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

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 09.29.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Mitt Romney all hit the fundraising trail; Chris Christie travels to Ohio; Pat Roberts and Jeb Bush party in Kansas


Hello, party people! Fall is in the air: The leaves are changing, just about everything is pumpkin-flavored and politicians are doubling up on their fundraising efforts. But with members of Congress back in their home districts until after the midterms, much of this week’s partying takes place far away from the usual hotspots around Capitol Hill.

As politicians begin the last full month of campaigning and cash collecting before the election, Party Time preps for a full-on fundraising frenzy. Our social calendar may be packed, but we know there’s more going on out there. What’s brewing in your home state? If you have a fundraiser invite or know of something in the works, you know what to do! Upload the goods right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.

And with that, let’s get right into your week in political parties!

Hillary Clinton’s very busy week
Hillary Clinton is many things – one-time first lady, former New York senator, recent Secretary of State, 2008 presidential candidate and oft-mentioned presidential prospect. And now: Grandma!

But those babysitting/diaper changing shifts may have to wait: Clinton also is doing her bit this election season for fellow Democrats, too, headlining parties and lending her name to an email missive for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She’s set to bounce from Manhattan to Maryland to Miami this week as she headlines a whopping five fundraisers.

First up is some Big Apple partying on Monday. Clinton will hunker down at the Le Parker Meridien hotel for back-to-back events, the first one a luncheon for the DCCC with its chairman, New York Rep. Steve Israel, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca. Then, Clinton, Israel and Pelosi stick around for a reception for a batch of Democratic House candidates from the region: Vulnerable New York Reps. Tim Bishop, Sean Patrick Maloney and Dan Maffei; New York candidates Sean Eldridge, Domenic Recchia, Kathleen Rice, Martha Robertson and Aaron Woolf; and New Jersey candidates Aimee Belgard and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

On Tuesday, Clinton heads to D.C., by way of a party for New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro. D’Allesandro endorsed Clinton back in ’08 when she won the presidential primary there, and when discussing his upcoming fundraiser, D’Allesandro described her as a “good friend for a long, long time.” The Manchester politician’s prominent role in such a prominent primary state has everyone, of course, a-buzz that this appearance is the latest sign that Clinton plans to run in 2016.

A few hours later, Clinton heads to a Maryland suburb for a reception with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the state’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate. This is the latest installment of big-name headliners for Brown’s campaign: In August, Vice President Joe Biden showed up at a fundraiser for Brown, and back in May, Bill Clinton threw him a party. (FYI, don’t expect a Bubba cameo on Tuesday. The former president will be in Chapel Hill that day at a luncheon for Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.)

After a one-day break, H. Clinton is back on the money trail, this time hitting up donors in Florida for Charlie Crist’s campaign. According to PT’s records, Thursday’s special dinner reception marks Clinton’s first time in the Sunshine State for fundraising fun.

Mitt the moneymaker
We’d forgive you for feeling a bit of déjà vu this week. Not only are the Clintons on the trail, but Mitt Romney is slated to attend three parties, too.

The former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential contender starts off on Tuesday at a fundraiser for Barbara Comstock, who is running for Virginia’s 10th District House seat. The race is getting national attention, as indicated by the well-known GOPers who have been stopping by to help Comstock raise cash, including a recent event with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Romney’s running mate in 2012. (And, in keeping with the “remember when …” theme, Comstock forever endeared herself to Republicans back in the ’90s when she was an opposition researcher against the Clintons.)

On Thursday, Romney goes to Kentucky to help out Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is starting to pull ahead in his headline-grabbing race against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Power couple Joe Craft and Kelly Knight – he a coal magnate, she a Republican fundraiser – will play host at the McConnell party in Lexington along with Don and Mira Ball, who own a custom home building company and give big bucks to their alma mater, the University of Kentucky.

Romney rounds out the week by dipping his toe into yet another marquee Senate race, this one in the Bayou State. His Friday lunch in New Orleans benefits Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is hoping to unseat three-term incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. Polls have Cassidy ahead, but Democratic outside groups are going big in the contest. According to Sunlight’s Real-Time tool, Senate Majority PAC has spent just shy of $2.4 million against Cassidy, while Patriot Majority USA has spent a little more than $2 million opposing him.

First family funders
If it’s a full week of fundraisers, and the partier-in-chief himself can’t be out of the mix. The Chicago Tribune reports that President Obama will be back in his hometown on Wednesday to raise money for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, in a tight reelection fight with Republican millionaire Bruce Rauner. Obama, known for his tireless fundraising schedule (an average of one party every five days, according to a recent Washington Post story), also has a D.C. event set earlier in the week for the Democratic National Committee. But we need the details! If you have them,  send us the goods!)

