couple). Constance and Mike Fernandez, who chairs private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners, will host the event at their Coral Gables home. Coincidentally, MBF Healthcare Partners went in big for Romney in 2012, tossing $500,000 to Restore our Future, the super PAC set up to support the Republican nominee.

The next day, he jets up to the Big Apple to headline back-to-back fundraisers for Ed Gillespie, RNC-chairman-turned-American-Crossroads-founder-turned-Virginia-Senate-candidate. Gillespie, who worked on Romney’s campaign in ’12, is mounting a challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in November, and a new poll shows the race is getting tighter.

The Romney-headlined parties for Gillespie get started with a $1,000-per-person reception at the swanky Essex House. Then it’s off to a $5,200-per-plate dinner at the home of billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, founder and CEO of asset management firm Blackstone.

Thom Tillis gets some D.C. love

The Senate race in North Carolina gets hotter and hotter by the day. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s poll numbers keep dropping and the Cook Political Report just shifted the race from “leans Democrat” to “tossup.” She’s cruising above the fray of a primary fight, but the Republican contenders who want her seat are making a lot of noise and gaining traction among their party’s better-known personalities.

Monday evening, a fistful of GOP senators gathers at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s D.C. headquarters for a reception for Thom Tillis, the current speaker in North Carolina’s House of Representatives and one of Hagan’s top challengers. Tickets start at $500 for individuals and go up to $2,500 for PACs. It isn’t the first time Tillis has thrown a D.C. event with GOP heavyweights, either; in December, he partied with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

But it isn’t smooth sailing until the state’s Republican primary in May. In a familiar storyline, establishment-backed Tillis will face off against Greg Brannon, who has picked up endorsements from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and FreedomWorks head Matt Kibbe (the latter two even partied with Brannon during CPAC weekend). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hukabee is weighing in on the race, too. He attended a fundraiser for another Republican candidate, Mark Harris, a Baptist minister and founder of a group that successfully advocated for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Money for Mooney

Alex Mooney has been collecting top-tier conservative endorsements during his run for West Virginia’s second district House seat. The likes of Ann Coulter, Gun Owners of America, Family Research Council and the Tea Party Express are throwing their support behind Mooney’s candidacy. And his opinion piece from a few weeks ago, blasting the Environmental Protection Agency and “President Obama’s anti-coal policies,” should only further endear him to conservative voters.

On Tuesday evening, Mooney fundraises with fellow Republicans at D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club. Among others, the invite lists as hosts National Right to Work and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who just called the Koch brothers “two of the most patriotic Americans” during a town hall meeting. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris and Georgia Rep. (and Senate candidate) Paul Broun – who recently had a BYO gun target practice fundraiser and an AR-15 giveaway, respectively – are slated to attend.

Grimes goes for green

Democrats of all stripes keep coming out of the woodwork for Alison Lundergan Grimes in her bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Mega Dem donor and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former President Bill Clinton and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet have all done fundraisers for her so far this year, demonstrating her party connections and Democrats’ confidence that Grimes just might win the race.

On Wednesday, two prominent and well-connected gay political activists, Karen K. Dixon and Nan Schaffer, will host Grimes at their D.C. digs for a fundraising dinner. The couple are well-known LGBT activists in their hometown of Chicago, where Schaffer started a gay news outlet in the ’80s. And their Kalorama home was the site of that DNC fundraiser last June, where a gay rights protester interrupted First Lady Michelle Obama during her speech.

Joe Garcia’s fundraising frenzy

Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., is a one-man partying machine this week. He’s heading to three D.C. funders in as many days, an impressive schedule even for some of PT’s most experienced party animals.

Garcia is one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” members, a designation that means more money and resources will go to those races. On Monday, he joins three other “Frontline” members and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen for lunch on Capitol Hill. Then, on Tuesday, Garcia meets up with two different “Frontline” members and California Rep. Adam Schiff for breakfast at the DNC’s Wasserman Room.

On Wednesday, Garcia is throwing his own fundraiser, his second annual Cuban Style Taste of Miami. We’re not sure how festive a Capitol Hill row house can get on a Wednesday evening, but we can only assume it’ll be a raucous and celebratory evening, considering it caps off a full week of hobnobbing.

Pricey booze!

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., knows how to take a staid political fundraiser to the next level. He’s known around Party Time as a politician who favors hot dog receptions, Chicago-style pizza, ice cream socials and baseball games to traditional luncheons private dinners. And this week is no different.

On Tuesday – right at happy hour, we might add – the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC is throwing a reception for Quigley at the Oracle Townhouse on D Street. Tickets to get in will set you back $1,000 to $2,500, so drink up.

Whew, party people, what a busy week! Let us know what we are missing – email us, or upload invites here. Party on!

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.17.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: President Obama fundraises in Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz goes to Iowa, and Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp in Palm Beach

Party people, we’ve got another packed schedule of fundraisers upon us. Looks like Congress is taking advantage of its week away from Washington to shake the money tree in warmer locales: Texas, Arizona, California and Florida are all on the calendar. These politicians sure do know how to make the best of their time off the clock.

The one exception to the outside-of-the-District trend is Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day Fete in Fairfax on Monday. According to Party Time’s data, this is the second themed St. Paddy’s Day shindig on the books this year. But there must be more happening out there – after all, no self-respecting politician would pass up the opportunity to use a cute leprechaun with a pot of gold as a means to inspire campaign contributions! If you’ve heard of anything good, you know what to do: Send those invites and newspaper clippings here.

Now, it’s time to hit the road for this week in parties!

President Obama: Florida fundraising (and golfing?)

The Partier-in-Chief will join Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., DCCC head Steve Israel and Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation for a fundraiser in Miami on Thursday evening.

