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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 - 02.25.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Will Jeb Bush, Chris Christie win over conservatives at CPAC 2015?

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: CPAC

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.23.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Sen. Amy Klobuchar throws a women’s breakfast, Kamala Harris fundraises in D.C., conservatives rally at CPAC and Jeb Bush- and Hillary Clinton-aligned super PACs party in Tampa

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.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.02.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Sen. Rand Paul goes to Iowa, Rep. Gwen Moore raises money over breakfast, Sen. Harry Reid revs up for 2016, and a Democratic challenger to Sen. Rob Portman parties in D.C.

Hello, party people! After a jam-packed January full of 2016 positioning, we are diving right into February, hearts full of anticipation. What will this next month bring?

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.

Moore money
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 Pixabay

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.15.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

Oddball PT Round-up: Party Time’s top 10 zaniest political fundraisers of 2014

pennants reading "Top 10" over party hats

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!

8) 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!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.08.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Sen. Rand Paul headlines Mississippi fundraiser, more debt retirement parties and some expensive pancakes

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.


Pricey pancakes!
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!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.20.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama hit up ATM states; Rand Paul, Chris Christie party in Iowa; Rick Scott beats the FanGate heat with a Florida fundraiser

Hey, party people, hey! The whirlwind of pre-midterm political fundraising continues this week, with another packed social calendar that takes us from Illinois to Iowa, from California to the Carolinas. It’s crunch time, folks, so ready those checkbooks!

While most politicos are hitting the road for ATM states (New York, California) or key presidential primary pockets (South Carolina, Iowa), we have to salute one guy heading to the beach – on a Wednesday, no less. Sen. Bob Menendez is throwing a two-day retreat for his leadership PAC at the Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico, with tickets going for $5,000 a pop. The New Jersey Democrat – who faced an ethics complaint in 2012 for not disclosing flights to the Dominican Republic gifted by a campaign donor – isn’t up for reelection until 2018.

Whether they are catching some sunshine or chatting at a reception, this week’s schedule runs the gauntlet of fundraising ploys. But what have we missed, faithful partiers? If you know of something in the works, you know what to do! Use our confidential upload page right here, or email us invites or news clippings.

Buckle up, friends! Here is your busy week in political parties.

Hillary does California
Becoming a grandmother shook up Hillary Clinton’s travel plans, but only a little bit. In the days immediately following the arrival of tiny tot Charlotte, Clinton canceled a fundraiser for influential New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro and dispatched husband Bill to sub for her at a party for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown.

But the potential grandmother-in-chief was back at work sooner rather than later, packing her bags for fundraiser appearances in Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver and Louisville. This week, she has two high-profile stops in deep blue California, where she will raise money for Democratic House and Senate candidates.

On Monday, Clinton heads to downtown San Francisco for an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Called the “Ultimate Women’s Power Luncheon,” it (a) pairs Clinton with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and (b) makes us want to talk in that deep voice from movie trailers. It’s $500 for one seat at the Fairmont Hotel lunch, but a VIP reception and photo will cost you $32,400.

Later that day, Clinton is the special guest at a reception and dinner at see-and-be-seen L.A. restaurant Tavern. The party’s host list includes Hollywood heavy hitters Alan and Cindy Horn, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jolene and Michael Rapino, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is seen as a “coming out of sorts” for a possible Clinton White House run in 2016. The pricey get-together – $32,400 per person – benefits a joint fundraising committee with a long list of signers-on, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a handful of state Democratic parties and the campaign committees of Senate candidates in tight races (as in, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, Kentucky candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Georgia candidate Michelle Nunn, West Virginia candidate Natalie Tennant, etc., etc.). Whew!

Side note: The potential grandfather-in-chief is getting in on the action this week, too. Former President Bill Clinton will headline a party on Tuesday for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and an evening reception on Thursday for New Jersey’s Bonnie Watson Coleman, who has her eye on her state’s open 12th District House seat. These are the latest Party Time stops for Bubba, who has been a highly sought-after surrogate for Democratic candidates this cycle.

Obama heads home
President Barack Obama starts out his week in his adopted home state of Illinois to provide a boost for Gov. Pat Quinn and the Democratic National Committee. On Sunday, Obama rallied the troops at a get-out-the-vote event for Quinn. (Earlier this month, Obama attended a $50,000-per-person house party for the Illinois Democrat; first lady Michelle Obama lent her support, too, during $10,000-per-plate event followed by a public rally.)

Come Monday, the partier-in-chief is the special guest at a DNC event at the Chicago home of philanthropist Barbara Goodman Manilow. This isn’t Manilow’s first rodeo, though: Her Lincoln Park home was the site of an April 2013 party for Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign.