But the first lady is also in the party mix, headlining a batch of events for Democratic gubernatorial candidates on Friday. Michelle Obama will attend a fundraiser in Boston for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Coakley is running against Republican Charlie Baker and three independent candidates, and the Boston Globe recently reported that Baker’s campaign account has an $800,000 advantage over Coakley’s.

Obama is also the main draw at a mid afternoon rally and reception for Maine Rep. Mike Michaud, who has his eye on his state’s governor’s mansion. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, will also be on hand to fire up the crowd at the University of Maine. And although that portion of the afternoon is free, never fear: A $3,000-per-person photo line and backstage reception got tacked onto the rally.

And speaking of Maine, did you know that PT partnered up with the fine folks at the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting to create the very first state-specific Party Time? It’s true! You can check it out right here (and send invites right here). Why can’t D.C. come up with more fundraisers like this one?

Christie brings in the cash
Gov. Chris Christie loves a good party. According to PT’s records, the New Jersey Republican has attended 18 fundraisers in September alone, and although most of those appearances fall under his responsibilities as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, some are outside of those boundaries. Cynics (not us, of course!) might say it looks as though Christie is trying to make inroads with voters and donors in key presidential states.

So, what’s Party Time to think when we heard Christie would be the guest speaker at a Republican finance dinner in Ohio? Does he just love Akron, or could this trip have something to do with Ohio’s perma-swing-state status and Christie’s presidential hopes and dreams for 2016? Party people, you decide!

Sunflower State partying
Last week, we looked into the increasingly interesting Senate race down in Kansas. Republican Sen. Pat Roberts suddenly is in the fight of his life after the Democrat dropped out of the race, paving the way for a serious challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman.

Since that shakeup, Roberts – who faced criticism as a “creature of Washington” during his Republican primary – has appeared in his home state with GOP crowd-pleasers like Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Last week, Roberts did a campaign stop with former Sen. Bob Dole, who hasn’t held office since 1996 but is still a bit of a rock star with Kansas voters.

Come Monday, Roberts will be in Wichita for a luncheon with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. While the Roberts campaign will benefit from the money raked in at the $100- to $2,600-per-plate event, Bush gets publicity points as he flirts with a run for the While House in 2016. He kicked his fundraiser appearances into high gear this year, traveling to Ohio, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as partying in Florida with Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., and Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, both early presidential primary states.

Whew, party people, what a full week! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 09.22.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Who has Sen. Pat Roberts, former POTUS Bill Clinton, Sen. Mark Udall, Speaker John Boehner, 20K invites and wants more?? Read on!

Hello, party timers! It’s the last full week of September, and politicians prepping for their midterms with – you guessed it! – fundraisers galore.

But any faithful readers of this blog know it’s never just about the election right in front of us. Sure, Republican Scott Brown (former Massachusetts senator, current New Hampshire Senate candidate) is throwing a reception on Thursday in Manhattan for his November race. But two other prominent GOPers with their eyes on the White House are lending some strategic support this week at parties in the swing state of Virginia.

On Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will indulge in some sweet fundraising at a dessert reception for Barbara Comstock, who is running in the closely watched race for Virginia’s 10th District House seat. The next day, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., continues his frenzied fundraising schedule with a stop in Falls Church for a dinner benefiting the Republican Party of Virginia. If you miss either of those get-togethers, not to worry: Rubio and Paul – along with a batch of other presidential potentials – will gather for a Family Research Council confab in D.C. on Friday.

There’s a lot going on this week, but what have we missed? If you’ve got the goods, you know what to do! Upload official invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to mention that the Party Time database hit 20,000 invites at the end of last week! So, a big thank you to PT’s friends who made that possible. Huzzah!

Party for Pat
It’s been a tough few months for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. First, he had to hustle during a closer-than-anticipated Republican primary, ultimately elbowing past tea party challenger Milton Wolf by seven points. Then, the Democrat on the general election ballot opted to bow out, blowing open the race and giving independent candidate Greg Orman a real shot. Just last week, a poll showed that, in a head-to-head matchup, Orman leads the 78-year-old Roberts by 10 points.

Kansas may be deep red, but Rothenberg Political Report just called out Roberts as the most vulnerable Republican senator in the country. The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent two of its scrappiest operatives to the Sunflower State, and bigwigs in the party are chipping in, too, throwing a fundraiser for Roberts in D.C. on Tuesday. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., are all slated to headline the event.

We’ve heard mumblings of other parties in the works for Roberts, who is running for his fourth Senate term, but could use some details. If you know what’s going on, loop us in!

Clinton in Colorado
Former President Bill Clinton hasn’t run for office since the mid ’90s, but you’d never know it based on his travel schedule the last few years. In 2012, he bounced all over the country, stumping for President Obama’s reelection campaign, and since then, he’s lent his support to a fistful of candidates at fundraiser appearances.

