Hello, party people, and welcome to September! It’s the official start of what promises to be a very busy fall full of fundraisers for November’s midterm election. As politicians hunker down for the final stretch of their races, they’ll be asking you to dole out some serious campaign cash. It’s all about the money, honey!
Although Capitol Hill emptied out for August, Party Time’s records show that the partying did not stop when Congress hit the road for a five-week break. In fact, this was one of the busiest Augusts on the books for Party Time. We counted 135 parties last month, which clobbered last year’s tally of 89 events. It looks like the politicians just took the partying with them, hitting up supporters from sea to shining sea: Of last month’s 135 parties, only two of them took place in D.C.
Know of a fundraiser that happened last month and isn’t on our calendar? You know what to do! Upload invites right here, or email us tips or news clippings. And that, of course, goes for upcoming events, too. We want all of it! Send anything and everything right here.
The outside-the-Beltway fundraising trend continues this week, as politicians seem to want to extend that summer break as long as possible. In fact, a handful of them will pack their bags for a long weekend getaway. On Friday, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., will head back to his home state for his annual dove hunt weekend, and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., follows suit with a trip up to the Chesapeake Bay for a golf weekend. And Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., makes his way to French Lick, Ind., for a two-day golf trip with donors.
What else is on the books for this week? So glad you asked. Here’s your week in political parties!
No such thing as a free lunch
From the get-go, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t wanted for bold-named supporters. The Kentucky Senate candidate, running against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has collected cash from the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ben Affleck and partied with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Will.i.am and Bill Clinton – twice!
Given McConnell’s long tenure in the Senate and his front-and-center leadership role, Democrats are salivating at the chance to unseat him. Combine that with McConnell’s own fundraising prowess, and you’ve got a truly epic race, one that some predict will cost more than $100 million by the time the dust settles.
Grimes’ reliance on Dem heavyweights continues this week, as her campaign raffles off a D.C. lunch date with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The fundraiser sweepstakes isn’t the first time Warren has helped out Grimes, either: The two partied at back-to-back events in Kentucky at the end of June. And it’s just another example of how Warren – a liberal darling for her anti-Wall Street rhetoric – is the new “it” fundraiser for Democrats. Her partying schedule shows her bouncing from coast to coast to provide some progressive street cred to candidates and to help them raise tons of campaign cash.
Boehner brings in the bucks
Searching for an equally star-powered get-together for Republicans? Look no further than Tuesday’s early evening reception for Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, which features Speaker of the House John Boehner as the “special guest.”
It’s the latest installment of the Ohio Republican’s summertime road trip, which found him on a 14-state excursion filled with campaigning and fundraising. Boehner also huddled recently with donors and a handful of his Republican House colleagues in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where talk focused on how to pick up additional seats in the House and – you guessed it – the need for more campaign cash. (Bonus: Organizers also showed this highlight reel of sorts from Boehner’s bus tour.)
Coffman’s race, which pits him against Democrat and former state Rep. Andrew Romanoff, is one of the most closely watched this cycle, with the Rothenberg Political Report calling it out as one of the nation’s seven “Pure Toss-Up” contests in the House. And although Coffman is the one with the big-name event this week, Romanoff has gotten some support from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who headlined parties for him this July and back in August 2013.
In yet another indicator that November’s election is just around the corner, Thursday’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in New York features three headliners who can be counted on to inspire donors to cut a fat check: Pelosi, New York Rep. Steve Israel and former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, who logged a busy summer full of events for state-level party committees and a fistful of various candidates, continues to be a popular surrogate for Democrats. Thursday’s shindig is the first in what promises to be a long string of pre-midterm parties. And soon, Hillary Clinton – of will-she-or-won’t-she-in-2016 fame – will join in on the partying fun.
In the next few weeks, H. Clinton will be the featured speaker at four fundraisers, including an all-important stop in Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual (and final) Steak Fry. For those keeping track at home, yes, this will mark Clinton’s first trip to the Hawkeye State since her 2008 presidential campaign.
Before the close of summer: some BBQ and classic rock
With summer wrapping up, you can’t help but want to squeeze in as many warm weather-themed activities as possible. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is doing his part, throwing his annual Boozman & BBQ fundraiser in Little Rock. Tickets start at $60, but sponsorships cap out at $1,500.
If concerts are more in line with your idea of summer fun, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, has just the ticket – well, he actually has two of them. Braley, who is running for the open Senate seat created by Harkin’s retirement against Republican Joni Ernst, is raffling off a pair of seats to Saturday night’s Eagles concert in Des Moines. We can’t decide between a play on “Take it to the Limit” or “The Last Resort,” so maybe it’s just better to let it go.
And that’s a wrap, party people! Know of anything good going on out there? Send whatever you’ve got right here.Tweet
Hello party people! We’ve got another busy week of political parties on the books over here at Party Time. But, as has been the case during the past few weeks, our social calendar skews heavily blue, with Democrats from all over getting in on the fundraising game.
Since we know the GOP does just as much fundraising as its counterpart, our only question is: What are the details?! Send us anything and everything – news clippings, hot gossip, attendee lists, luncheon menus, etc. – right here, or share those invites with our confidential upload feature. Don’t be shy!
Now let’s get to the week in political parties.
Obamas continue to go big on party circuit
Cue the ’80s dance party mix because President Barack Obama just can’t seem to get enough of … fundraising!
That’s right, folks, the partier-in-chief is back at it again, with another three-day swing packed with parties. He’s hitting up donors on the Left Coast this week, stopping briefly in Washington state before cruising through California. According to PT’s running tally, these latest get-togethers make for 41 Obama-headlined parties in 2014.