The cocktail reception and dinner will take place at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, who has also been known to join President Obama on the golf course. A few weeks ago, while on a family vacation in Key Largo, Obama hit the links with Mourning, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad and Cyrus Walker, Valerie Jarrett’s cousin. We can’t imagine that the president won’t take advantage of the sunshine and Florida’s omnipresent golf courses on this trip, either.

But wait, this just in: Late Friday night, Party Time learned that President Obama will attend a second fundraiser in Miami on Thursday for the DNC. He’s also the headliner for a DNC funder on Tuesday in D.C., but this is all we know about either event. If you’ve got details, please share! Email us, or upload an official invite here.

Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa … again

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may enjoy reading about Dr. Seuss’s take on breakfast foods, but on Tuesday, the freshman senator will have a plate full of sweets and goodies at a fundraiser in Mason City, Iowa. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Cruz are both slated to attend a Dessert Reception for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans in yet another indicator that the Texan is laying the groundwork for a run at the GOP presidential nomination. The next presidential election may be 32 months away, but it’s never too soon to buddy up with voters in Iowa, perennial site of the first-in-the-country caucuses.

Since the Iowa caucuses provide an important initial go-around for candidates vying to be president, getting in good with the state’s party leadership is always a wise first step. Cruz learned that one early, with our PT records showing he first hit up the Hawkeye State six months after being sworn in. Then it was last October’s Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner in Des Moines, followed by that memorable weekend Pheasant Hunt with Rep. King.

Need another sign Cruz has 2016 on the brain? The next fundraiser PT has on his schedule is the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire, the state with the first presidential primary.

Ted Cruz, you are one savvy partier.

McConnell in sunny SoCal

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to party on Wednesday afternoon with Christian conservative heavyweights in Southern California. The fundraiser, first reported by the Washington Examiner, will be hosted by California insurance executive John Nelson and Salem Communications CEO Edward Atsinger.

Atsinger’s Salem is a mega communications firm that specializes in evangelical Christian and conservative websites, like TownHall.com and HotAir.com, and radio shows hosted by the likes of Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt. In January, the Salem family got bigger when it gobbled up Eagle Publishing, which produced RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.

That move consolidated a significant chunk of right-leaning media outlets and personalities under one organizational umbrella, making a fundraiser with the organization’s head an efficient tip o’ the hat to voters in Kentucky wary of McConnell’s conservative bona fides. (And, might we add, Republican funders on the fence about doling out some dough to the Senate’s minority leader.)

Although polls have McConnell way ahead of his from-the-right primary challenger, Matt Bevin, the longtime senator is still neck-and-neck with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. So, bring on the bucks! Wednesday’s fundraiser, headlined by Prager and Hewitt, costs $15,200 per person or $30,400 per couple.

Cash for Crist

Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist continues to beef up his new left-leaning bona fides. On Wednesday evening, he will hobnob with the gay elite of South Florida at a fundraiser at the home of Dean Trantalis, the first openly gay member of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. According to the invitation, other hosts include Michael Albetta, a leader in the state’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus, and Norman Kent, the publisher of South Florida Gay News.

The fundraiser provides another opportunity for Crist to make nice with Florida’s LGBT community. While he was Florida’s governor from 2006-2010 – and had an “R” after his name – Crist supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But two years after moving out of the governor’s mansion, Crist changed his party affiliation and his position on marriage equality, even going so far as to apologize for supporting the amendment.

This is Crist’s second fundraising event Florida’s LGBT heavy-hitters. In January, Crist had a reception at Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean’s Winter Park home, where tickets started at $250 and went up to $10,000.

Weekend getaways + funders

A day away from D.C. is great, but why not turn that trip into a weekend getaway if you possibly can? Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., heeds that advice and heads to Las Vegas for a Spa Weekend Trip with a price tag of $1,500 for individuals or $2,500 for PACs. By the way, we trust Wagner’s intuition when it comes to a weekend of relaxation and luxury. She was, after all, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg during President George W. Bush’s second term.

If you’re more in the mood for a go-go-go weekend, the Americans for Spring Training trip has you covered. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., will converge in Orlando for a weekend full of spring training baseball games and a day at Walt Disney World.

But ever since Party Time heard about Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp weekend in Palm Beach, we couldn’t get it out of our heads. Not only is the invite priceless, we are beyond intrigued to learn about what goes down at West event that combines bow ties and camo. If you have any details – seriously, anything – send it right here.

That’s it for a busy week in out-of-town parties, folks. Let us know what we missed, and keep us posted on what you hear about: Email us, or upload invites here.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.10.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: President Obama’s New York fundraiser, Reps. James Clyburn and David Scott host D.C. dinners, plus hunting and spring training

Hello party people! We hope all you CPAC-ers have recovered from your weekend of keynotes and debates, plus something we learned about late in the game – Reaganpalooza for the Young Conservatives Coalition. What a whirlwind few days.

We aren’t sure, but that might explain why this week’s social calendar skews to the Democrats. We know the GOP doesn’t need a full week to recuperate, though, so let us know what parties are brewing out there. Email us any tips, or upload your goods here. (Know how we know Republicans can party like nobody’s business? Texas Gov. Rick Perry, fresh off his rousing CPAC appearance, is headlining the Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Kentucky with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.)

Before digging into the week, we feel obligated to point out two funders for the themed party aficionados among our readers. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., is having his Annual St. Patrick’s Celebration on Monday evening in Paterson. Even the contribution levels are themed – $350 for “shamrock” sponsorship, or $500 for the “emerald” level. And on Thursday, Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., is throwing his Sixth Annual Taste of Buffalo event at the DNC’s headquarters in Capitol Hill. The menu? Buffalo wings, Imperial Pizza and beef on weck, obviously.

Here’s what the rest of the week looks like, partiers. (If you know of anything we’ve missed, send whatever you’ve got here!)

Partier-in-Chief in the Big Apple

President Barack Obama is maintaining his packed fundraising schedule this week with a trip up to New York for two events. He’s smack in the middle of his run of 18 fundraisers this year, all scheduled in his party’s attempt to shore up cash for the 2014 election.