Initially, Clinton headlined events for fellow Arkansans, or political buddies like Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, or family friends like Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. But Clinton has become the go-to fundraiser for many other struggling Democrats. He has helped out with fundraisers in New Hampshire for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and in Louisiana for Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Come Saturday, Clinton will try to work some of his magic on Colorado voters. He touches down in Denver for a luncheon with Sen. Mark Udall, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. It’s one of the more marquee Senate contests in the country. According to Sunlight’s Real-Time tool, outside groups, including Crossroads GPS and NextGen Climate Action, have spent a combined $17.4 million on the seat so far.

Boehner hits the road
When Party Time read about House Speaker John Boehner’s August recess road trip of campaigning and fundraising, we couldn’t help but wonder if his team made a playlist for the 14-state tour. We imagine a pre-stop ritual similar to that of Dwight Schrute.

Aides better dust off the mixed tape this week, because the Ohio congressman is at it again with three on-the-road fundraisers. On Tuesday, Boehner heads to Glens Falls, N.Y., for a fundraiser for Elise Stefanik, who is running for the Empire State’s 21st District House seat and, to her credit, has had no shortage of parties with bold-named attendees.

Then, Boehner is off to downtown Manchester on Wednesday for a reception for former Rep. Frank Guinta, who is facing off – for the third time – against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter for the 1st District House seat in New Hampshire. Boehner keeps going north on Thursday for a fundraising stop in Maine for Bruce Poliquin. Poliquin, a former state treasurer, is running against Emily Cain for the 2nd District House seat.

O’Malley money
Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., makes no secret of thinking about a White House bid. Last month, he added fuel to the fire when he dispatched campaign staff into Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, all important presidential primary states. And his busy partying schedule is yet another indicator of his 2016 hopes and dreams.

This weekend, O’Malley has makes three tactical partying stops. First up: New Hampshire, where O’Malley has visited four times in 10 months. He headlines a party on Friday for State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark and then does a dinner for the Portsmouth City Democrats. On Sunday, O’Malley gets some Hollywood help at a fundraiser in California for his (cleverly named) PAC, O’Say Can You See. Film producer Moctesuma Esparza and Sony exec Eric Paquette will be on hand to gin up support among guests paying $1,000 per person to party.

And that’s a wrap! What are we missing, and what have you heard about? Send us whatever you’ve got.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 09.01.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Alison Lundergan Grimes raffles off lunch with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. John Boehner fundraises in Denver, and Bill Clinton parties for Dems in New York City

Hello, party people, and welcome to September! It’s the official start of what promises to be a very busy fall full of fundraisers for November’s midterm election. As politicians hunker down for the final stretch of their races, they’ll be asking you to dole out some serious campaign cash. It’s all about the money, honey!

Although Capitol Hill emptied out for August, Party Time’s records show that the partying did not stop when Congress hit the road for a five-week break. In fact, this was one of the busiest Augusts on the books for Party Time. We counted 135 parties last month, which clobbered last year’s tally of 89 events. It looks like the politicians just took the partying with them, hitting up supporters from sea to shining sea: Of last month’s 135 parties, only two of them took place in D.C.

Know of a fundraiser that happened last month and isn’t on our calendar? You know what to do! Upload invites right here, or email us tips or news clippings. And that, of course, goes for upcoming events, too. We want all of it! Send anything and everything right here.

The outside-the-Beltway fundraising trend continues this week, as politicians seem to want to extend that summer break as long as possible. In fact, a handful of them will pack their bags for a long weekend getaway. On Friday, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., will head back to his home state for his annual dove hunt weekend, and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., follows suit with a trip up to the Chesapeake Bay for a golf weekend. And Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., makes his way to French Lick, Ind., for a two-day golf trip with donors.

What else is on the books for this week? So glad you asked. Here’s your week in political parties!

No such thing as a free lunch
From the get-go, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t wanted for bold-named supporters. The Kentucky Senate candidate, running against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has collected cash from the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ben Affleck and partied with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Will.i.am and Bill Clinton – twice!

Given McConnell’s long tenure in the Senate and his front-and-center leadership role, Democrats are salivating at the chance to unseat him. Combine that with McConnell’s own fundraising prowess, and you’ve got a truly epic race, one that some predict will cost more than $100 million by the time the dust settles.

Grimes’ reliance on Dem heavyweights continues this week, as her campaign raffles off a D.C. lunch date with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The fundraiser sweepstakes isn’t the first time Warren has helped out Grimes, either: The two partied at back-to-back events in Kentucky at the end of June. And it’s just another example of how Warren – a liberal darling for her anti-Wall Street rhetoric – is the new “it” fundraiser for Democrats. Her partying schedule shows her bouncing from coast to coast to provide some progressive street cred to candidates and to help them raise tons of campaign cash.