First up is a quick stop in Seattle, where Obama is slated to appear Tuesday at a reception for the Democratic National Committee. He’ll spend the afternoon at a private home with about 250 guests, according to the Seattle Times. He’ll then fly down to San Francisco, where he’ll spend the night and prep for a full day of partying in the Golden State.
Wednesday’s fundraising fun gets started with an afternoon event at the Los Altos Hills home of Judy and George Marcus. The couple runs a family foundation, and George Marcus is an ex-UC Regent who counts former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as buddies.
Pelosi – as well as Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. – will be on hand with Obama to gin up support among the wealthy donors able to shell out $10,000 for lunch and a photo. But if you are more in the mood for a “VIP photo,” get ready to cut a check for $32,400 per couple. (And get ready to explain the difference between a photo and a VIP photo, too – inquiring Party Time minds want to know!)
After that event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama cruises over to a party in San Francisco for the House Majority PAC. That’s the super PAC working to get Democrats elected to the House, and the group responsible for some mega ad buys for the midterm elections.
The prez then hits the tarmac for the short flight down to Los Angeles, where he headlines a reception and dinner for the DNC. Hollywood heavyweights (and “Scandal” chums) Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes serve as hosts at the fundraiser, which will be held at Rhimes’ L.A. home. (Incidentally, Rhimes recently told a press gaggle that her sister, a party planner by trade, is handling all of the nitty-gritties because “those are not things that ever interest me.”)
A bit of extra hubbub recently popped up around this party when CharityBuzz.com set up an auction for a chance to meet Obama at the fundraiser. But the DNC asked the website to call off the bidding war – and then decided to raffle off a ticket to the fundraiser.
Thursday morning, Obama sticks around in L.A. to squeeze in one more fundraiser, a $32,400-per-person roundtable discussion. The party, held at the home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and his model/actress wife Jolene, benefits the DNC and is limited to 30 guests.
Not to be outdone, the first lady will chip in with some fundraising of her own on Thursday. Michelle Obama travels to her native Chicago for a DNC fundraiser at downtown’s spiffy Waldorf Astoria. Thursday also happens to be the Windy City stop on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour, which means that, as the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out, concertgoers should definitely keep their eyes peeled for M. Obama. She’s an outspoken fan and friend of the music power couple, and took the first daughters to a Queen Bey concert last year.
Sin City shenanigans
Nevada’s 3rd District House race is heating up, and Party Time’s got a pair of back-to-back fundraisers to prove it.
Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican who has represented the Las Vegas suburbs since 2010, will face off against Democrat Erin Bilbray come November. Bilbray runs a health care nonprofit with her husband, got a nod from abortion rights group Emily’s List, and is part of the Democrats’ Jumpstart Program, which targets especially promising candidates in winnable districts.
Despite these Dem bona fides in her swing district, a May poll showed that Bilbray lacked name recognition among Vegas voters, even though they preferred her platform. But you know what can get your name out there? Partying with one Joe “BFD” Biden.
On Wednesday afternoon, the VP headlines a campaign rally for Bilbray at Kona Ice, known for its shaved ice and do-goodery. If this event doesn’t produce multiple gif-worthy moments – Biden with sugary desserts in Las Vegas, people! – we don’t know what will.
And that’s the second big-name fundraiser in two days for Bilbray. On Tuesday, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also the head of the DNC, throws a Women for Bilbray event at a Las Vegas law firm.
Dems in D.C.
For the few Democratic donors not already tied up with political parties during this busy week, don’t fret: You can hit up Eric Lesser’s fundraiser in downtown D.C.
Lesser – a member of Team Obama since the early days of 2007 and who started the tradition of marking the seder at the White House – is running for a state Senate seat in his old stomping grounds of western Massachusetts. The Harvard Law grad, who is also a consultant on HBO’s “Veep,” has friends in high places and he’s not afraid to use them. The invite to Wednesday evening’s party name checks a fistful of Obama whisperers: David Axelrod, Andrew Bleeker, Stephanie Cutter, Shomik Dutta, Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, Ben LaBolt, Reggie Love, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Jim Messina, Jennifer O’Maley Dillon, Patrick Dillon, David Plouffe, Pete Rouse, Erik Smith, Julianna Smoot, Jake Levine, Buffy Wicks and Abby Witt. Whew!
A few of our favorite things: BBQ, beer, bourbon … and ice cream!
With a week full of luncheons, receptions and roundtable discussions, two parties stand out for their creative calls for campaign cash.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., throws his Smoked ’n’ Oaked: A Celebration of Virginia’s Best Barbecue, Bourbon, and Beer party on Tuesday evening, with tickets starting at $100 and capping out at $1,000. The shindig goes down at law firm Jones Day on New Jersey Avenue, since nothing says authentic BBQ like a rooftop garden in the heart of Capitol Hill.
A few blocks away on Wednesday evening, a different rooftop will play host to an ice cream social for Sen. Patrick Leahy. This is a regular event for the Vermont Democrat, who is stockpiling cash for his 2016 reelection race. The invite, which features those famous Grateful Dead bears, claims that “Senator Leahy is looking forward to an evening surrounded by friends, Grateful Dead tunes, Magic Hat Beer, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.” These are good ingredients for an eventful evening, folks.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Here we are, party people, deep into June of a midterm election year, which can only mean one thing: as the humidity keeps climbing, so does the tally of political fundraisers.