Although Obama’s approval ratings continue to drop (a recent Fox News poll has him at 38 percent), the president can still inspire deep-pocketed donors to write hefty checks. In addition to an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he’ll be hobnobbing with donors at a price tag of $32,400 per person during a Fireside Chat at the N.Y.C. home of Alan and Susan Patricof. That fundraiser for the DNC is limited to 13 couples or 26 people, according to Politico.

As far as we can tell over here at Party Time, this is the first Patricof-Obama event. The Patricofs are big-time supporters of the Clintons from way back when, as the foursome met in the Hamptons in the late ’80s and the Patricofs spent a night in the White House during Bill Clinton’s tenure. Alan Patricof raised lots of money for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, but stayed out of the 2012 election, meaning Tuesday’s event is yet another indicator of the Democratic establishment and Clintonworld aligning for 2016.

Cash for Clyburn

On the other hand, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., wants everyone to calm down about the still-far-off 2016 election. He recently rallied Democrats in Charleston during a Young Democrats of America meeting, encouraging attendees to get motivated for the midterms and not to focus too much on 2016. He, for example, said he was heading to Florida to gin up support for Alex Sink, who is in a tight race for the late Rep. Bill Young’s seat. A Democratic pickup there is “critical,” Clyburn said. (Side note: That special election in Florida is Tuesday, so if you know of any last-minute fundraisers – or early debt-retirement parties – happening, let us know!)

“Let’s have some victories in 2014, and then, the morning after the November election, we can get to work on 2016,” Clyburn told the crowd, according to a Post and Courier report.

He’s taking some of his own advice come Tuesday evening when he’s having a dinner fundraiser in downtown D.C. for his 2014 campaign. The Rev. Leon Winn announced in October he would challenge Clyburn this cycle, making the Baptist minister the first African-American Republican candidate in South Carolina’s 6th District since 2000. But Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, already has a significant leg up on the cash contest: Our Real-Time Tracker shows he’s got a little more than $1.1 million in the bank.

Scott’s small shindig

Rep. David Scott knows how to do Georgia politics. The Democrat served in state-level government from the ’70s to 2002, and then was elected to the U.S. House. Since then, Scott has won reelection easily, despite news reports in 2007 about some questionable campaign finance activity.

This year, Scott is facing a primary challenge from Michael Owens, a businessman and Marine Corps veteran. According to our Real-Time Tracker, Scott had loads more cash on hand than Owens, and the incumbent will only add to his totals after a Thursday night event. Scott is having a Small, Convivial Dinner at fundraising hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell on Capitol Hill. Tickets start at $500 and go up to $2,500.

Weekend Update with Party Time

Florida is the happening place to be this upcoming weekend, with two politicians heading to the Sunshine State for fundraising trips. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., will travel back to his home state on Friday for a three-day hunting excursion. When PT first heard about the event, details were still TBD, so if you know what’s on tap, let us know!

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., may not have another election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from throwing a fundraiser or two. On Friday, Casey will make his way to Bradenton, Florida, for a Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Weekend. And it’s probably a good time to get out of Washington – Casey was one of eight Democratic senators to vote against the confirmation of Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s pick to head up the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile’s nomination was controversial from the start, since he was on the legal team that attempted to get a death penalty sentence overturned for Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of murdering a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981. Obama was obviously peeved by the Senate’s vote, calling it a “travesty.” When it gets that chilly in D.C., it’s definitely time for a warm weekend getaway.

And that’s the week in review! What have we missed? Send us what you’ve got here. Until next week, party on!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.03.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Conservatives party hard in Baltimore, GOP rallies around Mike McFadden, Sen. Mark Udall fundraises in Florida and New York

Hey, party people, hey! It has been a busy few weeks on the party circuit, and we love hearing about all of the fundraiser details: What was on the menu for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit? How were Rep. Tom Price’s dance moves at the Justin Timberlake concert? (Know more details, or have some invites to share? Send it all here.)

This week is shaping up to be a bit more traditional, with your run-of-the-mill luncheons and receptions. But even those can get interesting once you throw in a boldfaced politician or two, such as the fundraiser-in-chief himself: President Barack Obama will be out shaking the money tree for his party. And on Friday,  the Republican Governors Association will be lunching and fundraising in Atlanta with Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Nathan Deal. The two GOP leaders continue to get heat for recent traffic issues in their respective states, with Christie not able to shake the George Washington Bridge scandal at home and Deal still recovering from the snow-induced commuter nightmare at the end of January.

And, as he’s fond of doing once every few months, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., is having one of his Bagels with Ben fundraisers on Wednesday morning. We’ve always had a soft spot for this event, seeing as it combines two of our absolute favorite things – alliteration and carbohydrates.

Let’s keep this train going, folks. Here’s the rest of your week in parties!

Magic Mike

No, not that “Magic Mike.” We’re talking about Mike McFadden, the investment-banker-turned-Senate-candidate hoping for a magical run for Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s seat.

Franken squeaked into the Senate in 2008, besting his Republican opponent by just 312 votes (out of the approximately 2.4 million cast). But after six years of legislating, fundraising and shedding a bit of his “SNL”/Hollywood boisterousness, Franken doesn’t look as vulnerable as he once did. Rothenberg even put the seat into the “Safe Democrat” column for the 2014 cycle.

No matter – the GOP is throwing some of its biggest names behind McFadden this Wednesday at Party Time’s first recorded fundraiser for the Republican candidate. Last May, McFadden stepped down from his post as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market to focus on his campaign; just a few months later, and he’s partying with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 13 other senators, plus former Minnesota Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman.

Our Real-Time tracker shows McFadden will need to keep the parties coming in order to elbow out Franken, who has been known to get creative on the social circuit. The Republican has just shy of $1.7 million in the bank compared to Franken’s $4.8 million.

