Party people, the congressional spring break has come to a close, and perhaps the best indicator is the uptick in political partying in our nation’s capital. That’s right – the politicians are back from their home districts, and that means it’s time to hunt for some dollars in the District.
Our social calendar is popping with Washington events, but we are sure there are more parties happening out there. What have you heard about? Share with your friends at Party Time! You can email us, or upload invites using our easy (and confidential) tool right here.
Now let’s take a quick look at this week’s parties!
– In the latest installment of where-in-the-world-are-Republican-presidential-hopefuls, Party Time brings news of the New Hampshire GOP’s First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit. For two jam-packed days, politicians, media and activists will descend on Nashua to hear from Republican movers and shakers. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Hampshire Rep. Frank Guinta, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are all slated to speak at the sold-out event.
– Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., has been in office for a few months, but she’s already logged a good amount of time on the fundraiser trail. At the end of March, she trekked to Manhattan for a party hosted by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. But on Tuesday, she’s got a shorter jaunt – she just has to walk across the street from her office for a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club. Fellow Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte is listed as the event’s special guest.
– The fight for an Illinois Senate seat hits the moneyed streets of D.C. on Wednesday, when Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Tammy Duckworth have dueling fundraisers. A few weeks ago, Duckworth – an Illinois Democrat serving her second term in the House – announced she would challenge Kirk, a Republican who is in his first term in the Senate. Duckworth will have her spring reception Wednesday evening at the Democrats’ Capitol Hill townhouse, while Kirk will party at a private home just a few blocks away.
– Rep. Joe Kennedy gets right back into the swing of things with back-to-back political parties on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday evening, the Massachusetts Democrat bowls for dollars at Lucky Strike in Chinatown, where you’ll have to spend a lot more than the going rate for shoe and lane rental: Tickets for 90 minutes of bowling go for $1,000 to $2,500. Bright and early Thursday morning, Kennedy will breakfast at the downtown lobbying offices of Cassidy & Associates.
– One member of Congress can’t quite seem to say goodbye to spring break just yet. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., will take a long weekend at the super swanky St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in sunny SoCal for her annual golf and spa retreat. It’s $1,500 per person, $2,500 for a pair, and PACs have to chip in $4,000.
And that’s a wrap on your week in political fundraisers! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Sen. Rand Paul’s announcement on Tuesday that he is running for president – officially – surprised few political watchers who have been tracking his every move and muttering since he first burst onto the national scene during the Tea Party wave of 2010. Just two weeks after the 2012 election, the Kentucky Republican told ABC News he was “interested” in running for higher office.
Since that interview, Paul has checked just about all of the requisite boxes for someone looking at a White House run. New book set to publish in summer 2015? Check. Call out another first-term senator (and likely presidential contender) on Twitter? Check. Pop in at parties in key early voting states? Check and check.
There are many paths to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but for Paul, that path cuts straight through Ames and Nashua – and is littered with the crumpled up cocktail napkins from political fundraisers.
Data from Party Time’s collection of fundraiser invitations show that Paul has headlined 75 fundraisers for other politicians and candidates since September 2011. Of that number, nine have been in Iowa and another nine have been in New Hampshire.
As a point of reference, in the same amount of time, President Barack Obama has headlined 107 fundraisers for other candidates and the Democratic Party committees, according to PT data. But disclosure about fundraiser events isn’t mandated, meaning that all of those numbers are lowball counts of how much partying is actually going on. (If you have a fundraiser invite to share, please do! You can send whatever you’ve got right here.)
Last summer, Paul took two multistop tours of the Hawkeye State: one in June and another in August, when he glad-handed donors for Iowa Rep. Steve King, the Cerro Gordo County Republicans and Iowa’s 2nd District House candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks. And Paul was back in October for a BBQ fundraiser for Iowa State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, whose father, Jeff, was a state representative before becoming the head of the Republican Party of Iowa.
