Jeb Bush – former governor of Florida and likely 2016 presidential candidate – piqued the interest of political watchers everywhere this week when his newly formed leadership PAC sent out invitations for a fundraiser on Wednesday in Connecticut.
As first reported by the CT Politics blog, invites to the reception called for contributions of up to $5,000. The event “will be an opportunity to discuss the Governor’s background, his future plans and most importantly, ask questions,” according to the emailed invitation obtained by CT Politics.
Longtime Bush insiders Craig and Debbie Walker Stapleton are organizing the fundraiser in Greenwich, Conn., where Bush’s grandfather, the late Connecticut Sen. Prescott Sheldon Bush, lived and is buried.
Craig Stapleton was the ambassador to the Czech Republic (2001-2004) and France (2005-2009) under former President George W. Bush, Jeb’s brother. Stapleton also served as the Connecticut Finance Chairman for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000 and as its Connecticut State Chairman in 2004, and was on the board of the George W. Bush Library and Foundation.
This is Stapleton’s third appearance in Party Time as a fundraiser host. In 2011, he added his name to two invites for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
Debbie Walker Stapleton is a first cousin of former President George H.W. Bush, Jeb’s father. In 2009, she published a cookbook about her time in France, titled “Elegant Entertaining: Seasonal Recipes from the American Ambassador’s Residence in Paris.”
The host committee for Wednesday’s event also includes Richard Breeden, who served as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission under former President George H.W. Bush and now runs an equity investment fund company. Breeden also hosted a handful of fundraisers in 2011 and 2012 for Romney’s presidential run, according to Party Time data.
David McCormick, who was Undersecretary for International Affairs in the Treasury Department during the second Bush presidency, is also listed as a host for Wednesday’s party. McCormick is now the co-CEO of hedge fund behemoth Bridgewater Associates.
On Tuesday, Fox News reported that Jeb Bush would file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to establish his leadership PAC, the Right to Rise PAC. Money raised during Wednesday’s private fundraiser will go the group. As of publication time, we’ve seen no paperwork so far, but you can keep an eye on our new committees page here.
The Nutmeg State fundraiser is the latest in a string of not-so-subtle hints that Bush wants to follow his dad and brother to White House. In a mid December post on Facebook, Bush announced he would “actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.” Bush’s post also stated he would create a leadership PAC to “help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.”
The “What We Believe” page on the Right to Rise PAC’s website focuses primarily on economic issues. It states: “We believe the income gap is real, but that only conservative principles can solve it by removing the barriers to upward mobility.” But the page also checks the usual presidential boxes: national defense, energy, immigration and education.
A few hours after Fox reported on the formation of the PAC, Bush updated his Facebook cover photo to include the Right to Rise PAC’s logo. He also posted two short videos – one in English and one in Spanish – announcing the PAC’s creation.
But Bush isn’t the only Republican from Florida with presidential ambitions and a fundraising apparatus. Sen. Marco Rubio continues to mull over a bid for the White House in 2016, and in December, he talked with donors about a possible run during a fundraiser for his joint fundraising committee, the Rubio Victory Committee. And Rubio recently told New York Times Magazine that his decision to run for president wouldn’t hinge on Bush.
The power brokers behind Right to Rise PAC already appear to grasp the potential rivalry between the two possible presidential contenders. An advertisement for Right to Rise PAC came up during recent Google searches of “Marco Rubio 2016″ and “Rubio Victory Committee.”
While Bush is making his way north for his PAC’s inaugural fundraiser, two other potential 2016 rivals are in his state Tuesday for a different kind of inaugural. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and soon-to-be-former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas both had front and center seats at the swearing in of Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., for a second term.
Photo courtesy WikipediaTweet
Party people, the year is quickly drawing to a close and you know what that means: A look back at the best – as in, creative/kooky/oddball – parties of 2014! (If you know of a winner that we don’t have, you know what to do! Send it right here.)
As we thumb through the year that was, we are struck by all of the strategic partying that went down, especially in the run-up to the midterms. We watched potential 2016-ers Hillary Clinton, outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., crisscross the country and cozy up to campaign contributors. And wouldn’t you know it … some of those donors just happened to be in key presidential primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
The partier-in-chief himself was a force to be reckoned with, too, headlining 71 fundraisers this year, according to Party Time’s data. Although any presidential party is noteworthy, everyone seemed to get extra excited when President Obama partied with Gwyneth Paltrow. Especially Paltrow. “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly,” she told the president at the party at her L.A. home. And, just a few days later, Jon Stewart made late-night comedic hay out of Obama’s fundraising stop at the Connecticut home of real estate mogul Rich Richman.
Headline-grabbing aside, here are some of the wacky ways politicians drummed up dollars in your yearly roundup of the wild world of political fundraising. Drum roll, please!
10) Party Time really, really wanted to be a fly on the wall for this event: Former President Bill Clinton headlined a luncheon for Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn at Usher’s house in Atlanta. We had our fingers crossed for a Bubba-on-the-sax rendition of “DJ Got Us Fallin in Love.”