Mike Making Money

Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass., wants to stay in the House and is having a luncheon this week to prove it. The Massachusetts native will fundraise over cheeseboards and meatball appetizers at Sonoma Restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.

This funder comes a few months after Capuano opted out of a run for governor in his home state. The Democratic primary would’ve pit him against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who bested Capuano once before. Back in 2010, the two duked it out for a chance to face Republican Scott Brown in that year’s special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat. Capuano lost that primary by almost 20 points, and then Brown won the general, becoming the first Republican senator elected from the Bay State since 1972.

Party Time’s data show the luncheon fundraiser is a go-to move for Capuano, but we’ve got high hopes that the congressman will spice it up a little during this campaign. After all, his nephew is “Fantastic Four” actor Chris Evans, who went out on the trail in the run-up to the 2010 special election. If you hear about a Capuano party in the works, you know what to do – send the details here.

Rally that base

This weekend (in a fairly accurate visualization of our country’s political polarization, by the way), the right and the left will be partying with some of their staunchest supporters on opposite coasts.

In Los Angeles, California Dems are having their State Convention, and inviting a fistful of big names to draw all sorts of blue state voters and operatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will all be on hand on Saturday, as will Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (a potential 2016 White House contender) and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Across the country, on the Maryland Harbor, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get going on Thursday. This is going to be the place to be for conservative activists and politicians this weekend, and boy oh boy, it looks to be a jam-packed weekend.

Be sure to come caffeinated: Things get started at 9 a.m. with speeches from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump. And the hits just keep on coming Friday and Saturday – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Heritage President Jim DeMint, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are all slated to speak. And if all that speechifying gets you down, check out the Ann Coulter-Mickey Kaus debate Saturday afternoon.

Democrats hit the road

We know the president is scheduled to headline an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in DC on Tuesday and, the following day, two fundraisers in Boston for the Democratic National Committee. But if you’ve got more deets, please share!

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has a busy weekend planned. He’ll pop down to Florida on Friday and then head north on Sunday for two days in New York. He’s had the trips on the books for a few weeks now, and the timing couldn’t be better for the freshman senator. Last Wednesday, Udall and political watchers everywhere learned that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would challenge Udall rather than running for reelection to the House seat he has held since 2010. Expect the GOP to pour lots of money and resources into this race, as Gardner is considered an up-and-comer and the National Republican Senatorial Committee made him a top recruiting target. Gardner has close — very close — ties to the energy industry, Sunlight has found.

With his southern California district encompassing some of the best-known movie and TV studios, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., knows the powerful draw of a big-screen star. This weekend, he is having his Second Annual Weekend with the Stars fundraiser in L.A. Specifics are TBA, although there is a nifty film role on the invitation, undeniable proof that donors will be rubbing elbows with celebs all weekend long.

And that’s the week, partiers! What have we missed? Let us know, by emailing us or sending invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.24.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Justin Timberlake concert + fundraisers, Bill Clinton parties with Alison Lundergan Grimes, plus a gun giveaway and weekend trips

Happy Monday, party people! Aside from more congested streets in D.C., you know how we can tell that Congress is back from break? A super-busy social calendar. Yes, this town will be bustling again with senators and representatives doing good, old-fashioned legislating. But they’ll also manage to find some time for partying with anyone with a checkbook.

Things get started right away, with three – count ’em, three – members of Congress getting their groove on during Monday night’s Justin Timberlake concert. Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., will all attempt to bring sexy back with J.T. at the Verizon Center. Tickets range from $1,000 to $2,500, but you may want to hold off on making any purchases. The “Suit & Tie” singer had to move around his N.Y.C. concert and postponed a show in Buffalo for unspecified “health reasons.”

Frankly, we’re most concerned about how Grimm, known more now for threatening to break a reporter in half than his campaign finance issues, will react to any bad news. For all of our sakes, take your vitamins and get better, Justin.

Later on in the week, Priorities USA hits up donors in the Big Apple. In January, the super PAC, which supported President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection, beefed up its board, brought on Jim Messina (Obama’s former campaign manager), and announced it was aligning itself with Hillary Clinton and her still-TBD 2016 presidential run. Thursday evening’s reception is the first fundraiser since this shakeup, and will provide yet another indicator of which Dem power players will line up behind H.Clinton.

And these are just some of the highlights, partiers! We’ve still got to thumb through our invites of weekend getaways, a gun raffle, and a traditional fundraiser or two. It’s a busy week, but there’s got to be more going on. Let us know what you’ve heard about by emailing us or uploading invites here.

Grimes gets it going

Alison Lundergan Grimes maintains two campaign trends this week: a busy fundraising schedule and big-name special guests.

On Tuesday, Grimes lunches with supporters and Bill Clinton at downtown Louisville’s Galt House, a high-rise hotel on the Ohio River. The former president is tight with Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, a prior chair of Kentucky’s Democratic Party. It’s sure to play out like a family reunion lovefest, with the added benefit of fundraising.

On Sunday evening, Grimes flies to the Sunshine State for a reception in Palm Beach. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who heads up the effort to keep the Senate in Democratic control, will be on hand to ply donors for cash. Recent polls give Grimes a four-point lead over Sen. Mitch McConnell, but the Minority Leader won the fundraising battle at the end of last year.

Paulie, get your gun

Last January, when a slate of Republicans voted against Rep. John Boehner keeping his post as the Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia threw some salt into the wound: He suggested outspoken conservative Allen West for the position, even though the Florida congressman had lost his reelection bid and was no longer in Congress. One reporter cited it as an example of Broun’s “flair for the provocative.”

It’s a different year, but the Atlanta native continues with similar tactics. This week, Broun, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., is wrapping up a gun giveaway. Yep, all you need to do is give your name and email address to Broun’s campaign committee and you could win an AR-15. It’s simple, it’s free, and it sure is provocative.

