Mitt Romney is heading to Jackson Hole, Wyo., today for another high-dollar fundraiser. And rather than having prospective VP's flocking about, he's being hosted by a former VP, Dick Cheney (and wife Lynn). It's the first time the two will appear together in public.
Like any fundraiser, there are different levels for donors and therefore access to the presumptive GOP nominee, as well as Cheney. The main event is at the beautiful Teton Pines Country Club, with its sweeping views of the Teton Mountains. The minimum donation for the general reception is $2,500 per person. For those who donate $50,000 or $100,000 per couple, they will not only get to have dinner with Cheney and Romney but are also invited to the host committee reception and will become a Founding Member of Romney Victory. For $5,000 each, an attendee is invited to a photo reception with the two. For those who'd like dinner, that's $30,000 apiece, $60,000 per couple.
Except that now, everything but the country club reception, because everything else is sold out. No dinner chez Cheney's Jackson Hole getaway.
Stephen Cox and his wife, Cristina, are attending the reception. Cox lives in Houston and works in the energy sector. He's been supporting Romney since last April (he also backed him during the last campaign) and has bundled about $50,000 for the campaign, which includes $10,000 donated from him and his wife. He is also the Houston regional chair of Maverick PAC, which George P. Bush (Jeb Bush's son) founded to woo younger votes into the Republican fold. Plus, Cox is the national finance chair for Ted Cruz, the tea party candidate running for the U.S. Senate from Texas.
The combination of a trip to Jackson Hole with his wife as well as hearing from the vice president was an invitation they couldn't pass up. Part of the attraction is a chance to visit Jackson Hole, which in addition to a beautiful setting, is hosting the Grand Teton Music Festival, a classical music festival.
"We were looking at it from two perspectives," said Cox, 35. "One perspective is, my wife is 24 weeks pregnant and it was a way to get away by ourselves. And the other reason we would only come here if we felt like we could raise a little bit of money in connection with it… If I can raise $10,000 in connection with this event, that will justify it from the political side of things. So it was twofold: support the governor, do some fundraising and get to come out to Jackson and have some time by ourselves."
Cox said his main focus is fundraising for Romney, but he will definitely try to talk to attendees interested in the Texas senate race about donating to Cruz. And he'll try to stir up interest in Maverick PAC.
The Cheneys aren't the only hosts: there's also Cheney friends Dick and Maggie Scarlett and Allan and Frances Tessler. Dick Scarlett is chairman and CEO of United Bancorporation of Wyoming. Allan Tessler is the former CEO of Data Broadcasting Corporation as well as a venture capitalist. Cheney's daughter Liz will also attend, as will Bob Grady, a venture capitalist and investment investment banker based in Jackson Hole.
Another notable attendees are Lynn Friess and Steve Friess, wife and son of former mutual fund manager Foster Friess, who bankrolled Rick Santorum's superPAC during the primary, The Red, White, and Blue Fund. Despite being a Jackson Hole resident, the Friesses are not hosting the event and Foster cannot attend because he's traveling to the East Coast, according to his spokesperson Matthew Taylor.
This should not be interpreted as not supporting the presumptive GOP nominee, though. Taylor said the Friesses have maxed out the federal election contribution amount to the joint Romney-RNC Victory Fund, $75,000 each. That's not all: Taylor also told ABC News Friess made a six-figure contribution to the pro-Romney superPAC Restore our Future last month. Taylor would not narrow down the amount from six figures. The Federal Election Committee filing will reveal the full amount later this month.
The Romney campaign beat the Obama campaign in fundraising for the second month in a row last month, besting them by $35 million. Romney raised $106 million in June to Obama's $71 million.