Political Party Time

PT Round-up: Crist, Scott fundraise in Florida and Grimes goes to SoCal

Morning, partiers! It’s a good Monday around here in Party Time land – Congress’s social calendar is heating up. Lawmakers are shaking off the holiday break, warming up after the polar vortex and getting down to business … the business of fundraising, that is.

This week, the two candidates vying to be Florida’s next governor continue their flurry of fundraising, while Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes heads to California for a Hollywood execs-hosted event. Plus, Ready for Hillary has a dance party, a New Jersey Senate candidate gets some help from Gov. Chris Christie and Wednesday’s Wizards/Heat game plays host to funders for two politicians (whose home states are neither the District nor Florida, by the way).

Although we learned of some good parties this week, we know there’s more happening out there. Know of anything good going on? Let us know: Upload official invites here, or email us any details or rumblings you’ve heard.

Florida fundraising frenzy

Last week, we reported that Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist made the most of their visits to California, squeezing in some fundraising while watching Florida State University win at the Rose Bowl in one of the more exciting college football championship games in recent memory. Scott and Crist, both hoping to be Florida’s next governor, are back in their home state, each with fundraisers this week.

In yet another development in Crist’s Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat story, his Monday night fundraiser is organized by a handful of the Sunshine State’s gay elite. Last May, Crist announced his support for marriage equality in Florida, a shift from 2008, when, as the state’s governor, he supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In December, Crist went a step further, apologizing for his support of the amendment and telling gay news outlet Watermark Online, “I’m sorry I did that. It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

Looks like it did the trick. Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean will host Crist at their home for the 6 p.m. reception. Another host is gay Democratic operative Bob Poe, former Florida Democratic Party chairman, Central Florida finance chair for Obama’s 2012 reelection, and chair of (and initial donor to) Crist’s political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida. Tickets for Monday’s shindig start at $250 and go up to $10,000.

Scott is cashing in on some well-connected contacts of his own for a fundraiser Wednesday evening at the home of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus (please note the golf-themed invitation). Tickets to the private dinner go for $10,000 and benefit Scott’s political committee, Let’s Get to Work.

Christie brings in cash

Steve Lonegan is back! The conservative former mayor of Bogota, New Jersey, may have lost in the October special election to now-Sen. Cory Booker, but he recently announced he’s running for a House seat representing South Jersey. Rep. Jon Runyan is retiring this year and Lonegan is throwing his hat into the ring.

The Lonegan camp is putting together a $1,000-per-person reception on Thursday with New Jersey Reps. Scott Garrett, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Leonard Lance, as well as Gov. Chris Christie. No word if bridge-gate/Fort Lee fiasco/other TBD traffic scandal-related shorthand will keep the governor from the event.

Grimes heads back to SoCal

In her quest for Kentucky’s Senate seat, Alison Lundergan Grimes has skipped across the U.S. in her hunt for campaign cash and bold-named endorsements. On Monday, she’ll benefit from both when she hobnobs with Hollywood heavyweights at a SoCal fundraiser.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO and Democratic super-donor (and co-founder of a little something called Priorities USA, the super PAC that aided Obama’s reelection efforts), is at the top of a list of high-powered hosts for Monday night’s event. He has called the Grimes-McConnell race “pivotal” and asked his well-heeled friends to chip in for the Democrat. Steve and Nikki Lafferty – he a managing partner at the Creative Artists Agency, she an animal activist at Animal Aid USA – will host the event at their L.A. home.

Ready for Hillary? Ready for dancing?

Organizers behind the Ready for Hillary PAC have been trying to prove the wide appeal of the former Secretary of State, throwing fundraisers with supporters in Texas, Florida, California, New York, Arkansas and the District. On Wednesday, D.C.’s gay community is getting in on the fun, hosting an “Out & Ready for Hillary” funder at Town Danceboutique. Like most of the other Ready for Hillary events, tickets go for $20.16.

Party Time first heard of the event back in December, but since then, organizers have added a bit of within-the-community star power, bringing on the plaintiffs from the Proposition 8 trial and one of the actresses from the early-2000s show “Queer as Folk.”

The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m., and although there’s no word on a deejay, this is happening at a giant dance space. We suggest dressing accordingly.

Heat vs. Wizards, Jeffries vs. Blumenthal

Over here at PT, we always get a kick out of oddball fundraisers and the creative (and multiple) ways politicians try to raise cash. Last week, we nodded along knowingly when Roll Call reported that lobbyists get inundated with various invites to political fundraisers. (Speaking of which, if you are one such lobbyist, feel free to send us those invites before tossing them! Our upload process is painless and confidential, we promise.)

We file basketball games and spring training weekend getaways as examples of such creative fundraising ploys. And although they are always popular ways for politicians to raise money, usually the pols rely on some home state sports loyalty to entice donors. But not so on Wednesday, when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., each have fundraisers at the Verizon Center during the Miami Heat/Washington Wizards game. Jeffries is asking for $1,500 to $5,000 to join him, while Blumenthal wants $2,500 for one ticket or $5,000 for a pair. That might be because he's a senator, or maybe because he's a former heartthrob. (For some perspective on those prices, tickets to a Wizards game can go for as low as $4.98, or $33 when matching up against a more star-studded team like Miami.)

That’s it for this week, partiers. As we get back into the fundraising swing of things, keep us in mind as you get those invites and send them our way!

Photo redit: flickr.com