POTUS and VP fundraise for DNC

The partier-in-chief is getting back on the fundraising horse. Last week, President Obama went to a dinner for the Democratic Governors Association at D.C.’s St. Regis, but this Friday, he’s doing his first fundraiser of the year for the Democratic National Committee.

The roundtable discussion is one of the 18 fundraisers Obama has committed to do – so far – for 2014. If you know details for any of these events, send us an email or upload official invites here!

Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden heads to Arizona on Friday. The reception in Phoenix is the second DNC event this year for Biden, who had a dinner fundraiser last week in Minneapolis at the Bachelor Farmer. And that reminds us: Party Time wants to give a big, confidential air high-five to the person who slipped us the menu for that dinner! We love hearing about those details, so keep them coming. Email us, or upload whatever you’ve got.

Cash for Capps

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., may be retiring from Congress but he’s not hanging up his fundraising hat just yet. The longtime SoCal congressman is slated to attend a Wednesday dinner for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., at Capitol Hill’s Monocle Restaurant.

After years of winning handily in safely blue communities, redistricting in 2012 made Capps’ race against Republican Abel Maldonado, a former state senator and lieutenant governor, one to watch. Capps won by 10 points, largely because she was able to – wait for it – raise more money than her challenger.

For the 2014 campaign, Capps is again on the Democrats’ “Frontline” list, which means she’ll benefit from extra support around fundraising and voter outreach. Wednesday’s event will pair Capps with Waxman, buddies from their time together on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Our Real-Time Tracker shows she’s still winning the money game.

Wanna get away?

Everyone needs to get out of the city once in a while. For us regular folks, it means fresh air and a few minutes away from work emails. But for politicians, it means that plus fundraising. And for this upcoming weekend, we’ve got three fundraising trips on the books.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., heads back to his home state on Friday for a Spring Training Trip that’ll cost you $1,500 to $2,500. If a Spa and Cooking Weekend is more your style, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has you covered with a getaway to the swanky Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, Miss. While specifics for those two trips are still TBA (you know what to do if you’ve got ‘em), Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, promises plenty of skiing during her Anchorage trip. (And, as a side note, of the three weekend getaways, she totally wins the best invite award. See what we mean?)

What a week, party people. Keep sending us those invites and news tips!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.17.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Biden parties in Minneapolis, Paul Ryan heads to New Hampshire, Chris Christie continues collecting cash

Happy long weekend, partiers! We hope you are all snuggled up against the snow and cold, and enjoying the annual national tip of the hat to our famous presidents.

Our current politicians are piggybacking on the winter break theme with a handful of seasonally appropriate parties: the National Republican Senatorial Committee has its Winter Retreat this week; Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, hits the slopes, and Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., trades in the cold for a weekend of golfing in California. Plus, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday goes to Minneapolis and First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday hits New York City, both raising money for the Democratic National Committee.

We got a stack of party invites with some big-ticket names this week, but we just know there’s more going on. Party people, what have you heard about out there? Email us your tips and news clippings, or upload invites here.

And now, for some parties!

Christie on the calendar

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can’t seem to get enough of the party circuit. It’s been a busy 2014 already, with multiple stops in Florida and Texas, plus last week’s threefer in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that during his Windy City tour, Christie brought in $1 million for the Republican Governors Association, of which he is the chairman.

The George Washington Bridge scandal and questions about Hurricane Sandy fund allocation may still be brewing back home – and talking heads can’t get enough of the “Christie as Kryptonite” storyline – but no matter: The guy can deliver the goods. Multiple news outlets reported last week that the RGA brought in a record $6 million in January.

The traveling/speaking/fundraising continues this week, with a stop on Tuesday at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Winter Retreat in New York. GOP senators will be strategizing about how to take advantage of the continued drama around the Affordable Care Act’s roll out and cheerleading for Senate seat pickups that could give them the majority come November. Christie then hops down to D.C. for a weekend meeting with the bipartisan National Governors Association. Rumor has it that RGA events are in the works around the weekend event; let us know what you’ve heard about!

New Hampshire heats up

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is stopping in at downtown Manchester’s Radisson on Tuesday for a fundraiser for Frank Guinta, who is running to reclaim his 1 st District House seat. Ryan was supposed to do the event in October, but canceled because of the government shutdown. In a big get for Guinta, the pair will be joined by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. (who is, apparently, eschewing that day’s NRSC Winter Retreat).

Guinta and the incumbent, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, have been swapping the seat in the past few elections. Shea-Porter served two terms after being elected in 2006, but then lost in 2010 to Guinta, the former mayor of Manchester. Shea-Porter won back the seat in 2012; last September, Guinta announced he would run again in 2014.

But before he can go head-to-head with Shea-Porter, Guinta faces a primary fight against Dan Innis, a gay Republican and business professor. Although his business community connections may help him out on the fundraising front, our Real-Time tracker shows that, so far, Guinta is leading the money game.

Golfing in San Diego

Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., will be warming up in sunny SoCal with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., during a weekend getaway full of golfing and fundraising. According to PT data, this may be Vargas’ first foray into the congressional pastime of combining recreational weekend fun with raising campaign cash. But if you know of getaways featuring the freshman that we missed, let us know!

Hitting the links may also provide him a break from some of the negative news swirling around him. In January, U-T San Diego reported that Ravnett Singh, the CEO of D.C.-based firm ElectionMall, was arrested and charged with conspiring to channel money from a Mexican businessman into several San Diego races. The federal complaint didn’t name names, but said one of the four politicians involved ran for a federal post in 2012. When the Voice of San Diego asked him about it, Vargas played the cannot-confirm-or-deny card, telling the news outlet, “I am shocked at these claims and, if true, am offended by the actions of these individuals.”

Yep, definitely time for some golf.

