The theme of the year has been, so far, all about early-on angling by presidential hopefuls. The 2016 election is still 22 months away, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio from ramping up their fundraising operations.
As always, Party Time is on the hunt for the latest developments on the party circuit. But as the fundraising fun ramps up after the holidays and swearing-in ceremonies, we need your help! What have you heard about, friends? Please-oh-please send us whatever you’ve got by shooting us an email or uploading invites right here. (And rest assured: PT always keeps mum about our sources.)
Let’s get to your week in political parties!
GOP goes big in Iowa
Conservative heavyweights and activists descend on Des Moines Saturday for a full day of red, white and blue rallying. This year’s Freedom Summit, a joint effort put on by Citizens United and Iowa Rep. Steve King, boasts a long list of speakers who will talk about the economy, social issues and national defense (and maybe 2016 prospects?).
Sarah Palin, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Newt Gingrich, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Ben Carson, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Carly Fiorina, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, former Ambassador John Bolton, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and New Hampshire state Rep. William O’Brien will all be on hand.
This is the second annual Freedom Summit, and the free event hit capacity again. Last year’s get-together was in New Hampshire and featured many of the same speakers, although this time around, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is noticeably absent from the lineup. Hmmm …
Money for Marco
Sen. Marco Rubio is in full-on can’t stop, won’t stop mode. The Florida Republican just published his book, “American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone,” hit up donors at a luncheon tied to the tome’s release, and chatted up Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” Plus, Rubio keeps on reminding everyone that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s decision to run for the White House won’t impact the senator’s presidential plans.
And this weekend, Rubio parties with his biggest fans at the Fourth Annual Team Marco Event in Miami Beach. The fundraiser, at the super swanky Delano South Beach Hotel, will benefit Rubio’s leadership PAC, the Rubio Victory Committee. Fingers crossed for a round of Marco Polo in the hotel’s infinity pool.
Everything’s bigger in Texas
Our friends in the Lone Star State sure know how to throw a party. Whether they are hosting national Democrats for a star-studded shindig at a filmmaker’s home in Austin or gathering conservatives for Americans for Prosperity’s National Summit in Dallas, the good folks out in Texas never disappoint.
And this week, the tradition continues. Inauguration festivities will keep Austin buzzing for two days as the state welcomes Republican Greg Abbott to the Governor’s Mansion.
Things get started on Monday evening with what organizers are calling the Young Texans Celebration. The Josh Abbott Band – whose lead singer isn’t related to the incoming governor although they share the same last name – will perform at the Moody Theater, with tickets going for $35 per person.
The inauguration itself takes place Tuesday morning, and will be followed by a lunchtime BBQ (obviously). Word on the street is that planners ordered four tons of beef brisket! Eddie Deen & Company, which put together the grub for inaugural events for former Govs. Rick Perry and George W. Bush, will cater the meal, according to the Texas Tribune. Then, after the BBQ at the Capitol, there’s a parade along Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
Things get fancier by Tuesday night, though, with a black tie inauguration gala at the Convention Center. Lady Antebellum and Pat Green are slated to headline the Future of Texas Ball, where tickets start at $75.
And who, you might ask, is bankrolling such a full schedule of celebratory events, which is estimated to cost upwards of $4 million? You’ll have to wait until after the party wraps to learn that. According to the Dallas Morning News, in a break from previous inaugural committees (and in a departure from Abbott’s campaign, which focused on government transparency), officials this year are staying quiet about the donors until after the champagne gets popped.
A few months after winning his first full term in Congress, Sen. Chris Coons celebrates by hitting the Party Time circuit with a fundraiser for his leadership PAC, Blue Hen PAC. On Wednesday night, the Delaware Democrat and his donors will hobnob at the Verizon Center while the Washington Wizards take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Tickets are $2,500 per person, which will put you in the “assist” category, while $5,000 for a pair will give you the distinction of a “three-pointer” contributor. We get the attempt at basketball-themed donor tiers, but could you all be a bit more creative – or at least consistent? How about ranking gifts as assists versus alley-oops? Or maybe labeling different levels as a layup versus a three-pointer?
Also: How has no one created a “bank shot” donor tier for a basketball fundraiser? Just sayin’.
And that wraps up your week in political parties, friends! What are we missing, and what have you heard about? Send whatever you’ve got right here.
Photo courtesy WikipediaTweet
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!
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.
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.
(Photo courtesy Flickr)Tweet
Hey, party people, hey! It has been a busy few weeks on the party circuit, and we love hearing about all of the fundraiser details: What was on the menu for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit? How were Rep. Tom Price’s dance moves at the Justin Timberlake concert? (Know more details, or have some invites to share? Send it all here.)
This week is shaping up to be a bit more traditional, with your run-of-the-mill luncheons and receptions. But even those can get interesting once you throw in a boldfaced politician or two, such as the fundraiser-in-chief himself: President Barack Obama will be out shaking the money tree for his party. And on Friday, the Republican Governors Association will be lunching and fundraising in Atlanta with Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Nathan Deal. The two GOP leaders continue to get heat for recent traffic issues in their respective states, with Christie not able to shake the George Washington Bridge scandal at home and Deal still recovering from the snow-induced commuter nightmare at the end of January.