This February, Paul headlined a meet and greet for Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, a first-year member of Congress who has also benefited from fundraiser appearances by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, two other likely presidential candidates.
While in New Hampshire, Paul partied primarily for the state GOP, and headlined one event for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, a conservative nonprofit group that ran ads before last year’s midterms connecting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to the Affordable Care Act.
As for parties for himself, Party Time data show that Paul has thrown 26 get-togethers to benefit his own campaign coffers. Of that tally, more than half have taken place in Washington, D.C., including places like PT hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell, at the offices of lobbying shop BGR Group and at the downtown offices of law firm Covington & Burling.
In July 2013, Paul had a beer, bourbon and BBQ fundraiser at the Capitol Hill offices of Altria, the parent company of three major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris. Campaign finance lawyer Dan Backer, healthcare lobbyist Doyce Boesch and longtime Hill staffer to Kentucky Republicans (and now lobbyist) Jon Deuser were among the event hosts.
A few months earlier, Paul had a fundraiser at Google’s D.C. offices, where the tech giant’s PAC as well as Akin Gump’s PAC hosted a four-figure dinner.
Campaign fundraisers in the nation’s capital are commonplace to be sure, but Paul’s seeming preference for the D.C. party circuit runs counter to his message of running as a Washington outsider. Indeed, his new Rand Paul for President website has the slogan “Stand with Rand / Defeat the Washington Machine” – above a running ticker counting how much money he has raised since declaring his candidacy.
Tuesday morning’s announcement is the latest in a long line of similar steps taken by Paul and his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who served in the House off and on for 22 years and ran for president three times (as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012). Both were born in Pittsburgh, but went on to represent southern states in Congress. Both attended Duke University School of Medicine, and left their private practices for government service. And both have studied Austrian economists, hinging their political prospects on fiscal conservatism.
But the similarities stop right about there. The younger Paul – an ophthalmologist with his own practice for years in Bowling Green, Ky. – is cut from the same libertarian cloth as his father, but has distanced himself from some of Ron Paul’s more extreme viewpoints. Rand Paul’s highly produced announcement and slick presidential website (complete with an online store brimming with gems like a Rand Paul autographed Constitution going for $1,000 and a $20 “Don’t Drone Me, Bro!” shirt) contrasts sharply with Ron Paul’s announcement for the 2012 race on “Good Morning America.” And questions are already popping up about how much Ron will be involved in Rand’s campaign this cycle.
The first Republican presidential caucus, taking place this January in Iowa, is still nine months off, but intra-party competition already is fierce. On the day of Paul’s announcement, online ads for the presidential campaign of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – the only other Republican officially running for president – came up during Google searches for Paul.
But it hasn’t always been contentious between the two: The first fundraiser that Paul headlined, according to Party Time data, was a reception and dinner in downtown D.C. for Cruz’s first Senate campaign, all the way back in September 2011.
Photo courtesy Flickr user Gage SkidmoreTweet
It’s week two of the congressional spring break, and PT’s schedule of fundraiser events continues to lean on outside-of-D.C. hotspots like South Carolina, Boston, Iowa and Manhattan. It’s hard work, traveling for campaign cash, but somebody’s got to do it!
We’ve got a decent batch of goodies on this week’s social calendar, but we are confident there are plenty more shindigs happening out there. What have you heard about, party people? Let us know! Share official invites using our simple (and confidential) upload feature, or you can email us.
Now let’s dive into your week in political partying!
– Sen. Rand Paul continues to take advantage of the break away from Capitol Hill by hitting up some non-D.C. donors. Last week, he hobnobbed in Florida, and come Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican will have a dinner in South Carolina (early primary state alert!). The meal, at the Country Club of Charleston, will be hosted by Fox News contributor and conservative author Mallory Factor and his wife, Elizabeth, and Dr. Marcelo Hochman, a plastic surgery doctor, and his wife, Shelley.