Boehner brings in the bucks
Searching for an equally star-powered get-together for Republicans? Look no further than Tuesday’s early evening reception for Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, which features Speaker of the House John Boehner as the “special guest.”

It’s the latest installment of the Ohio Republican’s summertime road trip, which found him on a 14-state excursion filled with campaigning and fundraising. Boehner also huddled recently with donors and a handful of his Republican House colleagues in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where talk focused on how to pick up additional seats in the House and – you guessed it – the need for more campaign cash. (Bonus: Organizers also showed this highlight reel of sorts from Boehner’s bus tour.)

Coffman’s race, which pits him against Democrat and former state Rep. Andrew Romanoff, is one of the most closely watched this cycle, with the Rothenberg Political Report calling it out as one of the nation’s seven “Pure Toss-Up” contests in the House. And although Coffman is the one with the big-name event this week, Romanoff has gotten some support from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who headlined parties for him this July and back in August 2013.

Dem dollars
In yet another indicator that November’s election is just around the corner, Thursday’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in New York features three headliners who can be counted on to inspire donors to cut a fat check: Pelosi, New York Rep. Steve Israel and former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton, who logged a busy summer full of events for state-level party committees and a fistful of various candidates, continues to be a popular surrogate for Democrats. Thursday’s shindig is the first in what promises to be a long string of pre-midterm parties. And soon, Hillary Clinton – of will-she-or-won’t-she-in-2016 fame – will join in on the partying fun.

In the next few weeks, H. Clinton will be the featured speaker at four fundraisers, including an all-important stop in Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual (and final) Steak Fry. For those keeping track at home, yes, this will mark Clinton’s first trip to the Hawkeye State since her 2008 presidential campaign.

Before the close of summer: some BBQ and classic rock
With summer wrapping up, you can’t help but want to squeeze in as many warm weather-themed activities as possible. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is doing his part, throwing his annual Boozman & BBQ fundraiser in Little Rock. Tickets start at $60, but sponsorships cap out at $1,500.

If concerts are more in line with your idea of summer fun, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has just the ticket – well, he actually has two of them. Braley, who is running for the open Senate seat created by Harkin’s retirement against Republican Joni Ernst, is raffling off a pair of seats to Saturday night’s Eagles concert in Des Moines. We can’t decide between a play on “Take it to the Limit” or “The Last Resort,” so maybe it’s just better to let it go.

And that’s a wrap, party people! Know of anything good going on out there? Send whatever you’ve got right here.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 08.04.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: Senate leaders start recess with dueling fundraisers, Sen. Rand Paul parties in Iowa and who says Republicans don’t love the Left Coast?

Hey party people! Welcome to August, a month known for its sweltering humidity and Congress’s enviable five-week summer recess. As Capitol Hill quiets down, Party Time also plans for a break of our own. We will hit the pause button on our weekly roundups, and plan to be back in September. But our hunt for fundraiser invites never ends! If you know of something good going on, send it our way! If it’s good enough, we’ll break our moratorium for a PT extra!! Go ahead: We challenge you to wake us up from our long August nap.

It’s been a hectic year, with Party Time counting almost 850 fundraisers so far in 2014. But as the countdown to Election Day continues, we are confident that plenty more partying is in our near future. Have you heard of a fundraiser, or do you have an invite? You know what to do! Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invites right here.

But before we hit the pool and order a summertime adult beverage, let’s check out this week in political parties.

Dueling parties for dueling parties
The Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders may not agree on most anything, but they are spending the first day of summer break the same way: traveling to a party for their party.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes his way up to the Garden State on Monday to headline an afternoon reception for David Norcross, a current state senator who is running for New Jersey’s 1st District U.S. House seat. Tickets to the fundraiser go for $2,600 per person.

It’s a partying departure for Reid, who usually sticks to events benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or specific Senate candidates. Plus, the 1st District seat is considered Safe Democrat. But this is no ordinary House hopeful: David Norcross’s brother is George Norcross, an insurance executive and one of the most influential – and deep-pocketed – people in his state’s Democratic circles. George plays host at Monday’s shindig.

Apparently, he and Reid go way back. According to a National Journal story, “‘George has stepped up to help Senator Reid a few times over the years, and I think this is reciprocal loyalty,’ said one source close to the South Jersey Democratic Party apparatus.”

Meanwhile, the Midwest will get some face time with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The minority leader drops in for a reception for the North Dakota Republican Party on Monday evening. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will bring McConnell as a “special guest” to the party at the Bismarck home of Republican state Rep. George Keiser. Details are scarce, so if you know of anything else, send it our way!

