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
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
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
Hello party people! As the march toward midterms continues, so does politicians’ cross-country cash grab. Your elected representatives are working hard for the money, partying big time with deep-pocketed donors and bringing in dough at a breakneck pace.
In fact, one of the best indicators of a packed party schedule is a look at what events didn’t make our weekly highlight list. A fundraiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (headlined by Hillary Clinton, no less!) and a shoot-out at a gun club for Colorado State Senate candidate Ray Scott didn’t even make the cut. Friends, that’s saying something.
Even though our social calendar is packed this week, we just know there’s more stuff going on out there. What are we missing, and what have you heard about? If you are feeling generous, you can email us the goods or upload an official invite right here. And never fear: We keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing with us.
And with that, let’s dive into your week in political parties!
The Donald goes to Iowa
Rep. Steve King and Donald Trump walk into a West Des Moines mansion …
No, that’s not the beginnings of a joke, and yes, that’s exactly what’s going to happen on Saturday evening. The billionaire businessman, one-time presidential candidate and purveyor of some truly fabulous quotes is hosting (what else?) An Evening with Donald Trump to benefit King’s reelection campaign. This comes the same week that a bankruptcy court will be hearing The Donald’s request to slash worker benefits at his troubled Atlantic City casino.
A September poll gave the Iowa Republican an 11-point lead over his Democratic challenger, Jim Mowrer, but the race for campaign cash is a different story. Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker tool shows that Mowrer has raised more money and has more cash on hand than King, who is running for his seventh term in the House.
King’s party with the Donald, which we heard about from our friends at the Des Moines Register, goes down at George Cataldo’s $2.6 million pad on Tulip Tree Lane, the site of a 2012 private fundraiser headlined by Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. And if the host’s name sounds vaguely familiar to horse racing fans, yes, Cataldo is the part owner of Paddy O’Prado, the thoroughbred who came in third in 2010’s Kentucky Derby.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the Trump-headlined party – which will also feature Iowa Republicans Sen. Chuck Grassley, Rep. Tom Latham, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds – comes on the heels of another celebrity nod for the King camp. Chuck Norris endorsed King last week, but no news about any upcoming campaign events with the “Walker, Texas Ranger” star.
The hectic schedule continues this week when the VP travels to sunnier states to headline Democratic fundraisers. First up is a jaunt down to Florida on Monday for a party for Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor who is running for his old position, but this time as a Democrat. Crist may be a convert, but Party Time’s data show he’s gotten loads of help from Dem bigwigs, getting feted by the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as mega Sunshine State fundraisers Mitchell Berger and John Morgan.
On Tuesday, Biden travels to South Carolina for two events. He and his wife, Jill Biden, are slated to headline a get-out-the-vote event in Columbia before attending a fundraiser for the state’s Democratic Party. It’s Biden’s second trip so far this year to the Palmetto State, site of the first in the presidential primary in the South. In May, he did a similar one-two punch, giving the keynote at a state party luncheon fundraiser and then delivering the commencement speech at the University of South Carolina.
With multiple warm weather stops in his near future, look for Biden to sneak in a stop to an ice cream stand or two.
The partier-in-chief is at it again with another batch of fundraisers this week. As of this writing, President Barack Obama has three events on the books, but Party Time totally expects that number to increase. After all, his schedule last week included stops in D.C., New York, Connecticut, Los Angeles and San Francisco. (If you know of a presidential party that we don’t have on our list, you know what to do! Send whatever you’ve got right here.)
Obama gets started on Tuesday with a roundtable discussion and dinner for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the McLean home of Tori Winkler Thomas, a longtime Dem donor. DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – both rock stars in their own right on the partying circuit – will join the president.
On Wednesday, it will be a DSCC fundraiser in Union, N.J., the Newark Star-Ledger reports, and then up to Connecticut for an old-fashioned campaign rally. Were you lucky enough to get an invite to the Union do? Give us the confidential upload right here.
Come Thursday, Obama travels to Long Island for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Garden City Hotel. Jay Jacobs, the head of the Nassau County Democratic Party, and his wife, Mindy, will host the event. Although Obama hits up New York donors often, Thursday’s shindig marks the first time the president has been at a fundraiser in that part of the Empire State, according to local reporters.
GOP ’16 prospects hit $$ trail
Republican governors unite! This week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, two state heads often in the mix as likely presidential potentials, stump for other GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Christie, who has traveled all over and brought in mega money as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, starts off his week on Tuesday with a private fundraiser in Maine for Gov. Paul LePage. Former Sen. Olympia Snowe and her husband, former Gov. John McKernan Jr. – a Pine Tree State power couple if there ever was one – will also be on hand to gin up support during the lunchtime event.