Though Obama canceled not just onebut two events last week for Ebola-related meetings at the White House, he seems to be getting back on the trail this week. His schedule also has him attending a D.C. event on Thursday for the Democratic National Committee. If you have the invite, email us the deets!

Republicans hunker down in Iowa
Sure, the next presidential race is still two years off. But for the Republican Party, which lacks a shoo-in nominee, that just means 24 more months of pushing and shoving among the GOP’s deep roster of White House wannabes. Elbows out, folks!

That jostling becomes even more apparent when looking at politicians’ travel into Iowa, site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary season. Although Iowans do party on their own (please see: Tuesday’s Ronald Reagan Dinner for the state’s Republican Party, which features Gov. Terry Branstad and Senate candidate Joni Ernst), more times than not, fundraisers include an out-of-stater with an eye on 2016 who is looking to ingratiate himself to local party officials and donors.

On Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is slated to do just that at a family BBQ for Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann. Ernst will also attend the $25-per-plate party.

According to Party Time’s records, this is Paul’s seventh trip in 2014 to the Hawkeye State. No word on what Paul – recently dubbed “The Most Interesting Man in Politics” by Time – is planning to say at the BBQ, but we anticipate something interesting.

On Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie shuffles into Iowa for a birthday party for Branstad. But don’t let the invite’s quaint clip art fool you: This is one pricey b-day bash. Although $65 gets you into the festivities, you’ll have to shell out upwards of $25,000 for birthday cake and a prime seat. The New Jersey Republican, head of the Republican Governors Association and a likely presidential candidate, has kept a very busy party schedule this year, glad-handing donors in just about every key primary and/or swing state.

Florida heats up
With all of the compounding outside demands, running for office isn’t easy. It’s a pressure cooker of sorts, and certainly not for people who can’t keep their cool. So, when Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., initially refused to join his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, onstage for their debate because the latter had a fan under his podium, you can imagine that the Republican caught some heat for it.

Indeed, FanGate threatened to overshadow the content of the debate itself, and, silly as it may seem, it may follow Scott around in the final crucial weeks before the election. After all, Jon Stewart weighed in on the steamy situation and the Atlantic’s Molly Ball wrote a profile on the portable electronic. Like at last week’s debate, the fan isn’t going anywhere, and Scott will have to sweat it out until the controversy cools off.

You know what might help? A party, of course! Fellow Floridians Sen. Marco Rubio, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and former Gov. Jeb Bush will gather on Friday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to toast Scott and raise some serious cash for his campaign. After all of the FanGate blowback, it’ll be a breath of fresh air to spend time with supporters.

(Party Time does not apologize for the magnitude of fan-related language in the above graphs. We stand by our word choices.)

And with that, we’ve got a wrap on the week in political parties! What have we missed, and what have you heard of? Upload the goods right here, or shoot us an email.

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.06.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Barack Obama raises goop-loads of money with Gwyneth Paltrow; Joe Biden, Carole King make donors sing; Mitt Romney fundraises with Republican heavyweights; plus, a “Game of Thrones” party


Hello, party people! This week’s social calendar is a little less packed than recent weeks, but most of the parties on the books boast big names and carry a high price tag. Over here at Party Time, we like to think of that as strategic partying: If you can charge way more money at a handful of events with well-known faces, then you get to take off an afternoon or two. Treat yourself.

The fundraiser schedule this week leans to the left, but we know Republicans love a good party as much as their Democratic counterparts. Have you heard about a GOP party in the works? If you know of a fundraiser, you know what to do! Upload all of those official invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got.

And now, for your weekly dose of political partying!

Partier-in-chief parties on and on and on
President Barack Obama’s fundraising schedule has felt a little helter skelter lately, with events cropping up seemingly on the fly (please see last week’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event that we – and the White House press pool – found out about as it was happening). We know the president’s team plans everything to a T, so we are always surprised when there’s absolutely no pre-party buzz around a presidential pop-in.

But that’s about to change this week, as the fundraiser-in-chief is slated to attend five very buzzy, on-the-books parties. The most-talked-about shindig among them has to be Thursday’s reception and dinner at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Los Angeles home. Yes, the creator of Goop (it’s where she shares “all of life’s positives,” according to the lifestyle site’s About page) and the user of phrases like “conscious uncoupling” is hosting a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $32,400. It’s the second time the mega movie star has lent her name to a fundraiser invite with the prez: In 2012, she threw a dinner for Obama’s reelection campaign in London with buddies Anna Wintour and Tom Ford.

On Friday, Obama heads up the California coast for another DNC fundraiser, this one at San Francisco City Hall. PT records show that back-to-back events in moneyed, deep-blue pockets of the Left Coast is an often-repeated partying plan, but one we haven’t seen since July, when Obama did a Seattle to S.F. to L.A. cash grab.

