The national media has descended on Tampa Bay, Florida, this week as the stars of the Grand Old Party gather to officially anoint Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential nominee. But while lawmakers may have their evenings occupied with a tight schedule of speeches and meet and greets, the days are wide open to mingle with what may be a politician's most valued constituency: campaign donors.
Republicans have scheduled more than 200 fundraising events during their time in Tampa, according to an ample calendar of events available from The Sunlight Foundation's Party Time blog, which tracks political fundraisers. The overwhelming list of events packed into the four-day schedule includes tête-à-tête meetings with state GOP delegations, boat cruises, and even a "Milk and Cookies" midnight golf party with Sen. Lindsey Graham. One of the most absurd events -- an assault rifle raffle to raise money for Montana state Rep. John McCaherty's campaign -- already occurred on Monday night.
The following is a list of some of the more notable (or the most entertaining) events planned for Republican donors this week:
- HomoCon 2012: The event, hosted by the Republican gay rights group GOProud, is touted by the group as being "THE must-have ticket" in Tampa where guests will "dance the night away" at a venue called The Honey Pot.
Special guests at the event include Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Amy Kremer, the chair of the Tea Party Express, and Richard Grenell, the openly gay political consultant who served as Romney's national security campaign spokesman for about five minutes earlier this year.
- A performance by the country music artist (and Celebrity Apprentice finalist) Trace Adkins
- D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity: This late night event at the Tampa Improv will feature comic performances from the likes of Grover Norquist and Montana Rep. Billy Long, who plan on doing their best impressions of U.S. presidents ranging from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama.
- There are several fundraiser concerts scheduled for the convention's hump day, including performances by Kid Rock, Greg Allman and (somewhat surprisingly ) noted marijuana advocacy activist Willie Nelson.
- Space Jam Republic: No word on who will be hosting this event, although Newt Gingrich may be persuaded to take a break from Newt University to make an appearance. The event, hosted at the Florida Aquarium, will "celebrate the excitement and value that our space program brings to our nation at this year's Republican National Convention."
- A fundraiser for Florida Rep. Allen West's re-election effort, hosted by Citizens United.
- A private Journey concert, hosted by Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and Jerry Moran (Kan.) along with Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.) and Tom Marino (Penn.)The cost? A cool $175,000 to $200,000.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...