Political Party Time

Party season returns, even if spring seems far away

As February turns to March, isn't spring supposed to melt away the snow and warm the air? Not exactly, it seems. (Oh, and thanks for nothing you stupid groundhog.) We may not be able to count on Mother Nature anymore, but another, more predictable season is in full-swing -- fundraising time! PT's calendar is once again stuffed with parties as politicians awake from their winter slumbers, primed to rake in the big bucks like a newly-awakened bear foraging for honey. It's a busy week ahead, so without further ado, check the highlights for next week.

The Colbert Bump: Part 2
Just one day after stumping for big sis Lulu in the Big Apple, Stephen Colbert will be at it again on Saturday -- this time in their home state of South Carolina. The first part of the night includes a private reception and bowling at The Alley in downtown Charleston, with prices up to $2,600 to get in. If you'd like a more intimate experience with the Rev. Dr. Colbert, follow the pack to a private dinner at a restaurant-to-be-named-later -- you could even get your copy of America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't personally signed! Expect to shell out $5,200 to attend this event -- and watch out for those just out of hibernation, newly-awakened bears!

Welcome to the Club, Tim
"Hey there, freshly-appointed Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and welcome to the upper chamber! It's so nice to have you. Now get fundraising." This is the message Scott received, and he heard it loud and clear -- he's got five fundraisers coming up in the next few weeks already. His first forays come at a luncheon on Feb. 26 at the townhouse of Fluor Corp., a global engineering and construction firm. Looks like Scott has picked up on the senatorial partying habits just fine! Price for admission is up to $2,000 PAC and $1,000 personal.

Go West, Emanuel!
Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has recently seen his approval ratings suffer -- only 2% of Chicagoans surveyed said they strongly approve of his performance. Although the invite merely says it's "honoring" Emanuel, maybe the mayor should whisk himself away to the Bay Area for a dinner reception at the home of Doug and Lisa Goldman, the uber-rich founders of the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. Attendance is $500 across the board. Perhaps the brief respite would heal his aching feelings -- or maybe he just doesn't care at all.

Fitzpatrick Tries Again -- This Time With Boehner
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., hasn't had the best of luck with partying. During the 2011 inauguration of Congress, he missed the official swearing-in ceremony to attend a reception that was possibly for fundraising. This ran afoul of certain rules in the Constitution, one of them requiring that the oath be taken within proximity of the Speaker. Well, Fitzpatrick isn't going to let the speaker out of his sight because Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is going to be at his Feb. 27 reception at the Capitol Hill Club. Prices for admission run from $5,000 to $500.

Rubio Takes a Swig
You may have seen Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., giving the rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union -- one part in particular, at least. The infamous "water bottle" incident, where Rubio awkwardly paused to quench his thirst, looked bad at first, but he's turned this one around by selling over $100,000 in "Rubio" branded water bottles. And he's adding to that by hosting a Feb. 27 dinner benefitting his Reclaim America PAC at Wolfgang Puck's The Source. Attendees will have to pony up $5,000 to get in -- and please, don't slurp your water.

...And Markey's Off!
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the frontrunner to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, is officially starting the race by hosting a Kick-Off Reception on the last day of February. He's been campaigning for several weeks, but everyone knows it's not a race until the partying begins. Look for many more Markey fundraisers to pour in the next several weeks as this heats up. In fact, the PT database already has several lined up. The Boston-based party includes a luxurious 30-minute pre-reception, where prices rise as much as $10,000, but sticking to the normal deal only goes for $500-$100.

Christie Keeps Up the Pace
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has been keeping a relatively active fundraising schedule, including a stint out west that included a high-profile party with Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg. And all this money-grubbing comes despite his overwhelming odds to win re-election and his already healthy pile of change. Even so, he's showing little sign of slowing up -- on Feb. 28, Christie is enlisting the help of fellow Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia for a dinner reception. The McLean, Va. event has an asking price of $3,800.

Murkowski Mushes
Only the intrepid will venture out to Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's latest fundraiser -- three days traveling through the Alaskan tundra following the 41st Iditarod dog-sled race. Called the "Last Great Race on Earth," the course travels over 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, and competitors face wind chills as low as -100 degrees. And the record time to complete this event is about 8 1/2 days. Is it worth the $3,000 PAC/$1,000 personal to attend? Count us out.

Wasserman Schultz Takes You Out to the Ballgame
If you'd rather enjoy the sunny weather of Florida instead of freezing cold of Alaska, then Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz may have the fundraiser for you! She's hosting a Spring Training Weekend to celebrate the start of America's pastime. Unfortunately, the two teams playing are the Phillies and the Yankees, so most every baseball fan will probably be booing both teams. Either way, this weekend trip also includes a welcome reception and spa events that will be more enjoyable than seeing the Yankees play. Prices for this event run up to $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals and will benefit Wasserman Schultz's leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats. Is there a way for both teams to lose?

Until next time, Partiers!

(Photo credit: iStockphoto.com)