– As the host of the first caucuses on the presidential primary calendar, Iowa is always a hot spot of political activity for people with their eyes on the White House. With a wide-open field of Republican contenders this year, the state is particularly flush with GOPers – and this week is no different. On Wednesday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will speak in West Des Moines to Dallas County Republicans. A few hours’ drive away, in Council Bluffs, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will chat up donors at a fundraiser for Iowa Rep. David Young, who has been, as we’ve noted, cashing in on his Hawkeye home state connection.
– Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s 10th District snakes along the western side of Manhattan, from the Upper West Side to Greenwich Village to the Financial District. With neighborhoods like that, we can only imagine some of the parties! On Monday, the New York Democrat hunkers down for a reception at the Trump Towers home of financial industry gurus (and big-time Dem donors) Mitch Draizin and Philippe Brugere-Trelat.
– A handful of politicians aim to keep the spring break party train going with weekend getaways. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., throws his Taste of Chicago Weekend, while Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., will have a three-day get-together in New Orleans to benefit her leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats.
And that’s your roundup of fundraisers this week! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!Tweet
As members of Congress head home for an enviable two-week break – just as spring kicks into gear, no less! – the fundraisers that usually clog the streets surrounding Capitol Hill hit the road, too. Although Party Time has learned to never say never, our social calendar (so far) has nary a D.C. event in the next two weeks.
Party people, we could use your help as we keep track of what politicos are up to while in their home districts. Is your representative a fundraising fiend while back among his constituents? Does your senator party hard with supporters at her favorite local hangout? We want to know! Upload fundraiser invites with our handy (and confidential) tool right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.
Turning our focus to this week’s out-and-about political parties, PT notices the continuing trend of potential 2016ers hitting the money trail hard. The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary may be 10 months off, but there’s plenty of cash to be collected in the meantime. After all, as the Republican National Committee’s new chief of staff said recently: “If you can get people to give money, that’s a much bigger get than getting people to vote for you.” Ah, democracy.
– Jeb Bush continues his fundraising tear/tour across the country with three stops in California this week. The former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate hits up well-heeled SoCal donors, first in picture perfect Newport Beach on Monday and then in fancy pants Bel Air. Maria and Robert Tuttle, longtime supporters of the Bush family (Robert gave big bucks to President George W. Bush’s campaign and was the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom during his second term), will host Tuesday’s fundraiser for the Right to Rise super PAC at their L.A. home, with tickets going for $25,000 to $100,000. On Thursday, Jeb Bush heads to the Bay Area for another super PAC fundraiser, this one hosted by school choice activists Bill and Susan Oberndorf and financial guru Jay Kern and his wife, Katie.
– It’s been one week since Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, made official his run for the White House, and Party Time already counts three fundraisers for the presidential candidate (in fact, on the same day he announced his campaign, Cruz partied in Manhattan). On Tuesday evening, Cruz and his wife, Heidi, will hobnob with their fellow Houstonians at Goode’s Armadillo Palace, a BBQ joint meets music venue.
– Yet another potential presidential candidate graces PT’s calendar this week. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will have a dinner on Monday night in Florida for his joint fundraising committee. Tickets start at $250 and go up to $2,700 per plate.
– In a reminder that not all partying is presidential partying, five Republican members of Congress will get an assist from GOP sugar daddy Paul Singer. Tuesday’s lunch in New York will benefit Winning Women, a joint fundraising committee Singer set up in 2014 to help out specific House and Senate candidates. Funds raised at this week’s event go toward the campaigns of New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Arizona Rep. Martha McSally and Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock.
And that’s a wrap on your week in political parties, friends! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!
Photo courtesy Flickr user Gage SkidmoreTweet
Fresh off the 2014 campaign trail, first-term Iowa Rep. David Young, R, has already dived headfirst into the money chase. And his seat in a state with the earliest of early presidential nomination contests guarantees visits from plenty of party leaders.
On April 8, Republican presidential prospect and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will trek to Council Bluffs, Iowa, population 61,000, to join Young at a pizza parlor funder benefitting the freshman congressman.