On Thursday, Christie makes his way to Chicago for a luncheon for the state’s Republican Party. Tickets start at $1,000 per plate, but $10,000 gets you six spots at the private roundtable, seats at lunch and entry to a photo reception. And Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk and Reps. Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam, Aaron Schock and John Shimkus will all party alongside Bruce Rauner, who is hoping to unseat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November.
Of all the races Christie has weighed in on, the gubernatorial contest in his neighboring state of New York isn’t one of them. In fact, in July, the RGA head said he wouldn’t campaign for Rob Astorino, calling it a “landslide” race since the gubernatorial hopeful is so far behind Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the polls. After that dustup, a handful of other Republican governors (Govs. Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Mike Pence – also all on the long list of possible presidential candidates in 2016) pledged to support Astorino.
At the end of September, Perry headlined a party for Astorino, and this week, it’s Jindal’s turn. On Thursday evening, the Bayou State governor will be the main attraction at the Union League Club event, where $2,500 will snag you a photo and a spot at the VIP reception.
Jindal will then head to Connecticut on Friday for a fundraiser for Tom Foley, the Republican hoping to unseat Gov. Dannel Malloy. To underscore the heated nature of that race, the president will be heading up to the Nutmeg State earlier in the week — not for a fundraiser, however. On Wednesday, Obama will be headlining one of his trademark fire-’em-up rallies on behalf of Malloy.
Party people, that’s a wrap for the week! It’s a busy one, but what did we miss and what have you heard about? Let us know!
Photo courtesy WikimediaTweet
Hello, party people! This week’s social calendar is a little less packed than recent weeks, but most of the parties on the books boast big names and carry a high price tag. Over here at Party Time, we like to think of that as strategic partying: If you can charge way more money at a handful of events with well-known faces, then you get to take off an afternoon or two. Treat yourself.
The fundraiser schedule this week leans to the left, but we know Republicans love a good party as much as their Democratic counterparts. Have you heard about a GOP party in the works? If you know of a fundraiser, you know what to do! Upload all of those official invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got.
And now, for your weekly dose of political partying!
Partier-in-chief parties on and on and on
President Barack Obama’s fundraising schedule has felt a little helter skelter lately, with events cropping up seemingly on the fly (please see last week’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event that we – and the White House press pool – found out about as it was happening). We know the president’s team plans everything to a T, so we are always surprised when there’s absolutely no pre-party buzz around a presidential pop-in.
But that’s about to change this week, as the fundraiser-in-chief is slated to attend five very buzzy, on-the-books parties. The most-talked-about shindig among them has to be Thursday’s reception and dinner at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Los Angeles home. Yes, the creator of Goop (it’s where she shares “all of life’s positives,” according to the lifestyle site’s About page) and the user of phrases like “conscious uncoupling” is hosting a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $32,400. It’s the second time the mega movie star has lent her name to a fundraiser invite with the prez: In 2012, she threw a dinner for Obama’s reelection campaign in London with buddies Anna Wintour and Tom Ford.
On Friday, Obama heads up the California coast for another DNC fundraiser, this one at San Francisco City Hall. PT records show that back-to-back events in moneyed, deep-blue pockets of the Left Coast is an often-repeated partying plan, but one we haven’t seen since July, when Obama did a Seattle to S.F. to L.A. cash grab.
But Obama doesn’t leave all of the partying for the end of the week. He actually starts off the fundraising fun on Tuesday with a three-in-one-day swing that takes him from New York to Connecticut.
An afternoon reception for the DNC at Chef Floyd Cardoz’s new restaurant, White Street in Tribeca, gets together some big names in Big Apple politics. Anne Hess, Craig Kaplan and Sarah and Victor Kovner, who all give loads of cash#mce_temp_url# to local and national Dems, will party with Broadway producer Margo Lion and the president. And another afternoon event, this one billed as a reception and discussion with President Barack Obama, will go down at the Manhattan home of power couple Bill White and Bryan Eure. Cash raised at the $25,000-per-person fundraiser will go straight to the DNC.
In the evening, Obama is off to Connecticut for a fundraiser at the Greenwich home of Richard and Ellen Schapps Richman. Tickets to the party for the DSCC start at $10,000, which is almost a bargain, considering the couple hosted Obama at a $30,000-per-plate fundraiser in 2010.
Whew! That’s a full week of presidential partying, if you ask us.
Joe hits the road for the ladies
The second in command gets in on the fundraising action this week with two on-the-road parties tailored for female House and Senate candidates. Get ready to gas up Air Force Two!
