Mitt Romney's Utah 'Republicanpalooza': mega-donors descend on Park City for weekend retreat

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 3:27 p.m. MDT

FILE -In this June 8, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks with his staff while riding on his bus after a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Romney is expected to be in Utah this weekend for the Republicanpalooza.

Evan Vucci, File, Associated Press

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Read more: Who's who of GOP elite coming to Utah for weekend retreat with Romney donors

Republican heavyweights like Condeleeza Rice, Karl Rove and Sen. John McCain are coming to Utah this weekend to participate in an exclusive retreat the Mitt Romney campaign is holding for fundraisers who have either donated at least $50,000 or bundled more than $250,000.

The event will take place at Deer Valley and is informally being hailed as "Republicanpalooza." In the article "Romney's personal touch pays off with campaign donors," the New York Times reported Thursday that "the highlight for the 700 guests … will be unfettered access to Mr. Romney himself, who will deliver a speech and mingle at a cookout beside the ski jumps at Olympic Park."

Presidential campaign fundraising was a hot topic Thursday, thanks to new campaign disclosures that showed Romney and the GOP raised more money during May than President Obama and Democrats. "Romney's national campaign joined with the Republican Party in May to raise more than $76 million, outpacing Obama and the Democrats' $60 million haul during the period," the Associated Press summarized.

On the heels of the new data for May fundraising, Rove, adviser to former President George W. Bush, penned an op-ed piece in Thursday's Wall Street Journal downplaying the financial outlook of Obama's campaign. "With his political problems mounting, the president needs to buy his way to re-election," Rove wrote. "But his schedule is increasingly filled with less productive events. … The president is learning the hard way that there is a finite number of million dollar-plus fundraisers that any candidate can have, and he has chewed up most of his opportunities."

In previewing the upcoming Deer Valley event, the New York Times attributed Romney's newfound fundraising advantage to sustained effort and a deft personal touch.

"To a remarkable degree," the Times article continued, "interviews with donors, fundraisers and staff members show, that financial haul has hinged on Mr. Romney’s clout in the business world and his relentless personal cultivation of contributors. … It is the attention from Mr. Romney (that) has left the deepest impression on donors, who said they felt like extended members of the family."

CNN.com reported that Romney's team is anticipating that Thursday will be its biggest fundraising day thus far during the current campaign cycle, thanks to two fundraisers in Michigan that are "expected to raise between $6 and $8 million."

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