9) Rep. Loretta Sanchez caught our attention with two creative fundraising ploys this year. First, the California Democrat had a pricey mani/pedi party in March at Tammy’s Nails on Capitol Hill. Then, she took advantage of warmer weather at a Billy Joel concert at Nationals Park in July. Some R&R and then the Piano Man – well played!
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., seemed doomed from the earliest stages of her midterm campaign, with polls consistently showing her trailing her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy. But in the final week before the Dec. 6 runoff, Landrieu had a last dash for dough. Hillary Clinton headlined a high-dollar cocktail reception in Manhattan, and then Stevie Wonder crooned for campaign cash in New Orleans.
7) Three Republican gents danced for dollars during Justin Timberlake’s concert in D.C. New York Rep. Michael Grimm, North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson and Georgia Rep. Tom Price donned a “Suit & Tie” for the February fundraiser. (Bonus: Party Time heard that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was getting her groove on at the concert, too.)
6) As the head of the Republican Governors Association, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had plenty of fundraising responsibilities this year. But he seemed to really dig celebrating birthdays, throwing his own b-day bash in September with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. A month later, he brought out the balloons and candles for another celebration, this one in Iowa for Gov. Terry Branstad.
5) And, speaking of celebrating a personal milestone with a campaign event, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and her husband marked their 30-year wedding anniversary in July with a fundraiser in Miami. Because nothing says “I love you” like a $1,000 political donation.
4) Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., cashed in on the “Game of Thrones” craze when his campaign raffled off a spot at a VIP reception with series creator George R. R. Martin at his personal theater in Santa Fe.
3) Like many other political watchers, Party Time kept up with the midterms madness with plenty of coffee and donuts. But we noticed an interesting trend in the two or three days prior to Election Day: some serious carbo-loading! Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro had his annual pasta and politics dinner on Nov. 2, and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., threw a pasta party of his own the next afternoon.
2) Cheap eats for big bucks! In a nod to his Chicago-area district, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., threw a hot dog reception in February, where the street food standby went for $1,000 to $2,500. And Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., recently had his yearly pancake breakfast, where a short stack went for $1,000 to $5,000.
1) Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., hasn’t held elected office in two years, but that hasn’t kept him off the party circuit. His leadership PAC, the Allen West Guardian Fund, is still raising and spending big bucks, according to Sunlight’s Real-Time Campaign Finance tracker. In March, West threw a weekend-long event billed as a black tie boot camp. The invite is, by far, one of Party Time’s all-time favorites.
And with that, party people, we wish you a happy holiday filled with as many parties as possible! See you in 2015!Tweet
With the holidays fast approaching and the midterms officially wrapped up after Saturday’s runoff in Louisiana, politicians seem to have their eyes squarely on their impending winter break. But before they hit the road for home, members of Congress will cram in some last minute partying this week.
And so, faithful party people, this will be the final regular post of the year for Party Time. We’ll be back after the holidays, ready as ever for all of the zany and creative ways politicians plot to bring in the campaign cash. We are confident the 114th session will be just as entertaining as its predecessors. You can do it, newbies!
In the meantime, if you know of a fundraiser in the works, you know what to do! Is it holiday themed? Does it celebrate the beginning of the new term by asking for campaign cash? Party Time wants whatever you’ve got! Have we missed any past parties? Got any late-breaking candidates for our year-end roundup (watch this space!) of faves? Upload invites on our handy (and confidential) page right here, or email us.
But before we pour some eggnog and slice up the Yule log, let’s dig into this week’s political parties.
Partying with Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has been interested in, if acting coy about, a run for the White House for just about forever at this point. “I’m not going to deny that I’m interested,” Paul said of the presidency way back in November 2012. Since then, Party Time has kept an eye on his strategic partying schedule, which always seems to somehow involve a trip to early voting states like Iowa or New Hampshire.
He’s looking beyond the intra-party fights of a GOP primary, too, by taking on potential general election opponents. On the night of Republicans’ across-the-board midterm victories, Paul immediately tied defeated Democrats to one Hillary Clinton, a likely fellow contender in 2016. And, to maintain that all-important cool kid street cred, he did it on Facebook. With a hashtag, no less!
Since the midterms, Paul has stayed on message, name-checking Clinton last week by referring to the ongoing instability in Libya as part of “Hillary’s war.” But he also announced he’d run for reelection in 2016, which complicates his path to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Kentucky law prevents candidates from running for two federal positions simultaneously, so running for his Senate seat would keep him off a presidential ballot – unless some fancy legal footwork allows for a still-TBD workaround.
Paul keeps up the busy bee business this week, with a trip down to Jackson on Monday for a fundraiser for the Mississippi Republican Party. It’s a state Paul carefully avoided earlier this year when a GOP family feud pitted fellow tea party insurgent Chris McDaniel against fellow Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. (Cochran eventually prevailed) Tickets to the victory lunch start at $250, but $1,000 will get you a spot at a pre-lunch reception with Paul and Gov. Phil Bryant, R-Miss.
Republicans bid adieu to campaign debt
Two new-to-the-House politicians are looking to cash in on the warm and fuzzy feelings of the holidays plus the sweet, sweet taste of victory. That’s right, folks: We’ve got another batch of wintertime debt retirement parties!