… and skiing in Utah

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is peacing out and heading home. After a rough week for Republicans – see: the recent debt ceiling vote, and, perhaps more dramatic, the cloture vote preceding it – the first-term senator is heading to Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge on Wednesday for some quality time on the slopes (and in the lounge with donors). Get ready to throw down at least $1,500 for the midweek excursion.

Dinner with Joe

Vice President Joe Biden will take a break from creating gif-tastic moments this week with a fundraising stop in Minneapolis. He’ll be raising campaign cash for the DNC Wednesday evening during dinner at the Bachelor Farmer, owned by Gov. Mark Dayton’s sons, Eric and Andrew. President Obama visited the restaurant in 2012; if you know what’s on the menu for the VP’s get-together, we want to know all about it. Send any details (pictures perhaps?) here.

By the way, Biden’s got a few pretty enviable weeks – first the Minneapolis feast, and then he gets to hang with Seth Meyers during the comedian’s first “Late Night” episode. It’s hard work, but someone’s got to do it.

That’s the week, party people! Keep us posted about any parties that are brewing out there.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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2014 elections Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.10.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Christie parties morning, noon and night in Obama town, Pelosi raises money for Keystone Stater; Boehner heads to the Tanning State, and a $1,000 hot dog

Happy Monday, you party animals! It’s a new week filled with new parties … but a lot of the same faces. To wit: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continues to lend her support to some not-quite-national-spotlight races, while Gov. Chris Christie keeps up his busy fundraising schedule for the Republican Governors Association. Hey, if you’ve got bold-name party appeal, why not use it (and use it, and use it, and use it some more)?

We bet there are lots more shindigs happening out there, so if you hear of anything, let us know – send us an email, or upload those fundraising invites here.

And now, for this week’s highlights…

Chris Christie, you travelin’ man

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues his Republican Governors Association road show this week with a batch of fundraisers on Tuesday. He’ll be partying with donors during morning, afternoon and dinner fundraisers in Chicago – all events that surround his lunchtime Q&A at the Economic Club of Chicago.

Illinois is a hot place for the RGA to plant some fundraising roots. The gubernatorial race, not happening until November, already promises to be a close one, with the Washington Post calling it out as one of the top 15 gov races to watch in 2014. Republicans will face off in a March 18 primary, but no matter who comes out on top, recent polls show it’s going to be a tight race against the incumbent, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. That means lots more fundraisers and lots more state-level face time with one Chris Christie. (To our Midwest readers who are close to the ground game: Let us know about what parties you hear about! Send those invites here.)

The one-stop/multiple fundraisers move in Chicago is a familiar tactic for Christie, and most other prolific fundraisers (see: Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, etc.). In mid January, Christie spent a long weekend in Florida to fundraise for the RGA and, by extension, Gov. Rick Scott. And last week, Christie did a one-two punch in Texas, with fundraisers in Dallas and Fort Worth.

After his Chicago trip, Christie will deliver speeches at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Winter Retreat and, after getting the cold-shoulder last year, at the Conservative Political Action Conference. As Christie continues on this whirlwind of fundraising and speaking engagements, all eyes will be on the degree to which the George Washington Bridge scandal continues to follow him. In Florida, Scott didn’t appear publicly with the New Jersey governor, and during the Texas trip, neither Gov. Rick Perry nor presumed GOP candidate Greg Abbott attended the RGA events.

Pelosi parties on

Rep. Nancy Pelosi is rallying the Democratic leadership troops for a Monday evening cocktail party for Mark Critz, who is running for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania. The former congressman is benefiting from his D.C. connections with an event at the 116 Club, which PT data show is a popular fundraising spot.

Critz represented the 12th District after his one-time boss, Rep. John Murtha, died in 2010, but hardly got the seat warm before redistricting and a massively well-funded Republican opponent led to his defeat. Now, Critz looks to jump back into politics. First, however, he faces a crowded field of competitors for Pennsylvania’s number-two position. Party invites with names like Pelosi, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., should help bring in the dough for a race that, as Keystone Politics puts it, “rarely generates excitement.”

LoBiondo does lunch, breakfast

Gov. Chris Christie isn’t the what-exit state’s only party animal. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., will be doing his own set of back-to-back fundraisers in D.C. this week, with a lunch on Tuesday and a breakfast on Wednesday.

LoBiondo has been reelected handily, garnering at least 59 percent of the vote, since he first got sent to Capitol Hill as part of the 1994 Republican wave. This year, Democrat Bill Hughes Jr. – son of former Rep. William Hughes, who LoBiondo defeated back in ’94 – will take aim at the 2nd District seat.

In January, the National Republican Congressional Committee set up a web page, billhughesjrforcongress.com, to direct Internet searches about Hughes to the NRCC-run site (complete with a donate button that sends contributions to the GOP committee). It’s part of a larger strategy by the group to use Web addresses with Democratic candidates’ names as a means to collect donations for the Republican campaign committee.

Cashing in for Comstock

Although currently serving in the Virginia House of Delegates, Barbara Comstock has been in the political game for most of her career. She cut her political teeth on a variety of Republican projects, perhaps most notably as the director of research at the RNC, where she made a name for herself with her top-notch investigations of Democratic opponents. She was also part of Mitt Romney’s “Virginia leadership team” in the run-up to the 2012 election and was a head organizer of the RNC convention that year.

It’s no surprise, then, that Republican heavy-hitters are throwing their support behind her bid for Virginia’s 10th District House seat, which opened up when Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., announced he was retiring. In addition to Romney tweeting his support and conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin announcing his endorsement, VIEW PAC – a fundraising group for women GOP candidates – is hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Club. Just about every GOP congresswoman is slated to attend.

Tanning break for Boehner?

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, will be partying for his joint fundraising committee, Boehner for Speaker, this weekend. He hits up donors in Florida on Saturday with Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Vernon Buchanan, R-Fla. Hosts Jesse and Katie Biter are well known within Florida’s Republican circles, as Jesse Biter was the state chairman of Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign and lent a hand in Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign and Gov. Rick Scott’s election.