Vice President Joe Biden hits the money trail on Monday with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a cocktail reception for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Hollywood muckety-mucks – Fox executive Jim Gianopulos, former Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and filmmaker James L. Brooks – play host at the “When Women Succeed America Succeeds” themed event, which also features a performance by Carole King. Dust off that vinyl copy of “Tapestry” and get ready to sing along to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” (And if anyone gets a pic of Biden crooning, please-oh-please send it to your friends at Party Time.)
On Thursday, Biden hits up donors at a Seattle party for a joint fundraising committee Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell set up for female senators and candidates in tight races this year. Cash collected for Cantwell for Women in the Senate 2014 goes to Cantwell (not up for reelection until 2018, FYI), Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. Tickets cap out at $5,000.
Romney rakes it in
Mitt Romney continues to bask in his popularity, post presidential run number two. As a highly coveted figure on the campaign trail, Romney has been bouncing around the country this year, stumping for candidates in West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Colorado and Virginia. And his fundraising schedule has been crammed, too, with additional stops in New Jersey, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana.
As Romney’s calendar filled up, the questions started piling on. Is he staging a comeback, a la “the third time’s the charm”?
The former Massachusetts governor started out the year as a solid “no,” but at the end of last month, he delivered a coy “We’ll see what happens” to a reporter’s question about another run in 2016. Hmmmm.
While we can’t be sure about Romney’s future plans, we do know that he can’t seem to get enough of the partying scene. On Monday evening, he throws a New York City bash for the Republican National Committee with other GOPers just about always on the list of presidential potentials: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Big-time Romney supporter (and New York Jets owner) Woody Johnson and his wife, Suzanne, will host the party at their house, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will also attend.
That’s a lot of big-name Republicans at one get-together, so you know you’ll be writing a hefty check for some face-time. It’s a whopping $32,400 per person to attend.
On Wednesday, Romney heads to Utah to headline a private fundraiser for Mia Love, who is running for her state’s 4th District U.S. House seat. Love narrowly lost in 2012 to Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who is retiring this year. This go-around, Love faces Democrat Doug Owens. This may be her year as a recent poll has her up by 12 points and Sunlight’s Real-Time tool shows her winning the cash contest, too.
This week, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., takes advantage of the “Game of Thrones” craze with a fundraiser ploy around the HBO fantasy hit. The Udall camp is raffling off a chance to meet series writer George R. R. Martin during a VIP reception at the novelist’s personal theater. Loop us in if you hear of any spoilers!
And that’s a wrap, party people! Let us know if you hear of anything good going on out there!
Photo courtesy WikipediaTweet
Party animals, welcome to another jam-packed week of political fundraising! Know how we know midterms are approaching? This week’s social calendar is overflowing with politicos bellying up to the (campaign cash) bar.
Aside from the usual juicy tidbits from the party circuit, the last few weeks have been rather exciting. First, there was news of that men-only fundraiser for Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., which (a) lit up social media, and (b) proved that you can’t make this stuff up. Then, our friends at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting launched the first state-level collaboration with Party Time, complete with an ab-fab roundup of how political partying goes down in the Pine Tree State. (Want your state to be next? Let us know and we can set it up!)
And now, for this week’s highlights!
Palmetto State Partying
Trips to New Hampshire and Iowa by politicians pondering a presidential run always grab headlines. But as the host of the “First in the South” primary, South Carolina is an equally important stepping-stone to the White House.
So, for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, this week’s touchdown in Columbia, S.C., is just the latest nod to political watchers that he’s seriously considering a run in 2016 (for the record, he’s been partying plenty in New Hampshire and Iowa, too). He also recently shook up his political staff and added some fresh blood to his campaign posse.
And come Monday, Cruz is the special guest at a victory lunch benefiting the South Carolina Republican Party. PT’s records show this is the second time Cruz has headlined a shindig for the state party: Back in May 2013, he was the featured guest at the 46th Annual Silver Elephant Celebration, which, incidentally, also served as a tribute to former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who retired last year in favor of running the Heritage Foundation.
Then, on Tuesday, as part of his duties as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will make the trek down to South Carolina for an RGA funder. It’s another stop on Christie’s marathon partying schedule, and he’ll be joined at the get-together by another fundraising powerhouse, Gov. Nikki Haley. The dynamic duo of Christie (always in the mix as a potential presidential candidate in 2016) and Haley (a rising star in the party who is up for reelection this fall) will only add to the RGA’s stuffed-to-the-gills bank account, which is thanks to Christie’s record-breaking cash-grab as head of the organization.