But Obama doesn’t leave all of the partying for the end of the week. He actually starts off the fundraising fun on Tuesday with a three-in-one-day swing that takes him from New York to Connecticut.

An afternoon reception for the DNC at Chef Floyd Cardoz’s new restaurant, White Street in Tribeca, gets together some big names in Big Apple politics. Anne Hess, Craig Kaplan and Sarah and Victor Kovner, who all give loads of cash#mce_temp_url# to local and national Dems, will party with Broadway producer Margo Lion and the president. And another afternoon event, this one billed as a reception and discussion with President Barack Obama, will go down at the Manhattan home of power couple Bill White and Bryan Eure. Cash raised at the $25,000-per-person fundraiser will go straight to the DNC.

In the evening, Obama is off to Connecticut for a fundraiser at the Greenwich home of Richard and Ellen Schapps Richman. Tickets to the party for the DSCC start at $10,000, which is almost a bargain, considering the couple hosted Obama at a $30,000-per-plate fundraiser in 2010.

Whew! That’s a full week of presidential partying, if you ask us.

Joe hits the road for the ladies
The second in command gets in on the fundraising action this week with two on-the-road parties tailored for female House and Senate candidates. Get ready to gas up Air Force Two!

Vice President Joe Biden hits the money trail on Monday with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a cocktail reception for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Hollywood muckety-mucks – Fox executive Jim Gianopulos, former Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and filmmaker James L. Brooks – play host at the “When Women Succeed America Succeeds” themed event, which also features a performance by Carole King. Dust off that vinyl copy of “Tapestry” and get ready to sing along to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” (And if anyone gets a pic of Biden crooning, please-oh-please send it to your friends at Party Time.)

On Thursday, Biden hits up donors at a Seattle party for a joint fundraising committee Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell set up for female senators and candidates in tight races this year. Cash collected for Cantwell for Women in the Senate 2014 goes to Cantwell (not up for reelection until 2018, FYI), Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. Tickets cap out at $5,000.

Romney rakes it in
Mitt Romney continues to bask in his popularity, post presidential run number two. As a highly coveted figure on the campaign trail, Romney has been bouncing around the country this year, stumping for candidates in West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Colorado and Virginia. And his fundraising schedule has been crammed, too, with additional stops in New Jersey, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana.

As Romney’s calendar filled up, the questions started piling on. Is he staging a comeback, a la “the third time’s the charm”?

The former Massachusetts governor started out the year as a solid “no,” but at the end of last month, he delivered a coy “We’ll see what happens” to a reporter’s question about another run in 2016. Hmmmm.

While we can’t be sure about Romney’s future plans, we do know that he can’t seem to get enough of the partying scene. On Monday evening, he throws a New York City bash for the Republican National Committee with other GOPers just about always on the list of presidential potentials: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Big-time Romney supporter (and New York Jets owner) Woody Johnson and his wife, Suzanne, will host the party at their house, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will also attend.

That’s a lot of big-name Republicans at one get-together, so you know you’ll be writing a hefty check for some face-time. It’s a whopping $32,400 per person to attend.

On Wednesday, Romney heads to Utah to headline a private fundraiser for Mia Love, who is running for her state’s 4th District U.S. House seat. Love narrowly lost in 2012 to Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who is retiring this year. This go-around, Love faces Democrat Doug Owens. This may be her year as a recent poll has her up by 12 points and Sunlight’s Real-Time tool shows her winning the cash contest, too.

“Game of Thrones,” meet Party Time
Politicians glom onto just about anything of-the-moment to help them raise money for their campaigns. Nats game, anyone? Or perhaps a Beyoncé concert?

This week, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., takes advantage of the “Game of Thrones” craze with a fundraiser ploy around the HBO fantasy hit. The Udall camp is raffling off a chance to meet series writer George R. R. Martin during a VIP reception at the novelist’s personal theater. Loop us in if you hear of any spoilers!

And that’s a wrap, party people! Let us know if you hear of anything good going on out there!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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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 - 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 - 06.09.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Mitt Romney parties big, Sen. Mary Landrieu throws crawfish fest in D.C., and Republicans fundraise in Iowa

Hello, party people! It’s been a busy few weeks on our social calendar, with some politicians raising last-minute cash before their primary elections and others throwing down last-minute endorsements. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to political partying.

It’s a lot to keep up with, and we can always use an extra helping hand or two. When you take a look at this week’s schedule, what have we missed? Email us tips and newspaper clippings, or upload official invites right here. What have you heard about, faithful partiers? Let us know!

As we look ahead to this packed week of fundraising, the Partier-in-Chief anchors our schedule with a Wednesday event in Boston. President Barack Obama will headline a par-tay for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is slated to attend. After a busy May, Party Time counts this as Obama’s first of four fundraisers scheduled (so far) for June.