Local and federal politicians are busy bees this week, partying all over the map, from New York to Colorado to Utah to Iowa. But even in the midst of this far-and-wide fundraising, one invite did manage to catch our eye and pique our interest. Illinois Rep. Bill Foster – Democrat by affiliation, physicist by trade – wants his donors to learn the art and physics of trapeze during a fundraiser event on June 25. Details are scarce, but we do know that tickets run from $500 to $5,000 for this D.C. event.
And that leads right into our regular Party Time refrain: Send us the goods! If you’ve heard of an event or have an official invite, email us or use our handy (and confidential) upload feature. If you know of extra details – dinner menus! Attendee lists! Pictures! – send them right here.
And now, for your week in parties.
Cash for cocktails
Before her last fundraiser, Alison Lundergan Grimes promised to talk to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., about coal and fossil fuels. But as the Kentucky Senate candidate and the Majority Leader partied at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Grimes never said the word “coal,” according to leaked audio from the event.
While political insiders are trying to ferret out the source of the leak, Grimes preps for another high-dollar fundraiser, this one at the see-and-be-seen Waverly Inn in Manhattan’s West Village. Monday’s cocktail party gives Grimes some face time with well-heeled donors who can shell out $2,600 per person, as well as hosts/mega Dem donors/Hollywood heavyweights Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harvey Weinstein. Katzenberg last hosted a fundraiser for Grimes in January in Los Angeles, but PT data show this is Weinstein’s first shindig for the Kentuckian.
Dems celebrate July Fourth in June
Democrats may have the majority in the Senate, but it’s a razor-thin margin. Number crunchers posit that the GOP can gain control, making those tight races (see: Louisiana, Colorado, Arkansas, etc.) even more crucial for Dems to hold onto.
Enter the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the group tasked with keeping the Senate in the blue column. And in order to accomplish that, everyone knows that means one thing: get ready for some fundraisers! According to PT’s records, the DSCC has benefited from 12 parties in 2014, and, perhaps more importantly, often boasts big-name attendees like President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
On Tuesday evening, the group keeps up the partying (but minus any specific special guests) with a decidedly Americana get-together on the grounds of Capitol Hill’s Mott House. The Fourth of July is still a few days away, but no matter – the DSCC is throwing an Independence Day Summer BBQ, with tickets going for $1,000 to $2,000 a pop.
Obama parties in Minneapolis
The DSCC’s counterpart for the House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has an even harder job this cycle, seeing as Democrats need to snag 17 seats to get a majority. President Obama also vowed to help the DCCC’s fundraising efforts, headlining a handful of pricey parties this year in the hopes of inspiring deep-pocketed donors to write fat checks.
Come Thursday evening, there’s another partying opportunity for the DCCC. Obama bundlers Sylvia and Sam Kaplan – he founded law firm Kaplan Strangis & Kaplan P.A. in 1978, and was Obama’s ambassador to Morocco in 2009 – are hosting an expensive reception and dinner at their Minneapolis home, where donors can throw down as much as $32,400 per couple. Obama, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel will all be on hand to gin up support for House Dems.
Granite State GOPers throw two part-ays
The Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 2nd District House race pits a retired Marine against a harpist, and yes, you read that right.
Marilinda Garcia, musician-turned-professor-turned-state-representative-turned-U.S.-House-candidate, is getting nods from across the Republican spectrum. The Republican National Committee named her a “rising star” last year, ShePAC endorsed her in May, and the Club for Growth just announced it was backing her run. Jarhead (he’s still in the Marine Reserves) Gary Lambert, a former state senator and small business owner, has support from veterans’ groups, but isn’t getting the same kind of national attention that Garcia is. But Sunlight’s Influence Explorer tool shows that, so far, Lambert is winning the money race: He has almost $200,000 more cash on hand than Garcia.
The two candidates are hoping to bump up their bottom lines this week with a pair of fundraisers. Lambert will be partying at the Nashua Country Club Wednesday evening, with tickets capping out at $3,500 per person. On Saturday, Jerry Gappens, the VP of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, throws a shindig at his racetrack for Garcia.
Lambert and Garcia will face of in September’s primary, with the winner going up against Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, a first-term Democrat who was a state-level lobbyist before coming to Capitol Hill. Politico recently reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee will target Kuster and 16 other House Democrats in an $18 million ad buy this fall.
Tea party parties on
Last, but certainly not least, is a Thursday evening party for the Sevier County Tea Party. The Tennessee-based group is throwing an America’s Last Stand get-together headlined by former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Rep. Allen West, former Sen. Rick Santorum, various media personalities, and this bald eagle. The forecast calls for rain, but no worries: Organizers moved the party from a stadium to the Sevierville Convention Center.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Happy Monday, party people! It’s another busy week on the political fundraiser circuit, with big-ticket shindigs happening across the country. Some non-D.C. highlights? Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is partying with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday at a huge convention center in Greenville. And Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes throws a funder in Ohio with Democratic operative James Carville a few days after her state’s Republican candidates duke it out in their primary.
Back in D.C., at the Convention Center on Wednesday evening, the Aces and Angels Foundation hosts the always-bipartisan Congressional Poker Classic, where members of Congress, lobbying shops and other organizations will gather for a night of cards. Curious what California Rep. Darrell Issa’s poker face looks like? Now’s your chance!
Have we missed anything, partying fiends? If you’ve heard of something good going on, you know what to do – email us whatever you’ve got, or upload official invites here. We want it all: Send us the goods on state-level races and federal contests, and remember that we keep our sources completely confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.
And now, for your week in parties!