Tickets for the general public start at just $25, but admission to a special “Private Sponsor Event” runs from $250 to $1,000.
Four-figure fundraising dinners are generally confined to eateries within walking distance of Capitol Hill, or a handful of other posh restaurants scattered around Washington, but the pull of a potential presidential nominee can be a powerful incentive for opening wallets.
It’s not the first such occasion for Young.
The announcement of the Council Bluffs get-together comes just days after a local fête with another former governor and 2016 hopeful. On March 6, Jeb Bush attended a $1,000-and-up party in Urbandale benefitting Young’s campaign.
Though we are more than 300 days out from the Iowa caucuses, GOP frontrunners are already busy jet-setting from one early voting state to the next, glad handing congressmen and helping out local politicians.
The fundraising in those early states has already begun to pick up. Party Time’s records show 18 Iowa fundraisers already on the books in 2015, including visits from other potential 2016 contenders like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., and dark horse candidate Donald Trump.Tweet
The Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off its four-day lovefest on Wednesday afternoon, with a fistful of Republican personalities and White House hopefuls aiming to solidify their conservative bona fides and connect with the party’s activists.
The yearly confab, hosted by the lobbying organization the American Conservative Union, always promises plenty of red-meat speeches and presidential positioning. But with 2016 shaping up to be one of the more wide-open presidential contests in recent memory, this year’s agenda features a particularly long list of speakers. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are all slated to deliver remarks.
And at the end of last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got added into the mix. Although Christie scored a standing ovation (even before he started speaking) at last year’s event, CPAC organizers snubbed the governor in 2013, just months after Christie memorably embraced President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The down-to-the-wire addition of Christie is noteworthy, since the brassy governor has seen his stock fall slightly among Republicans within the past few weeks. The New York Times reported that New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a big-time Republican donor who has hobnobbed with Christie at Republican fundraisers, has opted to back Bush and his all-but-certain presidential run. Johnson reportedly attended two recent fundraisers in the Chicago area for Bush’s political committees.
Bush’s recent trip to Illinois wasn’t all about the parties, though, since the former governor dipped his toe into foreign policy territory with a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The appearance got mixed reviews, and Bush’s uncertain delivery resulted in a Politico article that wondered how his introverted personality would fare on the campaign trail.
On Friday afternoon, Bush will look to quell that narrative with a Q&A session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. A knock-it-out-of-the-park showing at CPAC could endear Bush to the Republican base, long wary of his more moderate stances on education and immigration. In December, for example, radio talk show host Mark Levin – who will speak at CPAC on Saturday morning – said Bush is “a very good moderate Democrat” and “very boring.”
Throughout his fundraisers and public appearances, Bush has carefully avoided saying the words “Common Core” – the federal education benchmarks that have become synonymous with big government among conservatives – even though he supports the standards. Even if the topic doesn’t come up during the Friday Q&A, the subject still gets the CPAC treatment on Thursday with a breakout session titled “Common Core: Rotten to the Core?”
Wednesday afternoon’s activism training gets the ball rolling, but CPAC begins in earnest on Thursday morning with an 8:40 a.m. talk by Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and conservative darling flirting with a presidential run. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst speaks during a noontime tribute to veterans, and Walker, Jindal and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin close out the day with back-to-back-to-back speeches.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham get things started on Friday, and RNC head Reince Priebus, Donald Trump and NRA chief Wayne LaPierre follow with remarks throughout the day. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will keynote Friday night’s Ronald Reagan Dinner. Saturday features a full day of breakout sessions about religious freedom, government spending, abortion and gun rights, as well as the results of the conference’s all-important straw poll, which provides a snapshot of how conservatives feel about potential presidential candidates. (Paul won the poll last year.)
One-day passes go for $125, but premium tickets – which get attendees priority seating at breakout sessions and admission to the Ronald Reagan Dinner and meet and greets – are $1,700 at the door.