Rand running?
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has never been shy about his dreams of a presidential run, telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl back in 2012: “I’m not going to deny that I’m interested.” Since then, he’s only added fuel to the fire, hiring a handful of well-connected (and primary state-based) political operatives for his super PAC, RAND PAC. He’s also a frequent player on Party Time’s social calendar, headlining fundraisers in New Hampshire, Iowa and Ohio, which give him the opportunity to ingratiate himself to voters, local-level party operatives and those all-important donors.

On the heels of announcing that he’s planning to put out a book in early 2015 (“Just coincidence, probably just coincidence, yeah,” Paul told the Courier-Journal about the timing of the release), Paul is embarking on a multiday tour in the Hawkeye State. First up is a Monday evening fundraiser for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, at a lakefront bar in Okoboji.

On Tuesday, Paul headlines two more events. In the morning, he does a breakfast fundraiser in Clear Lake for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans. This, for the record, is a group that knows how to pull in big-name guests. PT’s records show that, so far this year, Cerro Gordo has also hosted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for a dessert reception and Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a summer BBQ.

Then, it’s off to Iowa City for a noontime party for Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor turned head of Iowa’s Department of Public Health turned congressional candidate. Paul, also an eye doctor before he sought political office, headlines the party for Miller-Meeks’s campaign, and Sunlight’s Real-Time tool shows she could use the help. She’s running to unseat Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, who incidentally has a fundraiser of his own scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Cedar Rapids.

FYI, on Saturday, Paul will be back in Iowa for the daylong Family Leadership Summit, a yearly get-together of Christian conservatives. The confab – put on by the FAMiLY LEADER, Citizens United and Family Research Council’s PAC, and sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, RAND PAC, the Branstad Reynolds Campaign and Texans for Rick Perry – features a long list of conservative darlings, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Kicking off summer vacay right
Party Time thinks Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., are super smart party people. Not only are they getting five weeks off, the pair are jumpstarting things far afield of their home districts with some drool-worthy getaways in California.

On Tuesday, Shimkus starts his four-day Napa getaway at the luxurious Solage Calistoga (you “may never want to leave,” the hotel’s website faux-warns). The invite promises five or six wine tours over two days, and a private tour bus for the wine tastings. But it’ll cost you: It’s $1,500 per person or $3,000 per PAC.

As Shimkus wraps up his NorCal retreat, Whitfield gets started with his similarly priced weekend in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills Hotel will play host as the congressman and donors hobnob during dinner, drinks and some quality time at a poolside cabana on Saturday.

Party people, those are the week’s highlights! As we take a blogging break, remember to keep Party Time posted about whatever fundraisers you hear about out there during summer break. Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invites right here. See you in September!

Photo courtesy Pixabay

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 07.28.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Gov. Chris Christie knocks a home run in New Hampshire, Rep. Gary Peters parties on Capitol Hill, and a four-for-one deal in New Mexico

Hello, party people! Here we are, wrapping up July and looking toward August. We can’t believe it’s almost time for Congress’ loooooooong break until Labor Day, but come to think of it, summer political partying has kept us pretty busy. Turns out, time really does fly when you’re having FUN(draising)!

While politicians will soon be heading home for recess, we just know some of them will fit in a fundraiser or two. So, send us what you hear in your home states! You can use our confidential upload feature to share official invites, or feel free to email us news clippings, guest lists, or photos from the event.

As D.C. – and D.C. partying – slows to a crawl, Party Time preps for an abbreviated schedule, too. But before we take a summer break of our own, we’ve got a handful of parties to check out. Here’s your week in parties!

Take me out to the ballgame
New Hampshire comings and goings always capture political watchers’ attention, what with the state’s status as host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries. Politicians hoping to ink a lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue often test the waters in the Granite State long before they become official candidates.

And this Thursday evening is no exception. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – consistently on a list of possible GOP 2016ers, and a frequent party animal – hits the road for a shindig for the Republican Party of New Hampshire. The Fisher Cats, a Manchester-based minor league baseball team, will be having a home game and the state’s GOP is throwing a Home Run to Victory in 2014 party to celebrate.

Things get started at 6 p.m. with a BBQ buffet and reception, and first pitch is at 7:05. But don’t scoot out early; the invite also promises fireworks! Tickets start at $45, but go up to $2,500 for a seat in the VIP Suite to watch the game with Christie.

As Christie gins up support (and gets some face time with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who will also attend the game), a former presidential candidate will stump for one of the Granite State’s GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in Virginia. Arizona Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is slated to headline a fundraiser for Walt Havenstein at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington on July 30.

Havenstein, one of four candidates for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire’s Sept. 9 primary, is hoping for a chance to unseat Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan come November. A former Marine turned defense industry bigwig — heading up mega defense firm (and political heavy-hitter) BAE Systems) — Havenstein has been a fan of McCain for years. He introduced the one-time presidential candidate during a primary stop in New Hampshire in 2008 and gave money to his campaign.