President Obama, aka the Energizer Fundraising Bunny
The Partier-in-Chief just can’t help himself. In the last few weeks, President Barack Obama has been hitting the partying scene hard, fundraising at seven different stops in California and New York (where he suggested that some of his devotees might move to North Dakota) for the Democrats’ House and Senate campaign committees. And Obama’s hectic schedule continues this week, with two more pricey outings.
On Monday, Obama – along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. – makes his way to Potomac for an “intimate dinner.” Tickets start at $10,000 per person and climb to $32,400 per couple for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event. Party Time data show that the dinner’s hosts, Lora and Jeff Drezner, threw a fundraiser for Van Hollen in 2011.
Obama will then jet off to his hometown of Chicago on Thursday for a reception and dinner benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That group’s chair, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, will be on hand to help chat up donors, as will Illinois’ own Sen. Dick Durbin.
It’s another high-dollar event, with tickets to the reception starting at $1,000 and going up to $15,000. The 5 p.m. reception is at the home of energy industry guru Michael Polsky and his wife, Tanya. Dinner, at the home of Newsweb Corporation owner and big-time liberal donor Fred Eychaner, goes for a cool $35,000 per couple.
Ring my bell
The last few weeks of political headlines have had a bit of a throwback theme to them – Monica Lewinsky wrote a first-person account of her affair with President Bill Clinton, and Marjorie Margolies is ramping up her campaign for the House seat she held in the ’90s.
Jeff Bell continues the trend, if pushing back the nostalgia a few more years to the late ’70s, when he last ran for Senate in New Jersey. The Republican is making another go at Capitol Hill, challenging Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., some 36 years after his first – and unsuccessful – run in the Garden State.
In February, Bell – a Republican political consultant who lives in Virginia – rented a house in New Jersey and announced he would run against Booker this year. And we all know what that means: It’s time for a party! PT records show Monday evening’s funder in Manhattan is Bell’s first of this campaign.
Booker is a fundraising powerhouse, with the likes of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck queuing up to throw him parties. But Bell’s got connections, too; CNBC personality Larry Kudlow is listed as a “special guest” on the invite to Monday’s event. Hosts Sean Fieler, Robert P. George and William Mumma are all big names on the conservative Christian scene: Fieler started American Principles Fund, which encourages Republican candidates to talk about opposition to abortion and gay marriage; the New York Times called George the “country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker”; and Mumma heads up the Becket Fund, a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.
Money for Martinez
Republicans are rallying on Wednesday evening at a fundraiser for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. An overflowing invite to the event boasts a boatload of governors, senators, representatives … and lobbyists.
The reception is at the Chevy Chase home of American Beverage Association CEO Susan Neely. Neely and her soft drink lobbying outfit will co-host the event with, among others, Artemis Strategies founder Ari Storch, BGR Group founder (and former governor) Haley Barbour and BGR lobbyist Loren Monroe.
One governor missing from the list of notable attendees? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who, as the Washington Post pointed out, has gotten some post-bridgegate support from Martinez. Don’t read too much into his absence, though, since the Garden State head honcho will headline a New Mexico fundraiser for Martinez next week.
Jeb Bush + Iowa + Florida = 2016?? (Maybe.)
Like many other politicians called out as possible 2016 contenders, Jeb Bush is still playing the will-he-won’t-he game. Although he won’t say for sure what his plans are, Politico reported last month that Bush told the crowd at a Catholic Charities fundraiser that he is “thinking about running for president.” His comment came right in the middle of a spate of spring fundraisers that had the former Florida governor rubbing elbows with donors and party operatives.
It continues on Thursday, when Bush throws a party in Coral Gables for Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa. It’s a savvy tip of the hat to the primary voters in the Hawkeye State, all without leaving the sunny shores of South Florida.
And that just about wraps up your week in political fundraisers, party animals! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Party people, we’ve got another packed schedule of fundraisers upon us. Looks like Congress is taking advantage of its week away from Washington to shake the money tree in warmer locales: Texas, Arizona, California and Florida are all on the calendar. These politicians sure do know how to make the best of their time off the clock.
The one exception to the outside-of-the-District trend is Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day Fete in Fairfax on Monday. According to Party Time’s data, this is the second themed St. Paddy’s Day shindig on the books this year. But there must be more happening out there – after all, no self-respecting politician would pass up the opportunity to use a cute leprechaun with a pot of gold as a means to inspire campaign contributions! If you’ve heard of anything good, you know what to do: Send those invites and newspaper clippings here.
Now, it’s time to hit the road for this week in parties!
President Obama: Florida fundraising (and golfing?)
The Partier-in-Chief will join Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., DCCC head Steve Israel and Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation for a fundraiser in Miami on Thursday evening.
The cocktail reception and dinner will take place at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, who has also been known to join President Obama on the golf course. A few weeks ago, while on a family vacation in Key Largo, Obama hit the links with Mourning, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad and Cyrus Walker, Valerie Jarrett’s cousin. We can’t imagine that the president won’t take advantage of the sunshine and Florida’s omnipresent golf courses on this trip, either.
But wait, this just in: Late Friday night, Party Time learned that President Obama will attend a second fundraiser in Miami on Thursday for the DNC. He’s also the headliner for a DNC funder on Tuesday in D.C., but this is all we know about either event. If you’ve got details, please share! Email us, or upload an official invite here.
Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa … again
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may enjoy reading about Dr. Seuss’s take on breakfast foods, but on Tuesday, the freshman senator will have a plate full of sweets and goodies at a fundraiser in Mason City, Iowa. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Cruz are both slated to attend a Dessert Reception for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans in yet another indicator that the Texan is laying the groundwork for a run at the GOP presidential nomination. The next presidential election may be 32 months away, but it’s never too soon to buddy up with voters in Iowa, perennial site of the first-in-the-country caucuses.