On Tuesday, Rep.-elect John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, throws a debt retirement reception at the Capitol Hill Club, where individuals are asked to chip in $500 or $1,000, and PACs are asked to fork over $1,000 or $2,500. Fellow Texan Reps. Pete Sessions and Bill Flores will be on hand to help gin up support.
From the looks of things, Ratcliffe needs all the help he can get. Ratcliffe, who beat longtime Rep. Ralph Hall in the primary in May and was unopposed in November’s general election, still has $664,300 in campaign debt, according to Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker. And a good chunk of that is money he owes himself. The attorney and former mayor of Heath, Texas, loaned his campaign a total of $685,300 in three different installments from October 2013 to June 2014, according to Real-Time.
With her campaign account just $29,529 in the red, according to Real-Time, Rep.-elect Barbara Comstock has a more manageable bottom line. But the Virginia Republican is still asking supporters for some help during a debt retirement breakfast Wednesday morning, also at the Capitol Hill Club. Because the best part of waking up is not, in fact, Folgers in your cup – it’s paying off someone else’s debt.
Ka$h for Kaine
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., isn’t up for reelection until 2018, but that’s not stopping him from throwing a high-dollar fundraiser at a Capitol Hill townhouse on Monday evening. The cocktail reception asks donors for at least $500 and as much as $5,200 to host.
It’s a more staid gathering than usual for the first-term senator. A look into Party Time’s records show that Kaine usually keeps his fundraisers fairly interesting, whether it’s a Bon Jovi concert benefiting his leadership PAC, Common Ground PAC, or his “Smoked n’ Oaked” event that’s billed as “a celebration of Virginia’s best barbecue, bourbon and beer.” We’ve got our fingers crossed that at least the latter two make an appearance during Monday’s gathering.
If Party Times knows anything about Sen. Patrick Leahy, it’s that this guy knows how to par-tay. The Vermont Democrat has been winning us over since we got this project started in 2008 with partying traditions that include all of our favorite things: carbo-loading Italian dinners, pancake breakfasts and ice cream socials that feature Grateful Dead cover bands, Ben & Jerry’s and Magic Hat beer. Yes, please!
On Wednesday, Leahy keeps his annual breakfast ritual going with a morning fundraiser at Capitol Hill restaurant Art & Soul. But this is no regular short stack, folks: A plate of these pricey pancakes slathered with Vermont maple syrup goes for anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.
And that just about wraps up your week in political parties! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Email us the goods, or upload whatever you’ve got right here. See you in the New Year, party people!Tweet
Hey, party people, hey! After a spat of post-midterm thank you parties and debt retirement receptions, Capitol Hill denizens took a break from the fundraising circuit for some turkey time in their home districts.
But don’t worry; Thanksgiving didn’t turn members of Congress into a bunch of softies. They are back at it this week, hitting up donors for some of that cold, hard campaign cash.
We’ve got a good number of parties on the calendar, but we are sure there are more out there. What have you heard about, PT friends? Upload invites right here, or email us the goods. (And if you know of any Thanksgiving week parties that we don’t have, send them right here!)
Let’s get to it, and dig into this week in political parties.
For the love of Louisiana
The much-ballyhooed Bayou State Senate race between Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy comes to an official close on Saturday, although talking heads have been doom and gloom for some time about Landrieu’s chances of keeping her seat. Polls consistently give the edge to Cassidy, and the Democratic Party has all but thrown in the towel by pulling ad buys in the state prior to the Dec. 6 runoff.
In addition to getting plenty of party support, the Cassidy campaign also benefits from some top-tier Republicans lending their names to campaign stops and fundraiser invites. During the past few weeks, the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have rallied supporters, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio headlined a fundraiser in the New Orleans area.
On Monday, Cassidy gets another batch of help from bold-named GOPers at a high-dollar fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s D.C. headquarters. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise are all slated to attend the event.
Landrieu will also get a pair of high-profile jolts on Monday. Stevie Wonder headlines what’s getting billed as an intimate evening with the Grammy-winning singer in New Orleans. In a press release about the fundraiser, the campaign called Wonder a “a long-time friend and supporter of Senator Landrieu’s.” Meanwhile, up in Manhattan, Hillary Clinton will throw a cocktail party for Landrieu, with tickets capping out at $12,600. Democratic party people Sarah Kovner and Victor Kovner will host the fundraiser at their home.
That makes for a busy Monday for both camps: Not only do Cassidy and Landrieu both have fundraisers, but it’s also the day of the only post-midterm/pre-runoff debate between the two.
Ready for Hillary still ready for a party (or two)
Ready for Hillary is ready to call it. The super PAC aiming to get Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016 says it will close up shop if/when the former Secretary of State decides to run for the White House, a decision she has said she plans to make at the beginning of next year. The week before the Thanksgiving break, the group’s bigwigs met in the Big Apple for a “day-long strategy meeting” to discuss details.
The super PAC might be winding down, but it is still partying with a purpose. The day before that N.Y.C. confab, the group threw one of those now-famous $20.16-per-person fundraisers at a Greenwich Village restaurant.