Two-day par-tay with Obamas, H. Clinton
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama join fundraising forces at the end of the week for the Democratic Party’s yearly confab for the Women’s Leadership Forum. The annual national issues conference is always a prime place to spot bold-named Dems, and this year, in addition to the president and first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are slated to speak. It’s all set to go down on Thursday and Friday at the brand-new (and super swanky) Marriott Marquis in downtown D.C.
Of course we can’t be sure, but the smart money is on Clinton and Gillibrand pulling heavily from their respective new books when prepping their remarks for the women-focused event. Gillibrand, who holds the Senate seat Clinton vacated to become Secretary of State in 2008, made some waves when her book, “Off the Sidelines,” revealed a batch of sexist remarks made by her male colleagues. (She also got into a bit of trouble with Northern Virginia residents when she referred to Arlington as a “soulless suburb.”) No matter: Gillibrand still made Time’s 100 Most Influential People list this year, and her book has everyone atwitter about whether or not the memoir is a nod to a future presidential run.
As for Clinton, well, just about everything she does and says is dissected and analyzed to the nth degree. Her tome, “Hard Choices,” might not have divulged anything new, but the book tour got the media buzzing about what another Clinton candidacy would look like. And for PT watchers, in September alone, Clinton headlines a fistful of fundraisers, including a recent stop in Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s Steak Fry.
Boehner makes it rain
Speaker of the House John Boehner is a fundraising fanatic. A master moneymaker. A crusader for campaign cash. During the recent recess, the Ohio Republican went on a multi-state money-grab, hitting up donors for specific candidates and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
On Thursday evening, Boehner has a party of his own, an alliterative gem called the Boehner backyard BBQ. It’s slated to take place at the Half Street Fairgrounds, right near Nats Park in Southeast D.C., but don’t let that, or the invite’s cute mason jar or quaint red-and-white-checkered theme, fool you: This is one pricey party. Tickets start at $500, and climb to $10,000 for what better be some pretty awesome BBQ.
Come Saturday, Boehner is back on the road, heading to the Empire State for a fundraiser for State Sen. Lee Zeldin. This is the latest in a string of high-profile help for Zeldin, who is running against Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop for New York’s 1st District House seat. Party Time’s records show that so far this year, Zeldin has partied with the likes of Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor (that fundraiser appearance was just a few days after Cantor’s surprise primary defeat, FYI), Oregon Rep. and NRCC Chair Greg Walden, and former Florida Rep. Allen West.
Party Time has a soft spot for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., because we can just about always count on her to throw some sort of themed get-together, complete with a gem of an invite (June’s Crawfish Fest is the latest winner). On Thursday evening, Landrieu is at it again with the sixth installment of her celebrity chef event, this one featuring Chef Rusty Holman of Pennsylvania Avenue’s Bayou. Expect to throw down anywhere from $1,000 to $5,200 to attend.
Landrieu’s creative ploys for cash collection are all sorts of necessary in her neck-and-neck race. The Rothenberg Political Report calls Landrieu’s matchup against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy a pure toss-up, and Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer tool shows that the candidates – and outside groups – are spending buku bucks on the seat.
But here’s a quandary, party people: We’ve got a pretty good record of Landrieu’s partying plans, but not a whole lot on the books for her challenger. Got a Cassidy invite to share, or know of a fundraiser in the works? Send whatever you’ve got right here.
Cash for Cotton
A similar scenario is playing out in Arkansas, another southern state where the Democratic incumbent is hanging on by a thread and gobs of money are flowing into the race. According to Real-Time, outside groups alone have spent more than $13 million on the Senate matchup between Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton. And recent polls give Cotton the advantage.
On Friday, lobbyists from mega firm Podesta Group are throwing a lunch fundraiser for Cotton at the company’s downtown D.C. headquarters. PACs are asked to chip in $1,000 to $2,500, but individuals can get in for a mere $500. Next week, Cotton will benefit from another high-profile party, when he goes to Tampa for a fundraiser headlined by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Political Party Time makes no secret of wanting to get the low down on as many parties as possible. So we absolutely love it when others partying aficionados jump in to scout out the 411 on far-flung festivities. And so we are extra excited to welcome Maine to the Political Party Time family!
The good folks at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting are PT’s first local partner in our never-ending endeavor to uncover the who, what, when and where of political fundraising. The Maine-specific project launched yesterday, and senior reporter Naomi Schalit has a fantastic and comprehensive roundup of how political parties go down in the Pine Tree State.
Schalit found that, like our friends in D.C., Maine politicians will riff off of just about anything for an excuse to throw a party. Congressional session just ended? You should throw a party! Holiday season getting started? Celebrate it with a fundraiser! In the mood for a day at the shooting range? Invite your best donors (oops, sorry: friends) to a party, and while you’re at it, raffle off a couple of guns, too!