Since the Iowa caucuses provide an important initial go-around for candidates vying to be president, getting in good with the state’s party leadership is always a wise first step. Cruz learned that one early, with our PT records showing he first hit up the Hawkeye State six months after being sworn in. Then it was last October’s Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner in Des Moines, followed by that memorable weekend Pheasant Hunt with Rep. King.
Need another sign Cruz has 2016 on the brain? The next fundraiser PT has on his schedule is the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire, the state with the first presidential primary.
Ted Cruz, you are one savvy partier.
McConnell in sunny SoCal
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to party on Wednesday afternoon with Christian conservative heavyweights in Southern California. The fundraiser, first reported by the Washington Examiner, will be hosted by California insurance executive John Nelson and Salem Communications CEO Edward Atsinger.
Atsinger’s Salem is a mega communications firm that specializes in evangelical Christian and conservative websites, like TownHall.com and HotAir.com, and radio shows hosted by the likes of Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt. In January, the Salem family got bigger when it gobbled up Eagle Publishing, which produced RedState.com and HumanEvents.com.
That move consolidated a significant chunk of right-leaning media outlets and personalities under one organizational umbrella, making a fundraiser with the organization’s head an efficient tip o’ the hat to voters in Kentucky wary of McConnell’s conservative bona fides. (And, might we add, Republican funders on the fence about doling out some dough to the Senate’s minority leader.)
Although polls have McConnell way ahead of his from-the-right primary challenger, Matt Bevin, the longtime senator is still neck-and-neck with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. So, bring on the bucks! Wednesday’s fundraiser, headlined by Prager and Hewitt, costs $15,200 per person or $30,400 per couple.
Cash for Crist
Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist continues to beef up his new left-leaning bona fides. On Wednesday evening, he will hobnob with the gay elite of South Florida at a fundraiser at the home of Dean Trantalis, the first openly gay member of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. According to the invitation, other hosts include Michael Albetta, a leader in the state’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus, and Norman Kent, the publisher of South Florida Gay News.
The fundraiser provides another opportunity for Crist to make nice with Florida’s LGBT community. While he was Florida’s governor from 2006-2010 – and had an “R” after his name – Crist supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But two years after moving out of the governor’s mansion, Crist changed his party affiliation and his position on marriage equality, even going so far as to apologize for supporting the amendment.
This is Crist’s second fundraising event Florida’s LGBT heavy-hitters. In January, Crist had a reception at Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean’s Winter Park home, where tickets started at $250 and went up to $10,000.
Weekend getaways + funders
A day away from D.C. is great, but why not turn that trip into a weekend getaway if you possibly can? Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., heeds that advice and heads to Las Vegas for a Spa Weekend Trip with a price tag of $1,500 for individuals or $2,500 for PACs. By the way, we trust Wagner’s intuition when it comes to a weekend of relaxation and luxury. She was, after all, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg during President George W. Bush’s second term.
If you’re more in the mood for a go-go-go weekend, the Americans for Spring Training trip has you covered. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., will converge in Orlando for a weekend full of spring training baseball games and a day at Walt Disney World.
But ever since Party Time heard about Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp weekend in Palm Beach, we couldn’t get it out of our heads. Not only is the invite priceless, we are beyond intrigued to learn about what goes down at West event that combines bow ties and camo. If you have any details – seriously, anything – send it right here.
Photo credit: Wikimedia CommonsTweet
That’s certainly on Congress’s mind this week, even if it’s just a distraction from yet another looming budget battle. In fact, the Republican leader of the budget negotiations, Rep. Paul Ryan, will start out the week shaking the (palm) trees for cash in the Sunshine State. According to St. Petersblog, Ryan will breakfast Monday in the Orlando area with Republican supporters and members of Congress at the home of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. The same day, Ryan is also slated to headline a $500-per-person fundraiser for Rep. Steve Southerland in Panama City, Fla.
Fundraising swing with Carl
The week of Thanksgiving, we pointed out how the partier-in-chief, a.k.a. President Barack Obama, was going on a fundraising tear along the West Coast, headlining seven parties in three days in Seattle and California. Party Time is similarly impressed with Carl DeMaio’s upcoming cross-country fundraising spree. (Hey, it’s hard work and somebody’s got to do it.)
DeMaio, a gay fiscal conservative whose campaign materials tout him as a “new generation Republican,” served on the San Diego City Council for one term before losing to former Rep. Bob Filner in the 2012 mayor’s race (and we all know how that turned out). But DeMaio isn’t interested in jumping into the special election to replace the scandal-plagued Filner; instead, DeMaio is looking to oust Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in 2014.
The San Diego race will be one to watch, and DeMaio is viewed as a potential star within the GOP. But last week, Politico reported a dustup within the party about whether or not the National Republican Congressional Committee should throw its support – and dollars – behind gay candidates.
But that’s not stopping DeMaio from hitting up the fundraising circuit: PT counts 25 scheduled fundraisers for DeMaio from June 2013 to next February, including this week’s tour. After hosting a champagne brunch at his San Diego home over the weekend, DeMaio hops over to Dallas for an evening reception on Monday. Then it’s off to New York City on Tuesday for a Log Cabin Republican event with fellow gay GOP candidate Richard Tisei, who is running to unseat Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass. And on Wednesday, DeMaio hits up D.C. donors with an evening reception.
Busy morning at Hotel George
The Hotel George is a popular fundraising spot – it’s swanky, it’s within spitting distance of the Capitol, and it’s getting a makeover. Come Wednesday morning, it’s the site of two separate breakfast fundraisers for Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.