And, as he’s fond of doing once every few months, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., is having one of his Bagels with Ben fundraisers on Wednesday morning. We’ve always had a soft spot for this event, seeing as it combines two of our absolute favorite things – alliteration and carbohydrates.
Let’s keep this train going, folks. Here’s the rest of your week in parties!
No, not that “Magic Mike.” We’re talking about Mike McFadden, the investment-banker-turned-Senate-candidate hoping for a magical run for Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s seat.
Franken squeaked into the Senate in 2008, besting his Republican opponent by just 312 votes (out of the approximately 2.4 million cast). But after six years of legislating, fundraising and shedding a bit of his “SNL”/Hollywood boisterousness, Franken doesn’t look as vulnerable as he once did. Rothenberg even put the seat into the “Safe Democrat” column for the 2014 cycle.
No matter – the GOP is throwing some of its biggest names behind McFadden this Wednesday at Party Time’s first recorded fundraiser for the Republican candidate. Last May, McFadden stepped down from his post as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market to focus on his campaign; just a few months later, and he’s partying with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 13 other senators, plus former Minnesota Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman.
Our Real-Time tracker shows McFadden will need to keep the parties coming in order to elbow out Franken, who has been known to get creative on the social circuit. The Republican has just shy of $1.7 million in the bank compared to Franken’s $4.8 million.
Mike Making Money
Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass., wants to stay in the House and is having a luncheon this week to prove it. The Massachusetts native will fundraise over cheeseboards and meatball appetizers at Sonoma Restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.
This funder comes a few months after Capuano opted out of a run for governor in his home state. The Democratic primary would’ve pit him against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who bested Capuano once before. Back in 2010, the two duked it out for a chance to face Republican Scott Brown in that year’s special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat. Capuano lost that primary by almost 20 points, and then Brown won the general, becoming the first Republican senator elected from the Bay State since 1972.
Party Time’s data show the luncheon fundraiser is a go-to move for Capuano, but we’ve got high hopes that the congressman will spice it up a little during this campaign. After all, his nephew is “Fantastic Four” actor Chris Evans, who went out on the trail in the run-up to the 2010 special election. If you hear about a Capuano party in the works, you know what to do – send the details here.
Rally that base
This weekend (in a fairly accurate visualization of our country’s political polarization, by the way), the right and the left will be partying with some of their staunchest supporters on opposite coasts.
In Los Angeles, California Dems are having their State Convention, and inviting a fistful of big names to draw all sorts of blue state voters and operatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will all be on hand on Saturday, as will Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (a potential 2016 White House contender) and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Across the country, on the Maryland Harbor, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get going on Thursday. This is going to be the place to be for conservative activists and politicians this weekend, and boy oh boy, it looks to be a jam-packed weekend.
Be sure to come caffeinated: Things get started at 9 a.m. with speeches from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump. And the hits just keep on coming Friday and Saturday – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Heritage President Jim DeMint, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are all slated to speak. And if all that speechifying gets you down, check out the Ann Coulter-Mickey Kaus debate Saturday afternoon.
Democrats hit the road
We know the president is scheduled to headline an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in DC on Tuesday and, the following day, two fundraisers in Boston for the Democratic National Committee. But if you’ve got more deets, please share!
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has a busy weekend planned. He’ll pop down to Florida on Friday and then head north on Sunday for two days in New York. He’s had the trips on the books for a few weeks now, and the timing couldn’t be better for the freshman senator. Last Wednesday, Udall and political watchers everywhere learned that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would challenge Udall rather than running for reelection to the House seat he has held since 2010. Expect the GOP to pour lots of money and resources into this race, as Gardner is considered an up-and-comer and the National Republican Senatorial Committee made him a top recruiting target. Gardner has close — very close — ties to the energy industry, Sunlight has found.
With his southern California district encompassing some of the best-known movie and TV studios, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., knows the powerful draw of a big-screen star. This weekend, he is having his Second Annual Weekend with the Stars fundraiser in L.A. Specifics are TBA, although there is a nifty film role on the invitation, undeniable proof that donors will be rubbing elbows with celebs all weekend long.
Photo courtesy WikipediaTweet
Newt in the Sunshine State – After coming off his victory in the South Carolina Primary win, the former speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is scheduled to attend the 2012 Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday. Gingrich is listed on the invitation as the honored guest and speaker at the fundraiser that benefits the Orange County Republican Executive Committee.
For more on upcoming presidential fundraisers, check out our fundraiser tracker.
Washington Capitals Game – Capitals and Bruins fans, Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., will be at the game tomorrow at the Verizon Center.
Happy Birthday! – Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., is scheduled to be in San Diego on Thursday for a birthday celebration dinner. To wish Bilbray happy birthday in person, tickets start at $2,500 per table and $250 per person.