When Political Party Time, OG edition, first launched back in 2008, we aimed to track fundraisers thrown for more top-of-the-ticket races: U.S. Congress and the White House.
But as word got out, and more and more fundraiser invitations started coming our way, our record of fundraising fun has grown to include state- and local-level races. And that’s such a good thing! If you’ll recall, one Mr. Barack Obama started out as a state senator in 1996 and was voted into the White House a mere 12 years later.
No matter one’s political inclinations, we can all agree it would be great to get our hands on some of those fundraiser invites from his first campaigns back in the ’90s. As a central repository of political fundraisers – and the only such database keeping tabs on how politicians party for campaign cash – PT couldn’t be more excited to have a boots-on-the-ground local partner with the same passion for partying.
Frankly, we hope that this partnership with our Maine friends is just the first of many state-level projects. If you are interested in joining the party, give us a shout! Contact us about setting up a Political Party Time feed specific to your community.
And this is probably an excellent time to cheerfully remind you that Party Time needs your help to keep on keeping on. PT’s database is rapidly approaching the 20,000 invitations mark, a feat that would be impossible without you all sending us the goods. So if you’ve got something to share, you know what to do! Upload official invitations right here, or email us whatever you’ve got.
Party people, for months now we’ve been anticipating a fall season bursting at the seams with political fundraisers. And here we are, in the second full week of September, with a jam-packed social calendar.
This week, D.C.-based partying is back in full swing after the traditional emptying out of Capitol Hill during August, which saw plenty of on-the-road fundraising. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is one politician taking advantage of D.C.’s summertime-in-September weather, throwing a fundraiser at Nationals Park during Tuesday night’s Nats-Braves matchup. It’s a popular party spot, but usually it’s to watch your home team take on the Nats (since Schneider represents Chicago’s northern ‘burbs, we’re assuming he’s a Cubs fan). But, hey, a politician’s got to do what a politician’s got to do, and if that means having a fundraiser during a baseball game when your team’s not playing, then so be it.
Although Party Time’s schedule is super full, we are sure there’s more going on out there. What have you heard about, and what invites have come across your desk? You know what to do! Upload official invites right here, or email us any news tips.
And with that, get ready for a busy week in political partying!
Dems are partying hard. Like, really, really hard.
Democrats and Republicans are in the midst of a fight to the death for control of the Senate. Seriously. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recently called his race against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes a “slugfest” and a “knife fight” during a fundraiser in southeastern Kentucky.
While candidates are using “control of the Senate” to rally support around their individual campaigns (at that same fundraiser, McConnell told those gathered: “This is the biggest race in the country. And the consequences are enormous.”), national-level party committees also employ the refrain to ply mega donors for mega bucks. To wit: This week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – in charge of keeping the Senate blue – is throwing six pricey parties.
Dems have been rather adept this year at deploying unpopular-yet-moneymaking politicos (ahem, President Obama) to collect cash, and this week’s swath of fundraisers continues the trend. Tuesday evening’s annual fall reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts features DSCC Chair Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., always a popular target for Republicans. Tickets start at $1,000 and climb to $32,400. And on Friday, expect a similarly priced event in Baltimore, where the partier-in-chief himself headlines a fundraiser. (Details on President Obama’s party are scarce, so let us know if you’ve heard about what’s doing in Charm City.)
Hillary Clinton makes her fall fundraising debut this week, hosting a DSCC reception and dinner – tickets go for $10,000 per person, or $32,400 per couple – at her Northwest D.C. home. Between her summertime book tour and various speaking gigs, not to mention the continual will-she-won’t-she-in-2016 storyline, Clinton keeps grabbing headlines. But Party Time counts this as her first step into purely political territory since May, when she headlined a fundraiser for Marjorie Margolies (mother-in-law to one Chelsea Clinton, not-so-incidentally), who ultimately lost her bid to return to Congress. State Rep. Brendan Boyle defeated Margolies in the Democratic primary for an open seat in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District.
Tuesday’s event is the first of two fundraisers this week for Clinton. On Sunday, she and hubby Bill will touch down in Iowa to co-headline Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual Steak Fry. As the site of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, the Hawkeye State visit has political prognosticators buzzing more than usual about her possible White House run. Ready for Hillary, the super PAC that’s collecting cash and solidifying support for a possible H. Clinton presidential candidacy, even cooked up a fundraiser raffle for supporters to win a trip to the Steak Fry.