Enyart recently made it official that he’d be running for reelection in 2014, but our Party Time data and Real-Time filings indicate he never really stopped raising campaign cash since arriving on the Hill earlier this year. On Wednesday, he’ll benefit from the fundraising pull of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, who is the “special guest” at the $1,000-plus breakfast.
That’s also the price tag for Speier’s funder, happening at the same time and at the same place. We suggest checking out what the Northern California native orders at her Winter Wonderland Breakfast Reception – in September, she brought a cooked steak, a bottle of vodka and a can of caviar to the House floor during a speech about food stamps and congressional food and travel expenses. Know what’s on the menu Wednesday, or any other good details? Share here.
Meeting up with Mitch
On Monday night, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell is slated to attend an evening reception at the Bethesda home of Bruce and Leslie Lane. The event is billed as a “Washington Area Pro-Israel Reception” and lists 15 new-to-PT hosts.
The Kentucky Republican is fending off tea party challenger Matt Bevin in the primary as well as looking ahead to the general election, most likely against the well-funded Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Bluegrass and big bucks
Tickets start at $50 for the fundraiser benefiting the Virginia Democrat’s 2014 reelection campaign. Although Warner remains popular and isn’t facing numerous challengers, he’s still shoring up support. Ken Cuccinelli, who recently lost the Virginia governor’s race to Terry McAuliffe, told the Washington Post it would be “tempting” to run against Warner next year. Expect plenty more barbecue if that comes to fruition.
Holiday happenings with Allen West
Florida’s fiery conservative Allen West may not be running for office, but he’s not far from the fundraising game. On Friday night at St. Jude Catholic Church in Boca Raton, the former GOP congressman headlines a holiday party, complete with a buffet dinner and holiday music. Proceeds from the $75-per-person event (or $1,000 to sit at West’s table) go to his namesake foundation. (And if this video is any indication, you are in for a rollicking good time.)
West’s leadership PAC, which works to elect more conservatives “in the same vein as Allen West,” also continues to rake in the dough, bringing in more than $1.3 million during the first half of this year. The PAC recently backed four candidates for the 2014 races, and 10 more endorsements are expected.
Florida football fun
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is betting a sports fan or two will plunk down some serious cash for a weekend-long retreat to watch the Dolphins-Patriots game with him. This isn’t the first time Deutch has spiced up a fundraising event; although he’s had his fair share of receptions and luncheons, he also hit up a Heat-Wizards game a few years ago and a Pink concert at the Verizon Center last spring.
What else is happening out there, partiers? Keep us posted.
Photo credit: Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Good morning, partiers! Still feeling sleepy from all of that turkey and Black Friday shopping? Well, pour yourself another cup of coffee and get ready for some fundraising festivities because it’s going to be a busy December – we’ve counted 44 parties on the books so far, and most are during the first two weeks. We are certain more shindigs are brewing out there, so, as always, let us know what we’re missing.
If you are in the mood for some holiday-themed gatherings, you’re in luck. On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., will have an Italian-Style Holiday Reception while Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., is throwing a Holiday Wine Tasting at Sonoma Wine Bar. ’Tis the season.
This upcoming weekend, Republicans will be busy raising some cash in the Big Apple and Virginia. Florida’s Alex Sink will be in D.C. Wednesday for an event headlined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Alison Lundergan Grimes will hit up her home state for contributions today.
Grimes goes for some (more) green
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t wanted for national attention since announcing in July that she was running to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Grimes, Kentucky’s current Secretary of State, benefits from family connections her father cultivated as the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, including the deep-pocketed network of the ever-present Clintons.
To wit: Grimes has been gallivanting across the U.S. collecting campaign cash. And lots of it. According to the most recent filings on our Real-Time Tracker, Grimes brought in more than $2.5 million during the third quarter, out-raising McConnell, who collected just shy of $2.3 million. Democratic fundraiser extraordinaire Jeffrey Katzenberg raised money for her in Los Angeles in September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., headlined a Las Vegas luncheon in October, and Hillary Clinton’s bestie, Susie Tompkins Buell, hosted Grimes in San Francisco a few days before Halloween.
Grimes also got a shout-out from First Lady Michelle Obama during a New York City fundraiser for Senate Democrats a few weeks ago. But perhaps in a nod to the president’s sinking approval ratings, Grimes took a step back from any perceived chumminess with the White House. “Listen, I did not have any conversations or interactions with the First Lady,” Grimes told a Louisville news station. “I was there as part of a women’s policy conference.”
Come Monday, it’s all about her home state. Grimes heads to the northern Kentucky community of Hebron for a fundraiser at a private home. According to PT’s data, it’s the third time she’s tapped Kentucky-based donors so far. Anybody know of more? Stuff those invites, newspaper clippings, swell party mementoes right here.
Collecting cash with Christie
Gov. Chris Christie, the newly minted head of the Republican Governors Association, has lined up two parties at the end of this week in deep red territory. Christie is lending his fundraising clout to events benefiting Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.
Fallin made headlines last month when she weighed in on the military’s compliance with the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. She joined four other states when she ordered state-owned National Guard bases to stop handling applications for all military spouse benefits in order to keep gay couples from getting any. Instead, all related paperwork must go through one of the state’s four federally owned outlets (which Stephen Colbert had a field day with). Fallin cited Oklahoma’s 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in her announcement, stating that the new policy “protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.”
So, basically, Fallin could use some fundraising fun. She’ll be celebrating her birthday (No. 59) with Christie at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday evening. We suggest a second piece of cake (just not wedding cake).