And this week, Ready for Hillary has two more events on the books. On Tuesday, Philadelphia lawyer and Democratic donor Leonard Barracks will host a party in the City of Brotherly Love, with tickets going for $1,000, or $5,000 for a VIP reception. Longtime Clinton buddy Harold Ickes is the event’s special guest. The next day, a similarly priced luncheon will go down in Denver, with Colorado’s Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Ed Perlmutter acting as “honorary hosts,” according to the invitation.
Fun in Florida
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Alex Sink, Florida’s former CFO who narrowly lost a special election in March for her state’s 13th District House seat. Four years before that, she lost the governor’s race by one percentage point to Republican Gov. Rick Scott. With two painfully close defeats in her recent past, it’s pretty understandable that she opted not to run again in November for another shot at the 13th District slot.
But Sink can’t stay out of politics completely. This week, she helps host a cocktail reception for Tampa City Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin, who is running for her second full term. Although Capin has made her mark in the Sunshine State bay with the creation of the area’s first domestic partner registry, she’s also know for spearheading the effort to make the Cuban sandwich the official sandwich of Tampa. Yes, that’s a real thing, and yes, there’s a specific recipe:
But not just any Cuban. The version of the sandwich designated Thursday as the “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich” must be made with Cuban bread scored on top with a leaf from a palm frond, plus ham, mojo roast pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and exactly three dill pickle slices — but not mayonnaise.
It’s a recipe that evolved in Ybor City around the turn of the last century, and City Council members passed the designation as one way to celebrate and promote the city’s cultural heritage.
“I’m very pleased,” said Council member Yvonne Yolie Capin, who sponsored the idea. “It is a light-heartened resolution with a serious message. This is but one example of how we can leverage our cultural assets.”
(–From the Tampa Bay Times)
Miss the post-Thanksgiving sales and still have money burning a hole in your pocket? We know of a few politicians who have an idea of what to do with it, and wouldn’t you know, they’d like you to spend it on them.
So far, Party Time counts four holiday-themed parties this week, with the first week of December a perfect time to cash in on the winter wonderland motif.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is throwing a holiday lunch on Wednesday, with tickets going for $1,000 to $2,500. Democratic Virginia state Sen. Barbara Favola follows suit on Wednesday evening with a fundraiser at her Arlington home that promises “tasty eats and merriment,” according to the invite. On Friday, New Hampshire Republicans host a holiday dinner in Cheshire County, while the New York chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans throws its annual holiday party at the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Republican Club.
That’s a wrap on your week in political parties, folks! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Send whatever you’ve got right here.
Photo courtesy FlickrTweet
Party people, we asked and you answered! When we last checked in, this week’s social calendar was shockingly thin. We were sure it indicated that parties were still in the planning stages, not that politicos had given up on the joys of fundraising.
And, sure enough, we recently caught wind of a fistful of funders that filled out our pre-Thanksgiving break calendar. We’d like to send out a hearty huzzah to the Party Time friends who floated us the invites – thank you!
And now, for your hump day reading pleasure, here are some of the latest additions to Party Time’s calendar …
Sen. Mary Landrieu: Fresh off a stinging one-vote loss on the Keystone XL pipeline bill, Sen. Mary Landrieu will hit up donors in D.C. for two fundraisers. The Louisiana Democrat’s chances of keeping her seat after the Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy look increasingly thin, with polls consistently showing Cassidy with a lead.
But Landrieu’s got her fingers crossed that an influx of cash can help to tilt the scales in her favor. On Wednesday evening, she’ll drum up support at a happy hour reception where individuals are asked to chip in $500 and PACs are asked for $1,000. On Thursday, 36(!) of her Democratic Senate colleagues will show their support during a luncheon at the Monocle Restaurant, where tickets cap out at $5,000. It may be a tense high-noon meal, seeing as a chunk of the senators listed on the invite voted against the Keystone bill on Tuesday.
And, looking ahead, Landrieu gets a hand from crooner Stevie Wonder, who will headline a New Orleans fundraiser in December.
Cassidy is getting plenty of high-profile support, too. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is slated to campaign with Cassidy this upcoming weekend in the Bayou State. And on Dec. 1, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (and possible 2016 White House contender) are headlining a shindig at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s headquarters for the NRSC and the Cassidy campaign.
Debt be gone: Two politicians hoping that donors are feeling particularly kind are throwing debt retirement parties this week, aiming to get those campaign coffers out of the red. Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., will have a debt retirement party Wednesday evening at City Tap House in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. And Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., follows suit on Thursday with a debt retirement reception of his own at a Capitol Hill townhouse. The invite asks individuals for upward of $2,000 to attend, and PACs for up to $5,000.
Rep. Ken Buck: Why say thank you with a card when you could throw a party and ask people for money instead? That’s the name of the game for Rep.-elect Ken Buck, R-Colo., who is having a thank you reception Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Club. The invite says 2014 campaign donors can get into the get-together for free, but asks new donors to fork over $500, or $1,000 for PACs. Buck is filling the 4th District seat that opened up when Rep. (now Sen.-elect) Cory Gardner opted to run against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in one of the more closely watched Senate races this cycle.