Photo credit: CPACTweet
Congress is back from its “district work week” that found most members in their home states, and that can only mean one thing, party people: Our social calendar is packed with D.C. fundraisers.
Yes, in between meetings and votes and floor speeches and media interviews, politicians will venture off Capitol Hill to glad-hand donors, aiming to fill up their campaign coffers for 2016.
We’ve got a good amount of parties on the books this week, but what else have you heard about? Share whatever you’ve got with your friends at Party Time! You can email us or upload the goods right here. And remember – we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.
Here are some highlights to get your week started …
– Last Friday, we told you about how Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was working the ladies, throwing a high-dollar “winning women luncheon” with a rising GOP star, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, as the headliner. Come Tuesday morning, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is following suit with a “winning women breakfast” at law firm McGuire Woods’ K Street office. Notable hosts for Klobuchar’s fundraiser? Mega lobbyist and wife of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Linda Daschle; lobbyist Kelly Bingel; the Podesta Group’s Claudia James; and longtime Hillary Clinton friend Donna McLarty.
– Kamala Harris heads to the nation’s capital this week in search of some sweet D.C. cash for her Senate bid in 2016. The current California attorney general announced last month that she’s running for the seat long held by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Wednesday evening’s fundraiser is Harris’s first D.C. event of the campaign.
– CPAC, the yearly love fest that brings together conservative activists and politicians, descends on the National Harbor Wednesday for its four-day confab. More and more names get added to the speaker list by the day, but so far, it includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Tickets are $125 per day, and a premium pass (which includes priority seating and admission to receptions and “meet and greet opportunities”) goes for $1,500.
– Tampa is the place to be on Tuesday for presidential prognosticators on the right and the left! Right to Rise super PAC, Jeb Bush’s 2016 support group for his campaign-in-waiting, is having an evening reception at the Grand Hyatt where donors are asked to fork over between $1,000 and $25,000 to attend. The former governor of Florida is the event’s special guest. Meanwhile, fewer than 10 miles away, Hillary Clinton supporters will rally at a fundraiser for the Ready for Hillary super PAC.
Those are your highlights, party people! If you’ve got a fundraiser invite to share, send it right here.Tweet
Already, Party Time can tell there is plenty more presidential politicking on the horizon. On Thursday in Washington, the American Principles Project – a nonprofit that advocates on social conservative issues – hosts two governors who have their eyes on a higher office. Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., will keynote a lunchtime discussion about hot button topic Common Core, where tickets go for $50 a plate. In the evening, former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, will headline the Red, White & Blue Gala. Tickets to the dinnertime event (which provides an outfit challenge if we’ve ever heard of one: it’s a cocktail attire affair, and attendees are encouraged to don red, white and blue garb) start at $300 and climb to $15,000.
This week brings with it an uptick of parties on our calendar, but we just know there’s more happening out there. Friends, what have you heard about? Send us whatever you’ve got – we will take it all! Email us the goods, or upload official invites right here.
And now, let’s get to those parties!
Ready for Rand
While Perry and Jindal do the grip and grin with conservatives in D.C., another GOP-er who’d like to move into the White House makes his way to Iowa, the all-important location of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul touches down in the Hawkeye State on Saturday yet again for a handful of events.
Paul starts out his day at a 9 a.m. meet and greet fundraiser for first-term Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa. Democrats already are angling to unseat Blum, who replaced Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley when the latter opted to run for the Senate seat vacated when longtime Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, retired. Gary Kroeger, a Saturday Night Live cast member in the ’80s who is now the creative director at Mudd Advertising, is interested in Blum’s 1st District seat, according to a recent National Journal article.
In the afternoon, Paul is slated to party with students at the Iowa State Center. The get-together is put on by RANDPAC, the senator’s leadership PAC, and the invite promises that the “first 100 students in the door get a free Rand Paul phone case.” It’s a smart move, because (a) that’s free publicity, and (b) everyone knows college kids will do just about whatever for a free anything.