On Friday, Christie heads to the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho to a fundraiser for Otter. As Republicans continue to debate Christie’s conservative bona fides, he’ll stumble into a governor’s race that’s starting to look a lot like other GOP contests. The two-term governor just got wind of a Republican challenger in the form of State Sen. Russ Fulcher. According to the Idaho Statesman, Fulcher was hobnobbing with his state’s tea partiers in the week leading up to his announcement.
Big names, big bucks
Florida’s Alex Sink, will be getting lots of love from all sorts of bold-named Democrats at her Wednesday night fundraiser in D.C. Expected to attend: Pelosi, and other members of the House Democratic leadership team — Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, James Clyburn of South Carolina, Steve Israel of New York — along with the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and the rest of Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation. They’ll be putting their collective weight behind Sink’s effort to win a March 11 special election for the Tampa Bay House seat that the late Rep. Bill Young, a Republican, occupied for more than four decades. Of course, all those Democrats will be asking you for some money.
Sink is viewed as a potential Democratic star: After working in the banking industry, Sink pinged around Florida’s state government halls, first as the treasurer of the State Board of Administration and then as the state’s chief financial officer. In 2010, she ran for governor against Rick Scott and lost by one percentage point.
The race to replace Young, who died in October, promises to be tight, and already has both sides talking – Democrats were quick to praise Sink’s decision, and Republicans pounced as soon as she made her announcement.
No weekend plans? Want to part-ay with the Republican Party? You’ve got options: Both Virginia and New York City are hosting GOP fundraisers this weekend.
At the Omni Resort in Hot Springs, Virginian Republicans will meet up to debrief about the 2013 election and to start strategizing for next year. The invite promises workshops, receptions, luncheons – and Gov. Rick Perry. The Texan is slated to speak at the Saturday night black-tie gala. We’d suggest wearing cowboy boots with your tux, but you might be the only one; Perry has been leaving his on the shelf as he two-steps back into national politics, including during a recent stop in all-important Iowa.
But if you prefer to party in the big city, the National Republican Congressional Committee get-together may be more your style. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual Bright Lights and Broadway Regional Meeting for members of its “steering committee” is in Manhattan this weekend. For an annual membership of a mere $10,000, committee members get things like email updates, issue briefings with Republican leaders and invites to other regional events. What a deal.
Those are the highlights of this busy week, partiers. What have we missed? Let us know!
Photo credit: Flickr, via Holly OcchipintiTweet
The country’s number one and number two are hoping to cash in on some major donors’ feelings of holiday-induced goodwill on Monday and Tuesday. President Barack Obama is slated to attend four fundraisers in California, and Vice President Joe Biden will lunch with fellow Dems in downtown Chicago.
Obama is making the most of his West Coast travels. On Sunday, he attended a $20,000-per-person “discussion” at the home of philanthropists/Zumiez creator Sonya and Tom Campion in Seattle. Then, Obama hit up donors at former Microsoft exec and art aficionado Jon Shirley’s Seattle home during a $32,400-per-couple event. Obama raised money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., at the art collector’s mansion, which happens to be a few doors down from Bill Gates’ 48,000-square-foot charmer. Here’s hoping that this time the prez remembered Shirley’s name – when he hosted a $35,800-per-couple brunch in 2011, Obama apparently referred to Shirley as “Mark.” Now that’s what we call awkward.
Come Monday, it’s time to schmooze with deep-pocketed Democratic supporters in California. First stop: the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco for a lunch benefiting the Democratic National Committee.
The president has been a money magnet throughout his busy fundraising schedule, which made last week’s news about reduced ticket prices to the Bay Area event all the more surprising. Entry to the luncheon originally started at $1,000 and went up to $15,000, but the SF Gate reported that the first-level tickets were slashed to $500 and “organizers are even making deals on some of the $15,000 tickets to the reception with the president, with prices dropping to as low as $10,000.” Is this a case of donor fatigue, or maybe just a post-Thanksgiving Day sale come early?
Then Obama hits the L.A. pad of Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, for a reception. (Quick game of hoops in the backyard, anyone?) The former Laker and Showtime star has been in the news recently, talking with Anderson Cooper about his HIV diagnosis in 1991 and his recently out gay son.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Pelosi will be on hand at the Johnsons’ home for the $2,500- to $15,000-per-person event. The DCCC also set up a lottery so people could sign up for free to win a seat at the event – or, if you read the fine print, you could make a hefty contribution and then enter the lottery. Which feels counterintuitive to the whole “win a free trip” thing, but we digress.
Come dinnertime, Obama will head to the home of billionaire media mogul Haim Saban. Saban is tight with the Clintons – he backed Hillary in the 2008 primaries, and reportedly was so upset when she lost that he considered supporting the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, in the general election – and has been critical of Obama’s approach to Israel. He contributes significantly to Democrats, but has never hosted an event for Obama.
Back in October, the event’s organizers were hoping to have the $32,400-per-couple shindig at Saban’s Beverly Hills mansion, and turns out, the partier-in-chief got his way.
Tuesday morning finds Obama at “Friends” creator Marta Kauffman’s home for a roundtable discussion. This funder is a long time coming: It was rescheduled twice, first from a September event that the White House put off due to the crisis in Syria and then from an October event with First Lady Michelle Obama that was scratched because of the government shutdown. Hopefully everyone can make up for lost opportunities with plenty of coffee drinking and as many “Friends” references as possible.
The VP is no slouch when it comes to fundraising, which we learned when checking out his recent party schedule. On Monday, Biden heads to downtown Chicago for a luncheon for Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. Tickets start at $2,500 and go up to $37,600 per person.
