Mitt Romney is hosting a weekend retreat for wealthy donors in Park City, Utah, offering backers the chance to mingle with campaign aides, Republican officials, and the candidate himself at a series of events.
More than 500 donors were expected to attend the event, which began Friday and is open only to individuals who have given $50,000 or are raising at least $250,000 to benefit Romney’s White House bid.
Having decided not to take public financing for the general election, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate has devoted much of his time since locking down his party’s nomination to flying across the country to woo top donors.
The schedule for the retreat at the Utah ski area includes closed-door gatherings with the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, as well as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and three officeholders who have been mentioned in news reports as possible Romney running mates: Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, tapped to head Romney’s transition team for a potential presidency, will also attend.
Fund-raisers will also receive private strategy briefings from campaign and party officials, including former White House adviser Karl Rove, and lectures on foreign policy, energy, and the financial sector, according to a schedule of events obtained from attendees. Former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and James A. Baker III will be among those discussing foreign affairs.
The mingling began on the flight from Salt Lake City with executives, lobbyists, politicians, and campaign staff. Donors attended a cookout Friday with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at Olympic Park, the site of the 2002 winter games that Romney ran as chief executive officer.
The weekend concludes with a round of golf at Red Ledges, described as an elite private community with an 18-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Romney and the Republican Party outraised Democrats in this campaign cycle for the first time last month, collecting more than $76.8 million, nearly $17 million more than President Obama and his allies.
Obama also has spent much time at fund-raising events, including high-profile dinners at the homes of celebrities.
Obama’s campaign has disclosed the names of its so-called bundlers — those who pledge to raise large amounts of funds for him — while Romney’s campaign has refused to release a list of its top fund-raisers.
In coming weeks, Romney has fund-raising events scheduled in New York; Aspen, Colo.; and Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Top donors to Romney already get access to weekly strategy calls and updates from campaign officials and other Republicans, efforts organized by aide Spencer Zwick. Potential donors have been invited to Romney’s vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for lunch and boat rides.
The retreat is being held on familiar turf for Romney. He owned a seven-bedroom, 9,500 square-foot log cabin in Park City before selling it as he geared up for his 2012 presidential run. - BLOOMBERG NEWS
Giffords successor meets with voters
US Representative Ron Barber was holding a ‘‘Congress on Your Corner’’ event in Tucson Saturday after being sworn in last week to fill the seat vacated by his former boss, Gabrielle Giffords.
With backing from Giffords, Barber won a special election to represent Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District. Both were wounded in January 2011 when a gunman opened fire at a similar event for the congresswoman and her constituents. Six people were killed and 11 others were wounded.
Barber’s spokesman said about 200 people showed up at a Tucson grocery store as temperatures topped 100 degrees. The afternoon meeting was postponed for several hours as weather delayed Barber’s travel from Washington. A former Giffords aide, Barber will run again in the November general election. Giffords yielded the post to concentrate on her recovery from a brain injury. - ASSOCIATED PRESS