Paul’s one-two punch in Iowa comes a week after he snagged the head of the Texas Republican Party, Steve Munisteri, as an adviser for that growing presidential team. And (not coincidentally?) Paul also delivered the keynote at last Friday’s Reagan Day Dinner for the Dallas County Republican Party.
After spending a decade on Capitol Hill, Rep. Gwen Moore has a grasp on what makes a good party. Party Time’s records show that the Wisconsin Democrat mixes the traditional with the sassy, hosting plenty of luncheons and dinners but throwing in a fundraiser or two at a Lady Gaga concert or a basketball game. In fact, after she got sworn in on Jan. 6, she hit up donors at a Marquette-Georgetown game at the Verizon Center. Busy day!
Come Tuesday morning, Moore plans to breakfast with supporters at PT hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell. Individuals can snag a spot at the 2015 Welcome Back Breakfast for $250, but PACs are asked to throw in anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. We’ve got to hand it to Moore for how upfront she is about this multipurpose meal: The invite calls this a “welcome back” fundraiser, but explains that money raised will go toward her reelection campaign. Turns out, everybody’s got their eye on 2016.
Harry parties like it’s 2016
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has had a rough few months. After the Democrats lost the Senate in November, Reid got demoted to the chamber’s Minority Leader. Then, over the holiday break, Reid had a bizarre exercising accident that led to broken ribs, an eye patch and then surgery.
But you can’t keep Harry down. Despite the setbacks, the Capitol Hill fixture says he aims to run for a sixth term in the Senate. And to prove his point, Reid is throwing a party for his 2016 race.
On Thursday, Jake Perry and Anne Brady (both longtime Dem operatives who now work for lobbying shop Crossroads Strategies), will host a D.C. fundraiser for Reid and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Shindig for Sittenfeld
Sen. Rob Portman announced in December that he wouldn’t launch a bid for the White House, but that doesn’t mean the Ohio Republican won’t have a tough race in 2016. The first-term senator already has a Democratic challenger by the name of P.G. Sittenfeld, a 30-year-old member of the Cincinnati City Council.
In mid January, Sittenfeld told his hometown newspaper that he wanted to run for the Senate and just a few weeks later, he’s got a fundraiser in Washington. That’s a quick turnaround, if you ask us! A handful of well-connected D.C. Democrats will party with Sittenfeld and some early-on supporters on Thursday at the home of Susan Sachs Goldman, a local writer and member of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Board of Governors.
And with that, we wrap up your week in political parties! What are we missing and what have you heard about? Send whatever you’ve got right here.
Photo courtesy PixabayTweet
Party people, the year is quickly drawing to a close and you know what that means: A look back at the best – as in, creative/kooky/oddball – parties of 2014! (If you know of a winner that we don’t have, you know what to do! Send it right here.)
As we thumb through the year that was, we are struck by all of the strategic partying that went down, especially in the run-up to the midterms. We watched potential 2016-ers Hillary Clinton, outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., crisscross the country and cozy up to campaign contributors. And wouldn’t you know it … some of those donors just happened to be in key presidential primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
The partier-in-chief himself was a force to be reckoned with, too, headlining 71 fundraisers this year, according to Party Time’s data. Although any presidential party is noteworthy, everyone seemed to get extra excited when President Obama partied with Gwyneth Paltrow. Especially Paltrow. “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly,” she told the president at the party at her L.A. home. And, just a few days later, Jon Stewart made late-night comedic hay out of Obama’s fundraising stop at the Connecticut home of real estate mogul Rich Richman.
Headline-grabbing aside, here are some of the wacky ways politicians drummed up dollars in your yearly roundup of the wild world of political fundraising. Drum roll, please!
10) Party Time really, really wanted to be a fly on the wall for this event: Former President Bill Clinton headlined a luncheon for Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn at Usher’s house in Atlanta. We had our fingers crossed for a Bubba-on-the-sax rendition of “DJ Got Us Fallin in Love.”