And two more fundraisers fill out the week for the DSCC’s fundraising frenzy: On Wednesday, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper will host a lunch in D.C., and come Friday, party faithful will gather in swanky Kiawah, S.C., for a weekend-long fall retreat.
Famous faces come out for Michelle Nunn
In Georgia’s tight Senate race, Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn benefits greatly from name recognition. Her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, continues to be a popular political figure in her home state after serving in the Senate for more than 30 years.
But a recent article questioned whether or not the Nunn name provides much of a boost among African Americans or younger voters, key constituencies for Democratic candidates. Fortunately for the Nunn camp, some very well-known people with names that just about everyone can recognize are throwing fundraisers this week for the campaign.
First up is first lady Michelle Obama, who is headlining a roundtable fundraiser Monday afternoon in Atlanta. The event benefits Nunn and the DSCC, and marks Obama’s first foray into fundraising since the end of July. Then, on Saturday, former President Bill Clinton throws a funder at the Atlanta home of Usher. Is everyone else counting on a Clinton-on-the-saxophone version of “Yeah!”? Thought so.
Cash for Comstock
Before she became a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, Barbara Comstock was a go-to researcher and political consultant within Republican circles for years, working on former President George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000 and on Mitt Romney’s run in 2012. Now, as she competes for Virginia’s 10th District House seat, Comstock is getting help from some long-ago cultivated friendships.
On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., headlines a reunion event in D.C., which will feature other top aides from the 2012 campaign. Comstock’s team is also raffling off two tickets and a photo with Ryan, asking supporters to throw down anywhere from $25 to $2,600 for a chance to meet the former VP candidate and current chair of the House Budget Committee.
The next day, Comstock throws another fundraiser, this one at the Middleburg, Va., home of Kristi and Vito Germinario. Former Virginia Sen. John Warner and Rep. Frank Wolf, whose upcoming retirement opened up the 10th District seat, are slated to attend Wednesday’s event.
Happy birthday, Mr. Governor
Politicians will use anything for a fundraiser gimmick. And why not? If you are planning to celebrate a wedding anniversary or the coming of summer anyway, why not tack on a little fundraising for good measure?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a one-man fundraising machine for the Republican Governors Association, is joining in on the tradition and marking his birthday (which actually fell on Sept. 6) with a fundraiser for the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Christie will celebrate the big 5-2 with his right-hand man, Bill Palatucci, and Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, turned presidential candidate, turned big-time GOP surrogate in 2014.
While $150 will get you into the general reception, it’ll cost you $5,000 to attend the private reception or $25,000 to attend the roundtable. And if that doesn’t entice you to bust out the checkbook, the birthday balloons on the invite should do the trick.
Photo courtesy FlickrTweet
Hello party people! We’ve got another busy week of political parties on the books over here at Party Time. But, as has been the case during the past few weeks, our social calendar skews heavily blue, with Democrats from all over getting in on the fundraising game.
Since we know the GOP does just as much fundraising as its counterpart, our only question is: What are the details?! Send us anything and everything – news clippings, hot gossip, attendee lists, luncheon menus, etc. – right here, or share those invites with our confidential upload feature. Don’t be shy!
Now let’s get to the week in political parties.
Obamas continue to go big on party circuit
Cue the ’80s dance party mix because President Barack Obama just can’t seem to get enough of … fundraising!
That’s right, folks, the partier-in-chief is back at it again, with another three-day swing packed with parties. He’s hitting up donors on the Left Coast this week, stopping briefly in Washington state before cruising through California. According to PT’s running tally, these latest get-togethers make for 41 Obama-headlined parties in 2014.
First up is a quick stop in Seattle, where Obama is slated to appear Tuesday at a reception for the Democratic National Committee. He’ll spend the afternoon at a private home with about 250 guests, according to the Seattle Times. He’ll then fly down to San Francisco, where he’ll spend the night and prep for a full day of partying in the Golden State.
Wednesday’s fundraising fun gets started with an afternoon event at the Los Altos Hills home of Judy and George Marcus. The couple runs a family foundation, and George Marcus is an ex-UC Regent who counts former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as buddies.
Pelosi – as well as Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. – will be on hand with Obama to gin up support among the wealthy donors able to shell out $10,000 for lunch and a photo. But if you are more in the mood for a “VIP photo,” get ready to cut a check for $32,400 per couple. (And get ready to explain the difference between a photo and a VIP photo, too – inquiring Party Time minds want to know!)
After that event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama cruises over to a party in San Francisco for the House Majority PAC. That’s the super PAC working to get Democrats elected to the House, and the group responsible for some mega ad buys for the midterm elections.