Party for Peters
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is running for Senate in his home state and has been pumping up his fundraising schedule, in the past few weeks. First, he brandished his progressive bona fides, partying side-by-side with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during the yearly liberal confab at Netroots Nation. This week, Peters will throw a luncheon at popular party post Johnny’s Half Shell. Tickets to Wednesday’s fundraiser start at $500 and go up to $5,000.

The get-together comes on the heels of a batch of recent polls that have Peters leading his Republican challenger, Terri Lynn Land. GOP heavyweights have lined up behind Land, Michigan’s former Secretary of State, at D.C. fundraisers for her campaign. In June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, headlined a luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill.

Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer tool shows that Land is winning the money race, besting Peters when it comes to cash raised and money in the bank. But candidates’ coffers aren’t the only source of money in the campaign – outside groups have spent more than $5 million so far. The lion’s share of that, $4.2 million, has been spent on anti-Land media buys by Senate Majority PAC, NextGen Climate Action Committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and labor organizations.

Party Time’s buy two, get two
Bargain hunters rejoice: For a cool $1,000, you can break bread with three Democratic senators — two of whom just happen to be running for reelection this year — and one former Democratic senator. On Saturday, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (“Saturday Night Live” royalty) and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall (political dynasty royalty) will lunch with former New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman and his successor, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., in Albuquerque. It’s a four-for-one deal, folks!

And that’s a wrap! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Email us the goods, or upload invites right here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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PT Round-up: Alison Lundergan Grimes fundraises in D.C., Michael Bloomberg hosts Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Dems line up for Hillary Clinton


Hello party people, and welcome to your first full week of summer! As the swamp that is D.C. continues to heat up, a fearless foursome is heading west for a Southern California getaway – plus fundraising! Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., are taking advantage of the House’s weeklong recess and hanging out at the luxurious beachfront Four Seasons Santa Barbara for four days. Frankly, we can’t say that we blame them.

The rest of our social calendar is plenty busy this week, but we are sure there are other parties out there that haven’t made it onto our schedule. And that’s where you come in, party people! What have we missed? Email us whatever you’ve heard about, or upload official invites right here. And we always keep our sources confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.

Now let’s get into your week in parties!

Grimes goes for green
Political watchers have had their hawk eyes on the Kentucky Senate race for months now, tracking Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ every move and watching Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s GOP leader,  topple his primary challenger, Matt Bevin.

With the May 20 primary now in the rearview mirror, Grimes and McConnell are really free to go at each other. In fact, on May 21, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC that supports McConnell, threw down $560,961 on anti-Grimes TV ads, according to Sunlight’s Real Time tracker. That’s a hefty chunk of the nearly $2.4 million the group has spent opposing Grimes.

Sounds like it’s time for a fundraiser or two. On Wednesday evening, Grimes – who has benefited from some bold-named and well-connected help on the party circuit – will have a D.C. reception at the Georgetown home of lawyer Nelson Cunningham. The party is hosted by big-time Dem donors David and Carol Pensky and political consultant (and former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1993-1994) Mack McLarty. McLarty and Cunningham hop in and out of the revolving door, holding key political posts in the Senate and White House and working at various private sector firms. They currently work together at McLarty Associates, an offshoot of the powerful but hush-hush Kissinger Associates.

Here’s hoping Grimes doesn’t party too hard on Wednesday evening. At 7:45 a.m. Thursday, she’s back at it, breakfasting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Party Time records show this is the second time Reid has thrown a fundraiser for Grimes: Last October, Reid held a luncheon in Las Vegas for the Kentucky Senate hopeful.

Manhattan money
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an equal opportunity partier. Our records show the Independent politician has been hosting Republicans and Democrats at his Upper East Side townhouse for years. And come Thursday, he opens up his recently renovated digs for a fundraiser for Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich.

The first-term governor and Michigan native travels to the Big Apple to raise funds for his reelection campaign. Snyder will face off in November against former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer, who represented his southern Michigan district on Capitol Hill for one term in 2009.

When we first caught wind of the get-together, Party Time was surprised by the Manhattan-Michigan connection. But turns out this won’t be the first face-to-face for the pair: Bloomberg and Snyder have appeared together at multiple events to advocate for immigration reform.

Lunching with lobbyists
Sen. Mark Pryor is holding on in Arkansas. The Democratic senator is facing a tough reelection fight in his red state – Rothenberg calls the race “Toss-up/Tilt Republican” – and polls show he’s neck-and-neck with his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton. Last month, Sunlight reported that a Democratic super PAC, Senate Majority PAC, spent $464,000 on ads opposing Cotton, the latest in a string of hefty independent expenditures in the race. Mother Jones, meanwhile, tried without success to find out who’s behind a $1.5 million dark money bomb on behalf of Cotton.