9) Rep. Loretta Sanchez caught our attention with two creative fundraising ploys this year. First, the California Democrat had a pricey mani/pedi party in March at Tammy’s Nails on Capitol Hill. Then, she took advantage of warmer weather at a Billy Joel concert at Nationals Park in July. Some R&R and then the Piano Man – well played!
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., seemed doomed from the earliest stages of her midterm campaign, with polls consistently showing her trailing her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy. But in the final week before the Dec. 6 runoff, Landrieu had a last dash for dough. Hillary Clinton headlined a high-dollar cocktail reception in Manhattan, and then Stevie Wonder crooned for campaign cash in New Orleans.
7) Three Republican gents danced for dollars during Justin Timberlake’s concert in D.C. New York Rep. Michael Grimm, North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson and Georgia Rep. Tom Price donned a “Suit & Tie” for the February fundraiser. (Bonus: Party Time heard that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was getting her groove on at the concert, too.)
6) As the head of the Republican Governors Association, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had plenty of fundraising responsibilities this year. But he seemed to really dig celebrating birthdays, throwing his own b-day bash in September with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. A month later, he brought out the balloons and candles for another celebration, this one in Iowa for Gov. Terry Branstad.
5) And, speaking of celebrating a personal milestone with a campaign event, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and her husband marked their 30-year wedding anniversary in July with a fundraiser in Miami. Because nothing says “I love you” like a $1,000 political donation.
4) Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., cashed in on the “Game of Thrones” craze when his campaign raffled off a spot at a VIP reception with series creator George R. R. Martin at his personal theater in Santa Fe.
3) Like many other political watchers, Party Time kept up with the midterms madness with plenty of coffee and donuts. But we noticed an interesting trend in the two or three days prior to Election Day: some serious carbo-loading! Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro had his annual pasta and politics dinner on Nov. 2, and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., threw a pasta party of his own the next afternoon.
2) Cheap eats for big bucks! In a nod to his Chicago-area district, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., threw a hot dog reception in February, where the street food standby went for $1,000 to $2,500. And Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., recently had his yearly pancake breakfast, where a short stack went for $1,000 to $5,000.
1) Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., hasn’t held elected office in two years, but that hasn’t kept him off the party circuit. His leadership PAC, the Allen West Guardian Fund, is still raising and spending big bucks, according to Sunlight’s Real-Time Campaign Finance tracker. In March, West threw a weekend-long event billed as a black tie boot camp. The invite is, by far, one of Party Time’s all-time favorites.
And with that, party people, we wish you a happy holiday filled with as many parties as possible! See you in 2015!Tweet
With the holidays fast approaching and the midterms officially wrapped up after Saturday’s runoff in Louisiana, politicians seem to have their eyes squarely on their impending winter break. But before they hit the road for home, members of Congress will cram in some last minute partying this week.
And so, faithful party people, this will be the final regular post of the year for Party Time. We’ll be back after the holidays, ready as ever for all of the zany and creative ways politicians plot to bring in the campaign cash. We are confident the 114th session will be just as entertaining as its predecessors. You can do it, newbies!
In the meantime, if you know of a fundraiser in the works, you know what to do! Is it holiday themed? Does it celebrate the beginning of the new term by asking for campaign cash? Party Time wants whatever you’ve got! Have we missed any past parties? Got any late-breaking candidates for our year-end roundup (watch this space!) of faves? Upload invites on our handy (and confidential) page right here, or email us.
But before we pour some eggnog and slice up the Yule log, let’s dig into this week’s political parties.
Partying with Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has been interested in, if acting coy about, a run for the White House for just about forever at this point. “I’m not going to deny that I’m interested,” Paul said of the presidency way back in November 2012. Since then, Party Time has kept an eye on his strategic partying schedule, which always seems to somehow involve a trip to early voting states like Iowa or New Hampshire.