After playing coy about running for reelection, Durbin decided to go for it in 2014. State Sen. Jim Oberweis recently said he’s looking to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP primary, but, according to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Republican leaders are suggesting he do some “soul-searching” first, citing previous controversial statements he’s made during campaigns.
That’s a whirlwind few days of fundraising, so let’s all agree to take off Thursday and Friday for turkey, football and bargain hunting. Catch you on the flip side, partiers.
(P.S. What funders are we missing? Drop us a line and let us know!)
Photo credit: FlickrTweet
Massive DCCC event to celebrate Pelosi: Members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and their hosts will be flood New York City’s Palace Hotel on Monday for a conference and luncheon in honor of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s 25 years of service in Congress. The event will feature Pelosi, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, more than 20 members of Congress, along with nine female congressional candidates from across the country. Tickets range from $250 to $30,800.
Prepping for St. Paddy’s Day: Although the official day for celebrating is a little more than a week away, that isn’t stopping some of the nation’s lawmakers from having Irish-themed parties. Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., starts off this trend with his annual Sushi & Shamrocks Fest (and 50th birthday celebration) on Tuesday. Tickets for this event are $250 per person and $1,000 per PAC.
Also on Tuesday, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., will be having an Early Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration at the Associated General Contractors Townhouse. Tickets range from $250 to $2,000.
Rooney trying to regain ground: Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., who will be running for reelection in new territory after being displaced by redistricting, will be the beneficiary of two fundraisers, both Tuesday. The first event is an 8:30 breakfast at Bullfeathers, hosted by the College for American Pathologists PAC, with tickets ranging from $500 to $2,000. A few hours afterwards, an equally priced lunch will be held in his honor.
WSN going Cross Country: The Women’s Senate Network this week holds four events in different locations across the nation. On Friday, the network will be hosting a lunch in Denver. That same evening, there will also be a WSN reception in Los Angeles.
The Getaways: Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., hosts his Big Sky Winter Weekend at the Big Sky Resort in Montana beginning Friday. Prices range from $1,500 to $3,000.
On the opposite side of the nation, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., will throw a Spring Getaway Weekend in Naples, Fla. to benefit the Heartland Values PAC .
Also in Florida, next Saturday and Sunday, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., will be kicking off his Spring Training Weekend in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets for this event start at $1,000.Tweet
The presence of five chiefs of staff to House Democratic leaders is a main attraction for an “after party” fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tomorrow night, according to an invitation obtained by Party Time.
Headlining the event are the chiefs of staff to Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., Jim Himes, D-Conn., Richard Neal, D-Mass., John Carney, D-Del., and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., all leaders of the DCCC.
The participation of top aides in fundraisers has raised questions about the boundary between members’ campaigns and official staff, in light of the House Committee on Ethics decision in January to clear Crowley and two other lawmakers of any ethical violation around financial reform legislation. Crowley’s chief of staff, Kate Winkler — who is listed as a host tomorrow — was featured repeatedly in the report, sometimes receiving emails from lobbyists responding to fundraiser invitations.
Neither Winkler nor three of the other chiefs of staff — Jason Cole, Elizabeth Hart and Jack Pratt — were immediately available for comment. Ann Jablon, the top aide to Neal, wrote in an email that she would not attend because she will be busy taking care of her four children.
One lobbyist, who did not want his name published, said he was not bothered that the chiefs of staff are the main draw to the event.
“You don’t see them often on flyers, but they are such a central presence in fundraising phone calls and emails that it does not surprise or even bother me much. In many cases the [chief of staff] is at least as important a connect as the member herself or himself,” he wrote in an email.
He also wrote that the event, which asks donors for a mere $100 and features “The Peach Pit DJ Dance Party” at a Capitol Hill bar, is attempting to “inculcate [young Democrats] into the giving routine with the $100 price tag.”
“With staff instead of Member names on the invitation, it sounds more like a party that a rich kid would throw at home when his parents are in the Bahamas,” he wrote.
The after party follows a high roller “Spring PAC Reception” at Union Station, where, for $15,000, PACs can send four representatives to the event. Headlining the invitation are Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and four of the top aides’ bosses, except for Israel. The after party RSVP form on the DCCC website asks donors to “please join the DCCC and House Democratic Staff for an after party event at Lounge 201.”
A press spokesman for the DCCC did not respond to a phone message.
In the January Ethics Committee report, the lawmakers were cleared in part because “none of the Members’ legislative staff had any role in planning any aspect for such events, other than the schedulers or chiefs of staff coordinating administrative scheduling issues regarding the Members’ availability.” [See the full report marked with notes here.]
The event comes at a particularly busy time of year for congressional fundraising. Members have planned at least 156 events this week, and no less than 57 today, according to Party Time’s files, which do not grab all of Washington’s invitations.
“I sense a volume of voice mails and emails more typical of last September than I would expect to see in spring of an odd-numbered year,” the lobbyist wrote.
He cited two immediate reasons for the uptick. First, campaigns are pressuring donors to send in checks before the end of the month, which marks the end of the first quarter. In addition, Congress is on recess all of next week, which means this week includes some of the final days for inside-the-beltway events. He expects a high volume of events again on the final three days of the month.
He also cited the “uncertainty-driven nervousness” associated with states’ redrawing congressional districts this year. Many states will lose at least one House seat in the next Congress.
“Everybody wants to get as much in the bank before they potentially get themselves redrawn into a district that will give them political fits, or that may pit one incumbent against another,” he wrote.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.