Sunlight’s Real Time tracker shows that Pryor and Cotton already have raised more than a combined $12 million for their race, with Pryor bringing in slightly more. But in politics, there’s no such thing as too much money, so Pryor will have a lunch on Thursday to fatten up that wallet even more. The noontime meal at Art & Soul will put you back $1,000 to $2,500 a plate.

Cohosting the fundraiser:  Eddie Ayoob, a Barnes & Thornburg lobbyist and former top staffer in Reid’s Senate office, and Brady King – a CPA lobbyist and former Hill staffer in multiple offices, including that of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Virginia is for lovers partiers
Virginia Republicans have a busy weekend ahead of them. On Saturday, they gather in Roanoke for their state convention to determine who should face off against Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in the fall. Ed Gillespie – Republican operative, lobbyist, RNC chairman, etc. – looks likely to snag the nomination, even though the convention usually brings together more conservative voters, who (in case you hadn’t heard) tend to eye establishment Republicans with some uncertainty.

Before folks get down to business, they should probably have a party, right? Right. Fortunately, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will be on hand to get things going during Friday night’s Commonwealth Gala. Tickets to the dinner start at $75, but climb up to $2,500 to host a table of 10.

More and more Dems Ready for Hillary
Chicago is, like, really Ready for Hillary. Last week, the super PAC that’s encouraging Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016 had a fundraiser in the Windy City, and this week, there are two more events on the books.

First up is a $1,000 per head reception Thursday at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan are slated to attend. All three are buddy-buddy with President Barack Obama, meaning yet another batch of Obama faithful are, well, Ready for Hillary. The host committee is a veritable who’s who of Chicago bigwigs and Obama bundlers: Conlon & Dunn Public Strategies higher-ups Kevin Conlon and Chris Dunn, Barnes & Thornburg partner Richard Boykin (who recently won the Democratic nominee for Cook County Commissioner), Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, and Andrea and Alan Solow are some of the hosts listed on the invite.

And then it’s off to another steakhouse for another fundraiser. Mayor Emanuel will attend both parties, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., will join in for the second shindig. Another fistful of H. Clinton fans will be on hand to host.

On Friday evening, the super PAC gets yet another boost, this time during a reception in Connecticut. The fundraiser will be at the home of Ann Scheffer and Bill Scheffler, Democratic donors who attended a pricey DNC dinner in 2012 where President Obama spoke.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., will attend Friday’s party and the invite promises he will make a “special announcement” at the event. (We are not holding our breath on what that announcement will be, by the way.) A bit of history: Blumenthal and Clinton were classmates at Yale Law School, and during her 2008 run for president, Blumenthal, then Connecticut’s Attorney General, attended a fundraiser for Clinton’s campaign.

What a week party people – and those were just some of the highlights! But if you know we’re missing something, feel free to email us or upload those invites right here. Until next week, party on!

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.07.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Après McCutcheon, le party deluge?

Party people, welcome to the first Monday after McCutcheon.

We are bracing ourselves for an influx of fundraiser invites, seeing as the Supreme Court gave a heave-ho to that pesky cap on aggregate contributions. Now, anyone can dole out big-time bucks to federal candidates and political parties, limits be damned! Get ready to make it rain, K Street.

This only means more parties, friends. As politicians’ call lists grow, expect more invites to receptions at Johnny’s Half Shell, meet-and-greets at Tortilla Coast, and luncheons at Bistro Bis. (In the market for a creative way to get out of writing another check? We’ve got you covered with this list of excuses.)

And as your inboxes get flooded with invites, you know what to do – send them our way! We are dying to know who is taking advantage of the new no-limit rule and clamoring to get more money into their campaign coffers. Special Party Time kudos (hey, we may even get you a special PT hat!) for the intrepid soul who snags us the first invite to a funder for the-lid’s-off, post-McCutcheon committees that Sunlight’s own Jacob Fenton has dubbed “a super-joint.”  We think that makes him a contender in the contest over at The Fix!

Meanwhile, about those like-bunnies-multiplying invites: Email us, or upload them here (and, as always, rest assured that it’s a totally confidential process).

Let’s dig into this week, party people. And remember to send whatever you’ve got right here!

Obama heads to Houston

Another Wednesday, another fundraiser. After doing a twofer in Chicago last week, President Barack Obama hits up donors this Wednesday in Houston at a pricey fundraiser. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will also attend.

Pharmaceutical lawyer John Eddie Williams and his wife, Sheridan, will host the partier-in-chief at their fancy-pants River Oaks home. This feels like a perfect matchup: The Williams couple knows how to throw a successful fundraiser and Obama knows how to get people to write a big check. (For those keeping track at home, PT records show this is the president’s 14th party since February.)