Because we’re heading into the traditionally sleepy Thanksgiving week, party people, this will likely be our last party post until after the holiday. But of course, we will rouse ourselves from our tryptophan slumber should any of you drop us an invite juicier than your upcoming drumstick. Got something to share besides the stuffing? Upload whatever you’ve got right here, or email us the goods.
Photo courtesy WikimediaTweet
Hello, party people! Everyone, and we mean everyone, seems to be coming down from the high of midterm mania. The District is settling into a chilly autumn, members of Congress are hunkering down for week two of their lame duck session, and President Barack Obama just returned to D.C. after a week of travel to Asia and Australia.
Party Time’s social calendar is shockingly thin after a spate of parties last week that aimed to cut down some campaign debt and welcome new faces to Capitol Hill. Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, R-Ark., threw back-to-back parties in D.C.: one billed as a “thank you event” at Bobby Van’s, and then a debt retirement reception the next day at fundraising hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee had a new member meet and greet in D.C. last Thursday afternoon.
We also caught wind of a fundraiser for Garret Graves, who has his eye on Louisiana’s 6th District House seat. No post-midterms relaxation break for Graves, though; the Republican is locked in a runoff with Edwin Edwards, the former Bayou State congressman, governor and (true story!) ex-con who served eight years in federal prison for racketeering. Graves’ coffee and beignets fundraiser in D.C. was last Wednesday, and asked individuals to chip in $250 or $500, and PACs to give $1,000 or $2,000. The runoff election is scheduled for Dec. 6.
The long and the short of it, party people: We know there are shindigs happening out there! If you’ve heard about a political party in the works, send us an email. And if you’ve got your hands on an invite, please-oh-please upload it with our confidential tool right here. Help out your buddies at Party Time and share the goods!
(Photo credit: OakleyOriginals via Flickr, Creative Commons license)Tweet
Party people, we did it – we made it through the midterms! As the dust settles on last Tuesday’s elections, Democrats are left licking some major wounds and (if they are doing it right) Republicans are still celebrating in the streets.
There’s still plenty of analyzing and talking and post-mortem-ing to be done with the 2014 cycle, but Party Time is all about what’s next. For Tuesday’s winners and losers, next on the agenda is shaking off some of that annoying campaign debt, which means – you guessed it! – throwing a party. A big tip o’ the hat to Party Time compadre Dave Levinthal over at the Center for Public Integrity, who passed along news of one such “debt retirement” blowout bash happening this week (more details on that in a bit).
Based on Sunlight’s reporting, there seems likely to be a lot more of these in the works.
What other parties are brewing out there, friends? If you’ve got word on a debt retirement shindig, or have heard of something in the works for 2015 or 2016, you know what to do! Upload invites using our handy and confidential feature right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.
And with that, let’s get to your week in political parties!
Debt be gone!
Rep.-turned-Sen. Tom Cotton is hip to how Washington works (hint: it has to do with money). After one term in the House, the Arkansas Republican made a run for the upper chamber and, last week, logged a resounding victory over two-term Democrat Mark Pryor. But that win didn’t come cheap: Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker shows that the candidates and outside groups combined to spend more than $60 million in the race.
With a bill that high, it’s no surprise that the Cotton camp is in the red. The campaign quickly cashed in on some victory party excitement, sending out an invite for a debt retirement reception the morning after the election. Cotton, with his freshly minted “senator-elect” title in tow, is asking individuals to throw down at least $500, and PACs to give up to $5,000, to help him kick that debt to the curb.
Party people, with last week’s go-around ranking as the most expensive midterms in history, Cotton’s soiree is only the first of many debt retirement parties to come. What have you heard about? Please share with your friends at Party Time!
Just another manic Monday
Why mess with tradition? A cadre of Republican senators is getting together Monday evening for an almost two-year-long tradition of dining with donors. The (not) cleverly named group, Monday Meeting PAC, is a joint fundraising committee for Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. The three GOP gentlemen will be on hand for the dinner at fundraising hotspot Capitol Hill Club, and tickets go for $1,500 a pop.
Party Time has one more Monday Meeting shindig on the books for December – same time, same place, of course – and it might just be the last PT appearances for Chambliss and Coburn. Both longtime legislators are retiring this year and Sens.-elect David Perdue, R-Ga., and James Lankford, R-Okla., will be taking over the seats come January.
The fate of the Monday Meeting PAC is TBD, since two of its three beneficiaries are leaving. Will Burr continue alone? Will Perdue and Lankford join in on the dinner parties? Oh, the suspense!
2015 campaign kickoff
If you thought voter enthusiasm for the midterm elections was low, try running for office during an odd year. But Tom DeGise, running for the county executive seat in Hudson County, New Jersey, is facing it head-on on Wednesday evening.
The Democrat throws a hump-day reelection fundraiser for his 2015 bid a week after national midterms dominated headlines and airtime, not to mention pleas for campaign cash. Party Time salutes DeGise for partying against these odds, and pretty much thumbing his nose at the concept of donor fatigue.
Lot of money for a long weekend
Last week was stressful, even for members of Congress who weren’t up for reelection. So it totally makes sense that Sen. Mike Crapo is hitting the road on Friday for three days of resting, rejuvenating and, of course, fundraising.