He’s looking beyond the intra-party fights of a GOP primary, too, by taking on potential general election opponents. On the night of Republicans’ across-the-board midterm victories, Paul immediately tied defeated Democrats to one Hillary Clinton, a likely fellow contender in 2016. And, to maintain that all-important cool kid street cred, he did it on Facebook. With a hashtag, no less!
Since the midterms, Paul has stayed on message, name-checking Clinton last week by referring to the ongoing instability in Libya as part of “Hillary’s war.” But he also announced he’d run for reelection in 2016, which complicates his path to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Kentucky law prevents candidates from running for two federal positions simultaneously, so running for his Senate seat would keep him off a presidential ballot – unless some fancy legal footwork allows for a still-TBD workaround.
Paul keeps up the busy bee business this week, with a trip down to Jackson on Monday for a fundraiser for the Mississippi Republican Party. It’s a state Paul carefully avoided earlier this year when a GOP family feud pitted fellow tea party insurgent Chris McDaniel against fellow Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. (Cochran eventually prevailed) Tickets to the victory lunch start at $250, but $1,000 will get you a spot at a pre-lunch reception with Paul and Gov. Phil Bryant, R-Miss.
Republicans bid adieu to campaign debt
Two new-to-the-House politicians are looking to cash in on the warm and fuzzy feelings of the holidays plus the sweet, sweet taste of victory. That’s right, folks: We’ve got another batch of wintertime debt retirement parties!
On Tuesday, Rep.-elect John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, throws a debt retirement reception at the Capitol Hill Club, where individuals are asked to chip in $500 or $1,000, and PACs are asked to fork over $1,000 or $2,500. Fellow Texan Reps. Pete Sessions and Bill Flores will be on hand to help gin up support.
From the looks of things, Ratcliffe needs all the help he can get. Ratcliffe, who beat longtime Rep. Ralph Hall in the primary in May and was unopposed in November’s general election, still has $664,300 in campaign debt, according to Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker. And a good chunk of that is money he owes himself. The attorney and former mayor of Heath, Texas, loaned his campaign a total of $685,300 in three different installments from October 2013 to June 2014, according to Real-Time.
With her campaign account just $29,529 in the red, according to Real-Time, Rep.-elect Barbara Comstock has a more manageable bottom line. But the Virginia Republican is still asking supporters for some help during a debt retirement breakfast Wednesday morning, also at the Capitol Hill Club. Because the best part of waking up is not, in fact, Folgers in your cup – it’s paying off someone else’s debt.
Ka$h for Kaine
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., isn’t up for reelection until 2018, but that’s not stopping him from throwing a high-dollar fundraiser at a Capitol Hill townhouse on Monday evening. The cocktail reception asks donors for at least $500 and as much as $5,200 to host.
It’s a more staid gathering than usual for the first-term senator. A look into Party Time’s records show that Kaine usually keeps his fundraisers fairly interesting, whether it’s a Bon Jovi concert benefiting his leadership PAC, Common Ground PAC, or his “Smoked n’ Oaked” event that’s billed as “a celebration of Virginia’s best barbecue, bourbon and beer.” We’ve got our fingers crossed that at least the latter two make an appearance during Monday’s gathering.
If Party Times knows anything about Sen. Patrick Leahy, it’s that this guy knows how to par-tay. The Vermont Democrat has been winning us over since we got this project started in 2008 with partying traditions that include all of our favorite things: carbo-loading Italian dinners, pancake breakfasts and ice cream socials that feature Grateful Dead cover bands, Ben & Jerry’s and Magic Hat beer. Yes, please!
On Wednesday, Leahy keeps his annual breakfast ritual going with a morning fundraiser at Capitol Hill restaurant Art & Soul. But this is no regular short stack, folks: A plate of these pricey pancakes slathered with Vermont maple syrup goes for anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.
And that just about wraps up your week in political parties! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Email us the goods, or upload whatever you’ve got right here. See you in the New Year, party people!Tweet
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.