Breakfast of Champions – A fundraising breakfast in honor of Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is scheduled for Tuesday. The suggested contributions start at $2,000 for PACs and $500 for individuals.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will be having a round table breakfast scheduled for Wednesday.Tweet
Capitol Hill will return to its hustle and bustle this week as members of Congress return from the holidays. Many will return to their schedule of attending meetings and hearings, but they will also be attending fundraisers in what promises to be a busy election year.
South Carolina or Bust! –Presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are scheduled to attend fundraisers benefiting local Republican parties South Carolina. On Tuesday, the Florence County Republican Party will be hosting Coffee with Gingrich and another fundraiser featuring Perry later in the day.
The candidates will be spending more time in South Carolina as the first primary of the South approaches on Jan. 21.
Showdown in Ohio – Redistricting will eliminate two seats in Ohio and in one of the cases, two separate districts now served by Democrats, Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich will be merged into one. Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in the House prepares for her battle against Kucinich with her first fundraiser of the year. She is scheduled to have a breakfast event on Wednesday.
Lunch with Sen. Reid – Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is scheduled to attend a luncheon for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in St. Louis.Tweet
As the Republican presidential contest heats up, the focus is on the close finish last week’s Iowa caucuses and Tuesday’s all-important New Hampshire primary. But the candidates have been lavishing plenty of attention elsewhere.
From fundraisers at donors’ residences and corporate offices to fancy receptions, they’re making time to show in states that historically have produced the most campaign donations, including California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas.
Click here for a list of fundraisers we’ve collected from these states.
The “ATM states” as pols sometimes dub their favorite cash cows, are proud of their status as candidate magnets.
“California is home to the largest Republican donor base upon the planet, and any well-organized candidate who’s going to work to raise money must include California,” Ron Nehring, former chairman of the state GOP told the Los Angeles Times.
One leading candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has attended multiple fundraisers in California including one at the home of Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy. On Sept. 26, literary agent and now Romney adviser and finance chair, Jillian Manus Salzman hosted a lunch fundraiser for Romney at her residence.
Despite spending a lot of time prepping for the New Hampshire primary, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman hosted a luncheon at a restaurant in North Hollywood and a VIP Reception and luncheon in Los Angeles.
Florida and New York are also popular stops on the political money trail. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is scheduled to be the guest speaker at The Orange County Republican Executive Committee 2012 Lincoln Day Dinner on Jan. 28.
Candidates also have been active in South Carolina, which hosts the South’s first primary on Jan. 21.
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., was the guest speaker at several events and fundraisers in Lake Wylie, Greenville and Berkeley. On Sept. 15, he was the guest speaker at the South Carolina Republican Party fundraiser. He also attended an Oct. 26 fundraiser that benefited the Spartanburg Republican Party.
A few days after announcing his presidential candidacy, Perry, was the special guest at the “First in the South” luncheon hosted by the South Carolina Republican Party.
Please help Sunlight build our presidential fundraising database! Submit any invitations, fundraising fliers or event information anonymously here or via email at email@example.comTweet
Yesterday presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, R-GA., was scheduled to headline a breakfast fundraising event in Urbandale, Iowa for Jeff Mullen, who is running for the state Senate. Cost was $35 for an individual and $50 for a couple.
Mullen told the Iowa Republican “I know Iowans are being bombarded with Presidential Candidates this close to the Iowa Caucus but we’ve got to keep in mind that our Iowa Senate is at a pivotal position.”
Earlier this week Gingrich saw a surge in the polls, after suffering campaign setbacks last summer. News also broke this week, however, that Gingrich earned at least $1.6 million consulting for mortgage company Freddie Mac, which is putting him under new scrutiny. On Wednesday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings criticizing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for lavish bonuses to executives.
Gov. Harley Barbour, R-Miss., and presidential candidate Herman Cain will be joining forces at the 2011 Statesman of the Year Dinner in Sarasota, Fla. Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman, is being honored at this event to benefit the Republican Party of Sarasota County. In October, Barbour told The Hill that his wife would vote for Cain if the election were on that day.Tweet
Most of the major GOP presidential candidates are scheduled to speak at an annual fundraiser honoring Ronald Reagan for the Iowa Republican Party Friday night, at an event where a ten-person VIP table costs $1,500.
Nine presidential candidates were invited but frontrunners Mitt Romney and Herman Cain will not be there . Both will be attending Washington, D.C. summit put on by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative nonprofit backed by the billionaire Koch brothers. Romney will be delivering an address on fiscal policy. But candidates Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Ron Paul, R-Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will be speaking at the Iowa event. Here’s a speaking schedule from the Des Moines Register.
That high price tag will get donors ten seats, along with two tickets to the host reception which kicks off the event. The prices go down from there: a non-VIP table of ten is $1,000, a “premium reserve” seat is $150, and general seating is $75. The invitation was posted on the Iowa Republican Party’s website.
The Republican presidential candidates are preparing to face off at the Iowa Caucus on Jan. 3.
CSPAN-2 will be providing live coverage at the event.Tweet
The September congressional fundraising fury continues, with nearly 50 parties scheduled today, the great majority of them in Washington, D.C. To see the full list of today’s parties, check out this link. Here’s a spotlight on a few:
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.