The Idaho Republican, next on the ballot in 2016, heads to the ultra exclusive Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, for a weekend getaway. As the town’s name would suggest, hot mineral springs are the main attraction, but a few years ago, the resort added a casino to the entertainment mix. And then, of course, there are the tours of the once super-secret underground bunker where our lawmakers were supposed to retreat in case the Cold War got hot. Just imagine members of the current Congress sharing bunk beds. (Harry: I get the top! Mitch: No! Me first!!) All that, plus the ear of Crapo, will put you back $1,500, or $3,000 for PACs.
Image courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Politicians took advantage of the Halloween theme last week, trick or treating for cash in last-minute attempts to fill up their campaign coffers before Election Day. But with the balloting upon us, this week’s social calendar so far looks sparse compared to what we’ve seen in recent months. Even so, a few enterprising pols are getting started on the NEXT campaign. And, as the results come in on Tuesday night, Party Time expects to hear about plenty of shindigs that aim to fill remaining holes in the aforesaid campaign coffers – or, in Beltway speak, a “debt retirement party.” First one to send us an invite for one of those parties gets a prize!
And now, here’s a quick roundup of your week in political partying!
Pre-Election Day carbo-loading
No matter how you vote, we can all agree that pasta is a great thing, right? Right. But from the looks of PT’s calendar this week, pasta mixes particularly well with GOPers.
On Sunday afternoon, Republican Marc Molinaro – running for his second term as the county executive in Dutchess County, New York – threw a Pasta and Politics dinner. For $10, Molinaro supporters chowed down at the all-you-can-eat spaghetti extravaganza. After all, if the Olive Garden can have a never-ending pasta bowl promotion, why can’t a political campaign?
Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., is following suit on Monday evening, with a pasta party of his own. It’s $20 per plate at Michael’s Restaurant in Highland, but no word on whether or not it’s a gut-busting, all-you-can-eat situation. But we do know that Shimkus, who has held the seat since 1997, is winning the money game in a big way for what the Rothenberg Political Report calls a safe Republican district. According to Sunlight’s Real Time tracker tool, Shimkus is sitting on almost $1.1 million, while his challenger, Democrat Eric Thorsland, has $1,553 on hand.
And on election night, Republican Ray Scott, a Colorado state representative who is running for his state’s 7th District Senate seat, will have a pasta party to celebrate a wrap on the 2014 cycle. Scott’s campaign hosts a free pasta bar meal for his supporters from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ristorante Pantuso in Grand Junction.
Election night fundraiser? You know it!
Sen. Roy Blunt is getting started early. The Missouri Republican – who is up for reelection in 2016 and already has collected almost $2 million for that upcoming campaign, according to Real Time – hopes to cash in on some Election Day excitement with a fundraiser on Tuesday in St. Louis. Party Time isn’t sure when things get started, but we do know that the reception will wrap up at 7 p.m., right when the polls close. The Associated Press reported that tickets start at $1,000 and cap out at $10,400 per couple.
Missouri’s mega moneybag couple, Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, is hosting the reception. After making his money in the financial industry, Rex Sinquefield founded the Show Me Institute, an influential, free-market focused think tank. Earlier this year, the Progressive magazine reported that Sinquefield gave almost $4 million in political contributions in 2013 alone.
Planning to hang up your Senate hat for a shot at the governor’s mansion, but can’t quite kick your love of a good party? We understand.
In fact, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is in that exact situation. The two-term senator announced earlier this year that he would run for governor in 2015, but this upcoming weekend will find him partying hard with Mickey and the gang during his 4th Annual Vitter Disney Weekend.
On Friday, Vitter heads to Orlando for a long weekend of fun, frivolity and fundraising at the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World. It’s $3,000 for the three-day affair, and the cash collected will go straight to Vitter’s leadership PAC, Louisiana Reform PAC. Although Vitter set up the PAC while in the Senate, the funds can be used during the governor’s race.
Zany parties, midterms edition
One of the best things about Party Time is seeing how creative politicians can be about collecting cash. As campaign 2014 winds down, let’s take a quick look back at some of best themes and memes of the year – so far.
And with that little nostalgia detour, party people, we wrap up your week in political parties. What are we missing and what have you heard about? Upload those invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got!
Photo courtesy FlickrTweet
Party people, can you believe it? We are one week out from the midterms! After all of the ads, all of the money and all of the parties, it’s down to the voters, who seem to be prepping for Election Day with a resounding “meh.” Gallup recently reported that voter enthusiasm is way down this cycle, while a Pew study found that just 15 percent of Americans are “closely following news” about the midterms.
But despite those odds, politicians continue to crisscross the country for campaign cash. Although our social calendar is less packed than in recent weeks, our best guess is there’s a lot of last-minute party planning in the works. And that brings us to you, faithful partiers: What have you heard about? Upload those invites in our confidential process right here, or email us whatever you’ve got.
And now, for the week’s highlights in political parties!