GOP = Going Out to Party

New Hampshire and Iowa are always popular party destinations for politicians with an eye toward higher office. Getting in good with the locals and the state’s party leadership usually pays off come voting time in these early primary states – and people mentioned in conversations about 2016 (see: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.) drop by strategically and often.

The upcoming weekend is no different, as Party Time has four big-time (and big-name) events on the books for both states. The Republican Party of New Hampshire kicks things off on Friday evening with a Rally with Rand in Dover. It’s 50 bucks for what’s billed as a “casual reception” with the Kentucky senator. But that’s just the warm-up to Saturday’s conservative gabfest in Manchester at the first annual Freedom Summit.

Paul and Cruz are slated to speak at the daylong meeting, as are Donald Trump, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and American Enterprise Institute head Arthur Brooks. A couple of groups you may have heard of – Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity Foundation – are hosting the sold-out event.

Meanwhile, over in Iowa, that state’s Republican Party will have its Lincoln Dinner Friday night in Cedar Rapids. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is the keynote speaker, and a fistful of Hawkeye State politicians will hobnob with donors paying between $75 and $1,000 for the dinner.

In a noteworthy nod to New Hampshire, Iowa’s King won’t be sticking around for the Lincoln Dinner’s after party. After that event wraps up, King will make his way over to New Hampshire where he’s a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit.

And Ryan will make the most of his westward trip, stopping in Chicago en route to his evening gig in Iowa. Friday afternoon, he’ll work the crowd at a luncheon fundraiser for Bob Dold, who is looking to reclaim his old House seat.

Georgians go for green

Turns out, it’s the week for GOP state delegations to party hard. On Monday evening, Georgia Republicans get together in Atlanta for the state party’s Spring Gala. Gov. Nathan Deal and a bunch of state pols will celebrate with T.W. Shannon, a “rising GOP star” running to replace retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. Also invited to attend the event? The full complement of Georgia’s GOP congressional delegation, which may make for an interesting evening.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is stepping down this year, will be there, as will three of the people hoping for a chance to replace him. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston continue to duke it out in a crowded primary race, which will be held in May.

Rep. Austin Scott, who represents Georgia’s 8th District, is also invited to the event. But Scott’s got some of his own fundraising to do, thank you very much. Monday afternoon, the National Maritime Manufacturers Association’s Boat PAC hosts a Cherry Blossom Cruise for Scott, with tickets starting at $500. The cruise should wrap up by 4:30, so if he hustles, he might be able to make dessert and coffee at the Spring Gala. Busy day!

Bill steps up for Marjorie

In a bit of a ’90s flashback, former President Bill Clinton rallies the faithful in Philadelphia this week for Marjorie Margolies. Margolies is running in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 13th District seat, which she held in 1992. But she only served one term, getting the boot from constituents after she delivered the last vote Clinton needed to pass his 1993 budget.

So Bubba is returning the favor and bringing some star power to Thursday’s noontime fundraiser.

It’s not the first time Margolies is calling on her Clinton connections, either; last October, she had an event with Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Oh, and did we mention that Margolies is Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law? We anticipate a fair bit of good-natured ribbing about picking up the pace on grandchildren.

McConnell money

The Kentucky Senate race continues to keep us on our toes. This week, in a grab bag of hosts, various PACs representing car companies, chemical manufacturing and alternative energy production are throwing a party for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Tickets to Thursday’s dinner at the Toyota HQ in downtown D.C. start at $1,000 and go up to $5,000.

The minority leader is a prolific fundraiser, and a recent peek at how one of his fundraising dinners goes down gives a little insight as to how he became so formidable on the social circuit. Looks like McConnell uses the silent treatment to his advantage, telling party attendees that they have to give the maximum amount and then simply waiting until they do.

This is the first fundraiser on the books for McConnell since the McCutcheon ruling, which makes us wonder just how much – and how – he’ll make donors pay up. Yikes.

Party people, that wraps up your week in fundraising! As those invites start really rolling in, keep us posted on what you hear about. Email us, or upload those invites right here.

(Photo courtesy Flickr)

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.24.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

They’re baaaaack!

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

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

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

Welcome back, Mitt!

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

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

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

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

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

Thom Tillis gets some D.C. love

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

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

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

Money for Mooney

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

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

Grimes goes for green

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

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

Joe Garcia’s fundraising frenzy

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

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

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

Pricey booze!

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.17.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

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

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

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

President Obama: Florida fundraising (and golfing?)

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

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

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

Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa … again

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

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

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

Ted Cruz, you are one savvy partier.

McConnell in sunny SoCal

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

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

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

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

Cash for Crist

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

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

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

Weekend getaways + funders

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.10.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

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

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

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

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

Partier-in-Chief in the Big Apple

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

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

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

Cash for Clyburn

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

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

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

Scott’s small shindig

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

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

Weekend Update with Party Time

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party

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