The prez then hits the tarmac for the short flight down to Los Angeles, where he headlines a reception and dinner for the DNC. Hollywood heavyweights (and “Scandal” chums) Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes serve as hosts at the fundraiser, which will be held at Rhimes’ L.A. home. (Incidentally, Rhimes recently told a press gaggle that her sister, a party planner by trade, is handling all of the nitty-gritties because “those are not things that ever interest me.”)
A bit of extra hubbub recently popped up around this party when CharityBuzz.com set up an auction for a chance to meet Obama at the fundraiser. But the DNC asked the website to call off the bidding war – and then decided to raffle off a ticket to the fundraiser.
Thursday morning, Obama sticks around in L.A. to squeeze in one more fundraiser, a $32,400-per-person roundtable discussion. The party, held at the home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and his model/actress wife Jolene, benefits the DNC and is limited to 30 guests.
Not to be outdone, the first lady will chip in with some fundraising of her own on Thursday. Michelle Obama travels to her native Chicago for a DNC fundraiser at downtown’s spiffy Waldorf Astoria. Thursday also happens to be the Windy City stop on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour, which means that, as the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out, concertgoers should definitely keep their eyes peeled for M. Obama. She’s an outspoken fan and friend of the music power couple, and took the first daughters to a Queen Bey concert last year.
Sin City shenanigans
Nevada’s 3rd District House race is heating up, and Party Time’s got a pair of back-to-back fundraisers to prove it.
Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican who has represented the Las Vegas suburbs since 2010, will face off against Democrat Erin Bilbray come November. Bilbray runs a health care nonprofit with her husband, got a nod from abortion rights group Emily’s List, and is part of the Democrats’ Jumpstart Program, which targets especially promising candidates in winnable districts.
Despite these Dem bona fides in her swing district, a May poll showed that Bilbray lacked name recognition among Vegas voters, even though they preferred her platform. But you know what can get your name out there? Partying with one Joe “BFD” Biden.
On Wednesday afternoon, the VP headlines a campaign rally for Bilbray at Kona Ice, known for its shaved ice and do-goodery. If this event doesn’t produce multiple gif-worthy moments – Biden with sugary desserts in Las Vegas, people! – we don’t know what will.
And that’s the second big-name fundraiser in two days for Bilbray. On Tuesday, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also the head of the DNC, throws a Women for Bilbray event at a Las Vegas law firm.
Dems in D.C.
For the few Democratic donors not already tied up with political parties during this busy week, don’t fret: You can hit up Eric Lesser’s fundraiser in downtown D.C.
Lesser – a member of Team Obama since the early days of 2007 and who started the tradition of marking the seder at the White House – is running for a state Senate seat in his old stomping grounds of western Massachusetts. The Harvard Law grad, who is also a consultant on HBO’s “Veep,” has friends in high places and he’s not afraid to use them. The invite to Wednesday evening’s party name checks a fistful of Obama whisperers: David Axelrod, Andrew Bleeker, Stephanie Cutter, Shomik Dutta, Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, Ben LaBolt, Reggie Love, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Jim Messina, Jennifer O’Maley Dillon, Patrick Dillon, David Plouffe, Pete Rouse, Erik Smith, Julianna Smoot, Jake Levine, Buffy Wicks and Abby Witt. Whew!
A few of our favorite things: BBQ, beer, bourbon … and ice cream!
With a week full of luncheons, receptions and roundtable discussions, two parties stand out for their creative calls for campaign cash.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., throws his Smoked ’n’ Oaked: A Celebration of Virginia’s Best Barbecue, Bourbon, and Beer party on Tuesday evening, with tickets starting at $100 and capping out at $1,000. The shindig goes down at law firm Jones Day on New Jersey Avenue, since nothing says authentic BBQ like a rooftop garden in the heart of Capitol Hill.
A few blocks away on Wednesday evening, a different rooftop will play host to an ice cream social for Sen. Patrick Leahy. This is a regular event for the Vermont Democrat, who is stockpiling cash for his 2016 reelection race. The invite, which features those famous Grateful Dead bears, claims that “Senator Leahy is looking forward to an evening surrounded by friends, Grateful Dead tunes, Magic Hat Beer, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.” These are good ingredients for an eventful evening, folks.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Hey, party people, hey! Over here at Party Time, we know that political fundraising is a bipartisan mistress, her siren song calling to Democrats and Republicans alike. But it seems like the last few weeks have been extra busy for Dem donors.