Marco Rubio heads to the heartland
Compared to other Republicans on the long list of presidential potentials in 2016, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is taking a subtler tact. Although he’s kept a full calendar of fundraiser appearances, he’s not blanketing primary states in quite the same way as, say, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. And while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said last week that the next president “is going to be a governor,” Rubio isn’t making any such (personally beneficial) predictions.
But after attending a smattering of parties this year, the past month has found Rubio in New Hampshire, South Carolina and, as of this week, Iowa.
On Tuesday evening, the freshman senator will be the main attraction at the Scott County GOP’s Ronald Reagan Dinner, with tickets starting at $50. It’s Rubio’s first visit to the Hawkeye State since August, when he did a one-two punch of fundraisers at the home of Bruce Rastetter, a Republican donor and founder of one of the main ethanol producing companies in the U.S., Hawkeye Energy Holdings.
Meanwhile, the guy whose office Rubio may be eyeing will be hitting the campaign trail as well. Despite ample speculation that he’s been grounded because of low poll ratings, President Barack Obama is scheduled to hit the hustings this week for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mary Burke in Wisconsin and Mike Michaud in Maine. While in each of their states, the prez is scheduled to host “DNC Roundtables,” a.k.a shoulder-rubs with big donors. We’d loooooove more deets so if you’ve got ‘em, our transom is open!!
Biden in Boston
Although President Obama gets a lot of attention for his over-the-top fundraising ways, the VP is no slouch when it comes to partying pop-ins. In fact, Party Time data show Vice President Joe Biden has attended 49 parties so far this year – and 18 since September.
The traveling and schmoozing continue this week, when Biden hits the road for Massachusetts on Wednesday. He’s slated to headline two parties in the Bay State, and kicks things off with a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group responsible for getting Dems elected to the House. Even though chances for the party to regain control of the House are pretty much shot, the DCCC still managed to bring in $16.7 million in September, according to Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker.
Biden’s second Boston party benefits Martha Coakley, the Democrat running for governor against Republican Charlie Baker. Last week, the Boston Globe reported that Baker, a former health care CEO making his second run for the Governor’s Mansion, has overtaken Coakley in the polls, collecting a comfortable 9-point lead. That narrative has Dems feeling a bit of déjà vu, since Coakley, currently the state’s attorney general, rather famously lost to former Sen. Scott Brown in 2010 during a special election to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat.
Both Baker and Coakley have gotten loads of help from well-known party surrogates during their race. First lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have all headlined fundraisers for Coakley, and Ann and Mitt Romney have lent some star power to parties for Baker.
Lingerie mogul + Ohio congresswoman = a fundraiser, of course!
This week, we’ve got what we are pretty sure is a Party Time first – a panty party for a House member.
Well, it’s almost a panty party. You see, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, is running for a second term in her native state’s 3rd District. It’s a safe seat for Democrats, and Beatty is annihilating her Republican challenger, John Adams, in the money race – as in, she’s raised $792,038 to his $3,250, according to Real-Time.
But on Wednesday evening, she’s having a high-dollar reception at the New Albany home of Abigail and Les Wexner, who made his billions running L Brands, a retail conglomerate that includes Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret. That list of retail stores used to be much longer, but a handful of brands, like Abercrombie & Fitch and Lane Bryant, struck out on their own. But Forbes reports that Wexner still runs the underwear giant, which he bought back in 1982.
While talk at the reception will likely be more about politics than panties, it’s important to note that Beatty will party at the house that Victoria’s Secret built.
Hillary collects cash in the Granite State
Hillary Clinton continues her frenzied autumn of cross-country campaigning for Democrats. And although the jury is still out on whether or not she’s planning to run for president in 2016, one thing is certain: H. Clinton knows how bring in the big bucks.
Last week, Clinton headlined two parties in deep blue California, which party sources said raised a combined $3.5 million for Democratic House and Senate candidates. Come Sunday, she’ll bring her money magnetism to New Hampshire (political talking heads, take note!), where she’ll headline a fundraiser for Gov. Maggie Hassan, who holds a 10-point lead against her Republican challenger Walt Havenstein. By PT’s count, the Nov. 2 party is the 25th fundraiser appearance since September for Clinton.
Photo courtesy WikipediaTweet
Hey, party people, hey! The whirlwind of pre-midterm political fundraising continues this week, with another packed social calendar that takes us from Illinois to Iowa, from California to the Carolinas. It’s crunch time, folks, so ready those checkbooks!
While most politicos are hitting the road for ATM states (New York, California) or key presidential primary pockets (South Carolina, Iowa), we have to salute one guy heading to the beach – on a Wednesday, no less. Sen. Bob Menendez is throwing a two-day retreat for his leadership PAC at the Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico, with tickets going for $5,000 a pop. The New Jersey Democrat – who faced an ethics complaint in 2012 for not disclosing flights to the Dominican Republic gifted by a campaign donor – isn’t up for reelection until 2018.
Whether they are catching some sunshine or chatting at a reception, this week’s schedule runs the gauntlet of fundraising ploys. But what have we missed, faithful partiers? If you know of something in the works, you know what to do! Use our confidential upload page right here, or email us invites or news clippings.
Buckle up, friends! Here is your busy week in political parties.