There’s only the one event on the books for the Speaker’s trip to the Sunshine State, which can only mean one thing: He’s making plenty of time to catch some rays.

This week in pricey food

We love a good lunchtime meal, and if it comes from a food truck, all the better. But over here at Party Time, we couldn’t help but scratch our heads at a hot dog that goes for at least $1,000.

Turns out, that’s the going rate for normally cheap street fare when you’re eating it with a member of congress. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., is having his Semi-Annual Chicago Hot Dog Reception on Tuesday evening and is asking for $1,000 per person, or $2,500 to sponsor the event. Our suggestion? Load up on mustard and relish.

What a week, party people. Check out the rest of our social calendar, and as always, let us know what you’ve heard about!

Photo credit: Flickr.com

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.03.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Florida funders, Pelosi in Philly, Rand Paul goes red, white and blue, and Mark Udall heads to Vail

Party people, we are just about recovered from the State of the Union – we’ve sifted through our fair share of Joe Biden memes and watched that video of Rep. Michael Grimm lose it. We’ve even made our own version of the speech with Sunlight’s State of the Union Machine.

Politicians of every stripe took advantage of the all-eyes-on-Washington week and fundraised their tails off (Sen. Mitch McConnell had morning and evening events last Wednesday; First Lady Michelle Obama told donors to “write a big fat check” at one of her four California events). The trend looks to continue into this week, with a busy social calendar for heavy-hitters in D.C., Florida and Pennsylvania, plus a swanky weekend getaway to Vail, Colo.

The schedule is busy, but we are confident there are other parties happening out there that we haven’t heard about. Know of anything good going on? Email us those invites and newspaper clippings, or use our handy-dandy (and confidential) upload feature.

And now, for some parties!

Fundraising for Florida

Florida never fails to entertain. A perpetual swing state full of close local races – not to mention the competing (and entertaining) fundraising forces of Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist – Florida will yet again compel all of politics to pay hyper-close attention.

This go-around, it’s a special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Bill Young, who died last October. Although the Republican kept his 13 th District in the GOP column for 42 years, the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report ranks the seat as one of six “pure toss-up” races of 2014. Translation: Fasten your seatbelts.

Republicans already duked it out during a contentious primary in January. State Rep. Kathleen Peters ultimately lost to David Jolly, but not before she routinely referred to him as a lobbyist (yep) and charged that he worked in favor of President Obama’s health care law (nope). Jolly was no saint, either; according to the Tampa Bay Times, a Jolly mailer said Peters wouldn’t “take a stand” on the health care law even though she consistently said she was against it.

Things didn’t get much better after the primary. The Times reported that Peters, name-checking Jolly’s lobbying career again, wasn’t ready to endorse her party’s candidate quite yet. “Is there going to be trust there? That’s been my concern all along, and that’s where I think we’re going to be weakened,” Peters told the Times.

But just a few weeks later, and Peters is ready to belt out “Kumbaya” with the best of them. She will be partying Wednesday morning (at, yawn, 7:30 a.m.) with Jolly and virtually every other elected state-level Republican in Florida. Gov. Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry and a fistful of state senators and representative are throwing their support behind Jolly at the Tallahassee reception.

That kind of across-the-board support is exactly what Alex Sink has been enjoying for months now. Democrats lined up behind their 13th District contender from the get-go, labeling her a “jumpstart” candidate, which translates into extra hands on deck for her campaign. In December, Dem leaders threw her a fundraiser in D.C., and on Wednesday evening, a similar cast of characters will party with her at the DNC’s headquarters. Tickets start at $250 for individuals and cap out at $5,000 for PACs.

Sink, Florida’s former CFO, has a significant cash advantage over Jolly. She raised more than $1 million in the last months of 2013 (including a noteworthy $1,000 contribution from Charlie Crist), and recorded a one-day haul of $31,500 earlier this month. Jolly raised $388,450 at the end of 2013, and has since brought in an additional $35,700.

Pelosi in Pennsylvania

Democratic leadership will kick in support for some of its other “jumpstart” candidates on Thursday. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fresh off a “who-moi?” performance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, heads to Philadelphia for a party at the Racquet Club. Three new-to-the-national-stage candidates, all hoping to turn their districts from red to blue in 2014, will benefit from the draw of Pelosi’s name at the top of the invite.

Party leadership recruited Kevin Strouse, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to run against Republican Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. Another veteran, Michael Parrish, announced he was throwing his hat in the ring for Pennsylvania’s 6th District seat, which opened up when GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach said he was retiring. And in a race that has the potential to get real interesting real fast, Aimee Belgard will go head-to-head with conservative Steve Lonegan – who lost to now-Sen. Cory Booker in a special election last fall – in a race for New Jersey’s 3 rd District seat. After two terms in the House, Rep. Jon Runyan, a Republican, won’t run for reelection.

According to PT’s data, this is the first fundraiser for all three candidates. (Know of more? Send us those invites!)

Red, White and Blue – and Rand Paul

Last year, there were two official retorts to the State of the Union address – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered the tea party response and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., became infamously thirsty during the Republican Party’s reaction. But for 2014, a few more people got in on the action: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., represented Republicans, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, weighed in for the tea party … and Sen. Paul spoke on behalf of, well, himself.

As the Washington Post noted, this mirrors the intense power plays going on in the GOP. But it also sheds some light on Paul’s political aspirations – and potential strategies – as he blends his libertarian bona fides with a growing appeal among conservatives. He may have started out as a long-shot candidate, but he’s gaining steam as a viable 2016 contender. Other things that keep up that kind of chatter: last year’s fundraising stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina (hey, key primary states, hey).