What else is on the books for the week? So glad you asked …

Republicans heart Romney
The Democratic Party knows that President Obama can still encourage donors to write fat checks. That’s why its various campaign committees continue to dispatch him to high-dollar events, even as Democratic candidates don’t seem super excited to have him campaign on their behalf.

It’s an awkward situation for Obama, and one that’s thrown into sharp relief when comparing it to the year Mitt Romney is having. Yes, the guy who unsuccessfully ran for president (twice!) is more popular – and more in demand – than the current Commander in Chief.

Romney is partying all over the place, appearing in TV ads, and, as the Daily Beast put it, he’s “batting 1,000 [sic] in the 2014 GOP primary game”: all of the candidates he endorsed this go-around have won their primaries.

The GOP-Romney love connection continues this week with two events. First, the former Massachusetts governor travels on Monday to Manhattan for a reception for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Then, on Thursday, Romney kicks off his Third Annual Policy Summit and Leadership Retreat in Park City, Utah. The three-day event features a who’s-who of Romney’s inner circle (his wife, Ann, and their son, Tagg, and his old business partner, Bob White), famous faces (the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson), potential 2016-ers (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan), and business world muckety-mucks (Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, Univision head Randy Falco).

Crawfish for cash
Sen. Mary Landrieu is in a tight race. Polls have the Louisiana Democrat a few points behind her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, and Rothenberg calls the contest a “Pure Toss-up.” Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker shows that the candidates are spending millions on their race, and outside groups have already weighed in to the tune of $2.5 million.

As she seeks her fourth term in office, Landrieu is touting her Bayou State bona fides, releasing two ads with her father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, and, as head of the Senate’s Energy Committee, slamming President Obama’s new global warming rule. This week, she’s even got a home state-themed fundraiser planned for D.C.

On Wednesday evening, Landrieu throws her 13th Annual Crawfish Fest in Capitol Hill (please-oh-please click the link for the clip art masterpiece that is this invite). Tickets start at $50 and climb to $1,000 for a plate at the soirée.

Hawking for money in the Hawkeye State
Whenever Iowa pops up on a politician’s schedule, Party Time – and political watchers everywhere – take note. As the host of the first-in-the-country caucuses, visits to Iowa often are equated with presidential ambition. And this upcoming weekend is no different.

PT counted three parties on the books in Iowa this weekend, all circling around the Republican State Convention on Saturday in Des Moines. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum – all mentioned as possible GOP White House contenders in 2016 – will each speak at the convention.

That’ll be Jindal’s second gig of the weekend. He actually kicks things off on Friday with a fundraiser for the state’s Republican Party.

And Paul is getting in on the action, too. He’s invited to a cocktail roundtable after the convention on Saturday evening. Iowa’s own Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley will all be on hand, too, to hobnob with donors. According to the Des Moines Register, the National Republican Senatorial Committee organized the party for the Iowa Victory Committee.

Get ready, Iowa. You’ve got an epic weekend of political partying ahead of you.

Corbett + Christie + cash
Gov. Tom Corbett is not doing so hot. A poll released by Quinnipiac last week showed the Republican earning low marks with voters in his home state of Pennsylvania – 55 percent of voters disapprove of his job performance and 58 percent don’t think he should get reelected. In a head-to-head matchup between Corbett and his Democratic challenger, businessman Tom Wolf, voters are going with Wolf, big time. That same poll found that Wolf topples Corbett by 20 points.

Corbett’s underdog status is catnip to Gov. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor makes his way to Philly on June 9 for a fundraiser for his fellow Republican. Christie’s Monday event is the latest in a string of well-documented party appearances by the Republican Governors Association chairman (and comes a few days before the big Park City confab with Romney intimates).

West Coast party for West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant
As the Rockefeller political dynasty cruises to its finish line – in January 2013, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he wouldn’t seek reelection – political operatives on both sides of the aisle are angling for a seat that’s been in Democratic hands since 1958. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., had her eye on the Senate position even before Rockefeller announced his retirement, but Dems didn’t have a candidate named until last fall, when former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant threw her hat into the ring.

Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker shows Capito is winning the money game, so far out-fundraising Tennant $4,347,636 to $1,746,716. Sounds like it’s time for a party! EMILY’S List and Progressive Women Silicon Valley will host Tennant Thursday evening for an expensive fundraiser in fancy-pants Portola Valley, Calif., a long way from the Mountain State. The reception will put you back at least $100, but in order to snag a seat at dinner, plan to write a check for a cool $2,600.

And that’s a wrap, you partying fiends! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload official invites right here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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PARTYFINDER™ Hints

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.