Hillary does California
Becoming a grandmother shook up Hillary Clinton’s travel plans, but only a little bit. In the days immediately following the arrival of tiny tot Charlotte, Clinton canceled a fundraiser for influential New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro and dispatched husband Bill to sub for her at a party for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown.
But the potential grandmother-in-chief was back at work sooner rather than later, packing her bags for fundraiser appearances in Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver and Louisville. This week, she has two high-profile stops in deep blue California, where she will raise money for Democratic House and Senate candidates.
On Monday, Clinton heads to downtown San Francisco for an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Called the “Ultimate Women’s Power Luncheon,” it (a) pairs Clinton with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and (b) makes us want to talk in that deep voice from movie trailers. It’s $500 for one seat at the Fairmont Hotel lunch, but a VIP reception and photo will cost you $32,400.
Later that day, Clinton is the special guest at a reception and dinner at see-and-be-seen L.A. restaurant Tavern. The party’s host list includes Hollywood heavy hitters Alan and Cindy Horn, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jolene and Michael Rapino, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is seen as a “coming out of sorts” for a possible Clinton White House run in 2016. The pricey get-together – $32,400 per person – benefits a joint fundraising committee with a long list of signers-on, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a handful of state Democratic parties and the campaign committees of Senate candidates in tight races (as in, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, Kentucky candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Georgia candidate Michelle Nunn, West Virginia candidate Natalie Tennant, etc., etc.). Whew!
Side note: The potential grandfather-in-chief is getting in on the action this week, too. Former President Bill Clinton will headline a party on Tuesday for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and an evening reception on Thursday for New Jersey’s Bonnie Watson Coleman, who has her eye on her state’s open 12th District House seat. These are the latest Party Time stops for Bubba, who has been a highly sought-after surrogate for Democratic candidates this cycle.
Obama heads home
President Barack Obama starts out his week in his adopted home state of Illinois to provide a boost for Gov. Pat Quinn and the Democratic National Committee. On Sunday, Obama rallied the troops at a get-out-the-vote event for Quinn. (Earlier this month, Obama attended a $50,000-per-person house party for the Illinois Democrat; first lady Michelle Obama lent her support, too, during $10,000-per-plate event followed by a public rally.)
Come Monday, the partier-in-chief is the special guest at a DNC event at the Chicago home of philanthropist Barbara Goodman Manilow. This isn’t Manilow’s first rodeo, though: Her Lincoln Park home was the site of an April 2013 party for Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign.
Though Obama canceled not just onebut two events last week for Ebola-related meetings at the White House, he seems to be getting back on the trail this week. His schedule also has him attending a D.C. event on Thursday for the Democratic National Committee. If you have the invite, email us the deets!
Republicans hunker down in Iowa
Sure, the next presidential race is still two years off. But for the Republican Party, which lacks a shoo-in nominee, that just means 24 more months of pushing and shoving among the GOP’s deep roster of White House wannabes. Elbows out, folks!
That jostling becomes even more apparent when looking at politicians’ travel into Iowa, site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary season. Although Iowans do party on their own (please see: Tuesday’s Ronald Reagan Dinner for the state’s Republican Party, which features Gov. Terry Branstad and Senate candidate Joni Ernst), more times than not, fundraisers include an out-of-stater with an eye on 2016 who is looking to ingratiate himself to local party officials and donors.
On Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is slated to do just that at a family BBQ for Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann. Ernst will also attend the $25-per-plate party.
According to Party Time’s records, this is Paul’s seventh trip in 2014 to the Hawkeye State. No word on what Paul – recently dubbed “The Most Interesting Man in Politics” by Time – is planning to say at the BBQ, but we anticipate something interesting.
On Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie shuffles into Iowa for a birthday party for Branstad. But don’t let the invite’s quaint clip art fool you: This is one pricey b-day bash. Although $65 gets you into the festivities, you’ll have to shell out upwards of $25,000 for birthday cake and a prime seat. The New Jersey Republican, head of the Republican Governors Association and a likely presidential candidate, has kept a very busy party schedule this year, glad-handing donors in just about every key primary and/or swing state.
Florida heats up
With all of the compounding outside demands, running for office isn’t easy. It’s a pressure cooker of sorts, and certainly not for people who can’t keep their cool. So, when Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., initially refused to join his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, onstage for their debate because the latter had a fan under his podium, you can imagine that the Republican caught some heat for it.
Indeed, FanGate threatened to overshadow the content of the debate itself, and, silly as it may seem, it may follow Scott around in the final crucial weeks before the election. After all, Jon Stewart weighed in on the steamy situation and the Atlantic’s Molly Ball wrote a profile on the portable electronic. Like at last week’s debate, the fan isn’t going anywhere, and Scott will have to sweat it out until the controversy cools off.
You know what might help? A party, of course! Fellow Floridians Sen. Marco Rubio, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and former Gov. Jeb Bush will gather on Friday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to toast Scott and raise some serious cash for his campaign. After all of the FanGate blowback, it’ll be a breath of fresh air to spend time with supporters.
(Party Time does not apologize for the magnitude of fan-related language in the above graphs. We stand by our word choices.)
Photo courtesy FlickrTweet
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.