On Wednesday, Paul will deliver the keynote at the American Principles Project’s Red, White & Blue Gala at D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel. The benefit for the conservative nonprofit – board members include National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher and leading Catholic scholar Robert P. George – will allow Paul to beef up his social conservative street cred. He may even weigh in on the hot topic of immigration, especially seeing as American Principles recently launched an initiative to gin up support for immigration reform among conservatives.

Udall hits the slopes

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., had a tough week. After the State of the Union, he fumbled with questions about campaigning with President Obama during Udall’s upcoming reelection fight. And a few days later, he learned his son was arrested and charged with heroin possession and trespassing. Sounds like he could use a breather.

It’s perfect(ish) timing, then, that Udall cruises over to Vail on Friday for a weekend retreat benefiting his leadership PAC, Peak PAC. We first heard of the funder in December, when Peak was having a breakfast event in D.C. Do you have more details to share? Email us what you’ve heard about.

Whew, party people, what a week. There’s a lot going on, but we bet there’s more happening that we haven’t heard about. Keep us in the loop – send those invites and save the dates our way!

Photo credit: Tumblr.com

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 01.27.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Ready for Hillary in Florida, Philly; McCain preps for 2016; Michelle Obama fundraises in California

Good morning, partiers! We are coming off a quiet week here in Washington, save for a star-studded dance party for the First Lady’s 50th birthday (Magic Johnson! Michael Kors! Mary J. Blige! Beyonce!). But things gear up, starting today, as Congress returns to Capitol Hill and the president preps for his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Let’s get down to business, folks.

Democrats are a force to be reckoned with this week, with Michelle Obama headlining fundraisers in California, Hillary Clinton backers coming out in Florida and Pennsylvania, and Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., celebrating the Asian Lunar New Year in D.C. Not to be outdone, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will have a D.C. fundraiser of his own as he readies his 2016 campaign.

But we can’t help but think that there’s a big gap on our social calendar – we haven’t heard of a single Super Bowl-related political party! As fans of the Broncos and Seahawks dig into chicken wing platters and bowls of chips and dip on Sunday, we find it hard to believe that the Colorado and Washington state delegations won’t be taking advantage and hosting a fundraiser or two. Heck, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., are the two most recent chairs of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which means they definitely know how to throw a good party. Know of any Super Bowl funders going on? Let us know here. (And to our Colorado- and Washington-based readers: Any local or state politicians partying for football and funds? Upload any invites or newspaper clippings here.)

Happy New Year! Now fork over the cash.

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., gets the party started this week with a Monday evening fundraiser to celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year. Want to ring it in at the Democratic National Committee HQ on South Capitol Street? Tickets start at $500 per person, or range from $1,000 to $5,000 for PACs.

She’ll need to start stockpiling (PT only has record of one Meng fundraiser) for her reelection campaign, and quickly. Rumors continue to swirl that John Liu – former N.Y.C. comptroller and recent mayoral candidate – may put up a primary challenge for Meng’s seat.

Incidentally, earlier this month, the freshman congresswoman introduced a bill to make the Lunar New Year a school holiday. It’s similar to legislation Meng attempted to get through New York’s State Assembly in 2009 and 2011, when she represented Flushing, Queens.

Hillary’s ready-and-waiting money machine

Ready for Hillary continues its stampede across the U.S. to raise money for H. Clinton as she continues to hem and haw about running for president. (And we are just on the edge of our seats – she said she’d decide sometime this year.) Like everyone else, PT is keeping an eye on Clinton’s continuously hectic travel schedule, not to mention Priorities USA Action’s recent announcement that it officially backs a Clinton candidacy and will start collecting cash for her.

While Priorities focuses on bringing in mega-donations from mega-donors, Ready for Hillary has capped individual contributions at $25,000, a lot of money in the real world, but chump change in the super PAC fundraising world. And this week, Ready for Hillary hosts two of the smaller-dollar fundraising events the group is known for.

On Monday night, it’s $25 per person to hit up a fundraiser at the St. Petersburg Marriott. Former Clinton White House adviser Craig T. Smith will pop by, making this his third Ready for Hillary event. And on Thursday, it’s $20.16 to attend a funder at Philadelphia’s G Lounge, with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

McCain Money

John McCain is keeping us on our toes. Turns out, the Arizona Republican is going for Senate term number six in 2016.

Back in October, he said he was “seriously thinking about” running for reelection, and in December, he had a $1,000 to $5,200 per person event at Manhattan’s St. Regis, a high-roller hotspot.

Since then, McCain has weighed in on Florida’s 13th District congressional race, endorsing Republican David Jolly over Democratic candidate Alex Sink, and said President Obama is worse than Jimmy Carter. And last week, McCain delivered his signature dose of sarcasm during a Senate nomination hearing for an ambassador to Norway (which is gaining a lot of traction since the nominee, George Tsunis, is a big-time bundler for Obama, and the prez has a habit of tossing cushy ambassador posts to his major donors).

On Tuesday evening, right before the State of the Union, McCain will be hobnobbing at Johnny’s Half Shell, asking donors for at least $1,000 each to help get him reelected. According to the invite, he’d be “delighted” to see you there.

Dems go big in California

Michelle Obama may be calling herself “50 and fabulous,” but Democrats are thinking more along the lines of “50 and fabulous and fundraising.” They are dispatching her to California this week to headline four events.

On Wednesday, the First Lady makes good on a fundraising stop canceled in October due to the government shutdown. Obama will head to the L.A. home of “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Philip Rosenthal and his actress wife, Monica Horan, for a $1,000 to $32,400 per person fundraiser. On Thursday, she doubles up in San Francisco with two DNC fundraisers. And on Friday, Obama will be at a Women’s Lunch with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at downtown S.F.’s Fairmont Hotel. Ready those checkbooks!

That’s the rundown for this week, party people. Let us know what we are missing – upload invites here, send us an email or connect with us on Twitter. Party on!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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