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


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2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 06.09.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Incumbents bolstered by beltway fundraising

Last night’s primary winners were helped by some last minute inside-the-beltway fundraisers according to a look at Party Time’s database.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who will now face Tea Party-backed Republican Sharron Angle, held a star-studded “Pre-Primary Breakfast” at the Liason Hotel in Washington D.C., on May 19th featuring a host of Democratic senators for support, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Max Baucus, Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and Chuck Schumer. Guests and political action committees could attend by paying anywhere from $500-$2,500. According to the invitations sent to Party Time, Reid has held at least seven fundraisers this year.

Fellow Democratic Nevada lawmaker Rep. Dina Titus, of the 3rd Congressional District, who be facing GOP and Tea Party candidate Joe Heck in November, also got a pre-primary boost from labor unions at a fundraiser last week. Titus held a “Friends of Labor Pre-Primary Reception” at the Charlie Palmer Steak house on May 27 for guests paying $1,000-$5,000.

The event was hosted by several labor groups including the Air Line Pilots PAC, the American Postal Workers Union and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Labor interests have been generous to Titus in the past, giving more than $400,000 over the course of her career, representing some of her top donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Scott Rigell, the newly anointed GOP candidate in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, has also gotten into the beltway fundraising game. A Virginia Beach car dealer, Rigell held a “Meet and Greet” fundraiser on March 9th hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association. Rigell hopes to challenge Democratic incumbent Glenn Nye, who has had his share of fundraisers this year. According to invites sent to Party Time, he’s held at least seven events in 2010, the latest being a May 25th happy hour at Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff eatery hosted by the Young Professionals Happy Hour.

In other June 8th primary news, Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, defeated her Democratic challenger, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in yesterday’s special election and will face GOP Rep. John Boozman in November. In Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello will face Republican Robert Hurt.

2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 05.19.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Specter jettisoned; Rand Paul rides tea party wave; Arkansas Dem. Fight continues

After 29 years as the senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter was voted out by Democratic primary voters yesterday in favor of a two-term House member, Rep. Joe Sestak, who currently represents the state’s 7th congressional district. Sestak will now face Republican and former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey for the seat in November.

Five Hundred miles away in the Kentucky senate race, Republican tea party candidate Rand Paul bested Trey Grayson, the secretary of state who won the endorsement of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate. Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, will face Democrat Jack Conway, the state’s attorney general, for the seat in November.

In Arkansas, moderate Democrat Blanche Lincoln must continue to fight for her Senate seat, as results from the state’s Democratic primary have found no clear majority against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter for the party’s nomination. The two will face-off in a runoff election on June 8th.

Other notable results:

Democrat Mark Critz won a special election for the open seat of late Congressman John Murtha for the remaining seven months of Murthas term for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Critz recently held a fundraiser at Lounge 201 in Washington D.C., according to Party Times list of invites. In attendance were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Delegation.

Democrat U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, of the 11th congressional district of Pennsylvania, moves on to battle his Republican challenger, Hazleton, Pa., mayor Lou Barletta in the November ballot. According to Party Time invites, Kanjorski has held eight fundraisers since the beginning of the year, the latest was a May 12 fundraiser at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, where for $5,000, people could host the event and for $1,000 they could attend. There is only one invite in Party Times files for Lou Barletta, an October 2008 fundraiser at the Capital Grille.

Republican Congressman Charlie Dent easily defeated tea party challenger Mat Benol and will face Democrat John Callahan for Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District in November. Since January, Dent has held 10 fundraisers, according to Party Time invites. He also has a fundraiser planned for May 25th, to celebrate his Big 50th Birthday with special guests. For $1,500, political action committees can participate and for $750 individuals can wish him a happy half-century.

Republican Rick Crawford won the GOP nominee for the 1st congressional district of Arkansas against Princella Smith, who at 26, hoped to become the youngest member of congress. Crawford faces a Democratic challenger who won’t be decided until a June 8th run-off election. Contenders will likely include Tim Wooldridge and Chad Causey.

