Mitt Romney this weekend is spending time with his top fundraisers, rewarding some 500 donors and bundlers who are doing the most to help him close the gap between his campaign and President Obama’s.
The retreat, which is open to those who have given $50,000 or are raising at least $250,000, is behind held in Park City, Utah, in the shadows of the mountains that were home to the 2002 Winter Olympics. Romney frequently alludes to his work running the Olympics as an example of his management prowess.
Romney’s political team flew in for the event and are spending personal time with the business executives, lobbyists, and politicians who are close to Romney. The event, which The New York Times reported has been dubbed by some as Republicanpalooza, has featured some of the top names in politics, including operative Karl Rove, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and the 2008 Republican nominee, Senator John McCain. Also on hand are a number of potential vice presidential nominees, including Representative Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, Senator Rob Portman, of Ohio, and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.
The fundraisers have been treated to strategy briefings from campaign officials and lectures on policy proposals from top Republicans. The weekend is slated to conclude with a round of golf on Sunday at an 18-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
The former Massachusetts governor has always had a well-oiled fundraising machine, but in the weeks since clinching the Republican nomination, he has been closing the gap with Obama’s vaunted fundraising operation.
Providing special private access to a candidate to those who raise the most money is not new in politics, but this weekend was the most serious effort Romney has made to reward his top donors.
Unlike Obama, Romney has not disclosed his bundlers, other than the registered lobbyists that he is forced to disclose under federal law.
The retreat is being held in an area familiar to Romney. The school he graduated from as an undergraduate -- Brigham Young University -- is not far away, and two of his sons live in Utah. He also owned a large cabin in Park City before selling it several years ago. The Romney campaign is using Utah as a logistical hub for its operations in the neighboring swing states of Colorado and Nevada.
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org