Last week, the partier-in-chief hit up deep-pocketed supporters in a 24-hour cash-collecting bonanza, cruising through Denver, Dallas, and doing two stops in Austin. (In fact, the trip was so notable that we went on MSNBC to talk about it.) But President Obama wasn’t the only White House denizen getting in on the action. First lady Michelle Obama headlined a party of her own for the Democratic National Committee in New York City last Thursday. And Vice President Joe Biden attended an event last Friday down in Nashville for the Democratic Governors Association.
Combine those shindigs with news that Dems are raking in cash off former Gov. Sarah Palin’s calls for impeachment and House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, and you’ve got yourself a Democratic fundraising frenzy.
This week’s social calendar sees more big-name Dems on the party circuit, but GOPers are getting in on the fun, too. And although we’ve got a good amount of fundraisers on the books, we are confident that there’s a lot more going on out there. So, send us what you’ve got! Hand over invites with our nifty confidential upload feature right here, or email us any news tips and hot gossip.
And now, for your week in political parties!
Mr. and Mrs. Obama, fundraising dynamic duo
They did it last week, so why not do it again? The president and first lady will divide and conquer this week with a set of bicoastal fundraisers benefiting Democratic organizations.
Michelle Obama gets things started on Tuesday afternoon with a party for the Democratic National Committee in sunny SoCal. Entry to the roundtable discussion at the Los Angeles home of Michael Lombardo (HBO executive and Kennedy Center board member) and Sonny Ward (founder of West Hollywood’s June Street Architecture) goes for $5,000 a pop. And this isn’t the first hosting gig for the power couple: Party Time data show Lombardo and Ward have served on host committees for Dem fundraisers benefiting Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
On Thursday, President Obama hits up donors in the Big Apple at a party for the House Majority PAC. This is the president’s second appearance at a string of fundraisers for super PACs working to get Democrats elected (and, yes, it marks an attitude switch-up when it comes to raising money for PACs).
Back in June, Obama spoke at a Senate Majority PAC roundtable, and next week, he’s slated to attend another party for its House counterpart in San Francisco. (The Bay Area get-together is part of another jam-packed week of on-the-road fundraising for the prez, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.) Unfortunately, specifics on all of these events are scarce, so if you know any details, send them our way!
Kansas governor parties in D.C.
Come Tuesday evening, it’ll be like old-home week for Gov. Sam Brownback. The Kansas Republican returns to D.C. for a fundraiser at the Capitol Hill Club, familiar stomping grounds for the congressman-turned-senator-turned-governor.
The full Sunflower State delegation will be on hand to fete Brownback, a first-term governor running for reelection. And it looks like the incumbent could use some help from his friends. Despite Kansas’s deep-red-state status, a recent poll shows Brownback down by 6 points against Democratic challenger Paul Davis.
Last fall, Davis – a state representative since 2003 and House Minority Leader since ’08 – announced he would make a run for the governor’s mansion. Davis immediately focused his campaign on schools, making it all the more notable that, in response to the recent poll results, Brownback’s camp touted the governor’s record on education.
2016 watch alert: Christie in Iowa
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a fundraising fiend during his tenure as the head of the Republican Governors Association, is working his magic again this week with three parties on Thursday in Iowa. Political prognosticators, take note: this is the first time Christie has traveled to the Hawkeye State in two years, according to the Des Moines Register.
Christie starts his long day with a party for the RGA at the home of Kyle Krause, CEO of the convenience store chain Kum & Go. This is one of the more expensive RGA fundraisers Party Time has come across, with tickets starting at $25,000. Then, Christie heads to Cedar Rapids for an afternoon event benefiting Iowa’s Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen. Christie will then make his way over to the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport to headline a party for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Although tickets cap out at $10,000, general admission starts at $25.
It’s a strategic mix of partying (all in one day!) that gives Christie plenty of one-on-one time with well-heeled donors and gets him in front of average Iowans at a fair. And it’s only the latest installment in a busy year of fundraiser appearances. Party Time data show Christie has appeared at 41 events so far in 2014.
Paging Marty McFly
Rarely do fundraiser invites make us think of our childhood, but this week, we’ve got Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to thank for a walk down memory lane. This has nothing to do with partisanship, folks; Pelosi’s leadership PAC, PAC to the Future, is having a party – and making us reminisce about watching the ’80s classic and then rewinding the VHS to watch it again (thanks, by the way, to the generous parents who let this happen on a regular basis).
On Tuesday evening, Pelosi and a fistful of lobbyists from powerhouse firms like Ogilvy Government Relations, Podesta, Wal-Mart and United Technologies will hoverboard over to Penn Quarter’s Rosa Mexicano for a cocktail reception for PAC to the Future. Tickets start at $500 and go up to $5,000 to host. Great Scott!
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
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.