2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 05.13.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Beaten incumbents spooking Specter?

In a week of longtime incumbents being nixed by their own party, all eyes are on the May 18 Pennsylvania primary as Arlen Specter, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Democrat, fights to keep his office for a sixth term against challenger Rep. Joe Sestak and 13-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski tries to beat back newcomer Corey O’Brien in the state’s 11th Congressional District.

Also sitting precariously is Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who faces off against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, in the Arkansas primary on May 18.

Last Tuesday, Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., lost his bid for a 15th term for the 1st congressional district to state senator Mike Oliverio in the West Virginia Democratic primary. On Sunday, Utah Sen. Bob Bennett lost his bid for a fourth term in the state Republican Primary, in a victory for tea party activists.

Bennett and Mollohan had both raised far more than their challengers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mollohan had raised nearly $800,000 to Oliverios $320,000, while Bennett had raised $3.9 million, ten times more than the next most-funded candidate.

In Pennsylvania, Specter has so far raised more than $15.4 million, while Democratic challenger Joe Sestak has raised nearly $3.6 million. The Democratic primary winner will face off against Republican Pat Toomey, who has so far raised $8.2 million. Meanwhile in the House race, Kanjorski has raised nearly $1.2 million compared to O’Brien’s nearly $358,000.

According to Party Times invites, Kanjorski has held eight fundraisers since the beginning of the year, the latest was a May 12 fundraiser at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, where for $5,000, people could host the event and for $1,000 they could attend.

Toomey has held three fundraisers this year, according to Party Time. The most recent was a April 27th fundraiser at Johnny’s Half Shell hosted by Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, where for $2,000 political action committees could co-host the event, and for $500, individuals could attend. The latest invites in Party Time for Specter and Sestak only date back to 2009.

Pennsylvania election results wont be known until next week, but according to early unofficial results of about 2,000 ballots, Specter was leading Sestak, 55 percent to 45 percent. Kanjorski was also leading in early votes of about 1,000 ballots with 50 percent of the vote to OBriens 33 percent.

In Arkansas, Lincoln has raised more than $8.7 million while Halter has raised $2.6 million.

Partytime competitive races • POSTED - 04.29.10 BY Elham Khatami

Showdown in Arkansas: Halter fundraises in hopes to defeat Lincoln in primary

Two-term incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas faces a tough challenge by Democrat and Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the state’s May 18 Democratic Primary. It’s a race The Cook Political Report describes as a “toss up.”

After announcing his decision to run in March, Halter has gained the support of various liberal groups, including and the Accountability Now political action committee. However some strategists have said that given Lincoln’s moderate support base, Halter’s support from “non-traditional” could work against him.

Halter has raised more than $2 million, with more than $1 million in cash on hand. Lincoln has raised more than $8 million, with more than half of that in the bank.

This weekend, Halter will hold a rally and fundraiser in Fayetteville, AR.

The Party Time database shows that Lincoln’s latest event was last July, but this does not mean she has not been on the fundraising circuit. Last week, Lincoln, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee which recently passed a new derivatives bill, canceled a fundraiser with Goldman Sachs executives.

Partytime • POSTED - 07.06.09 BY Nancy Watzman

Health care lobbyists throw parties, too

Today’s Washington Post analysis on the massive lobbying forces deployed by industry groups on the health care debate features numerous prominent lobbyists who have close ties to key lawmakers (Sunlight’s Paul Blumenthal blogs about it here). At Party Time we can treat you to a glimpse at the social calendars of some mentioned in the story who are also active on the congressional fundraising circuit:

  • David Castagnetti, a former chief of staff for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), whose clients include PhRMA and America’s Health Insurance Plans;
  • Stephen Northrup, who worked for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and now lobbies for Wellpoint, one of the world’s largest insurance conglomerates;

This was just a quick look based on the Post’s  story–we’ll be looking more at revolving door health care lobbyists who also party.


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.