This, three weeks out from Election Day, is their reward for infusing a record-breaking amount of money into Romney’s operation. Many of the donors gathering here long ago contributed the $50,000 required to gain entrance to the private “Fall Retreat” and have raised tens of thousands of dollars more from their friends.
The donors will be feted at a gala reception and dinner Monday night at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, where a handful of Republican stars are expected to speak, including vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, the festivities continue with a series of briefing sessions at the Waldorf-Astoria, a historic luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan. And Tuesday evening, the donors will head to the Roseland Ballroom for a private debate watch party with comedian Dennis Miller.
This week’s retreat is only the latest example of Romney rewarding his donors, whom he has relentlessly cultivated for donations. The campaign’s top bundlers — the “Founding Partners” and members of the exclusive “Stripes” group — were invited to a June retreat with Romney, his family and his strategists at an exclusive resort in Park City, Utah.
Virtually every bold-faced name in Republican politics showed up in Park City, from former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and James Baker to former Florida governor Jeb Bush to strategist Karl Rove. A slew of vice presidential hopefuls, including Ryan, also attended.
The next month, Romney invited dozens of top donors to stops on his foreign tour, including his visit to Jerusalem, where donors dined with him at the luxurious King David Hotel and accompanied the candidate to the Western Wall and watched him leave a prayer note.
Romney scrapped plans to visit this week’s New York retreat, instead staying at home in Belmont, Mass., where he is hunkered down with advisers preparing for Tuesday night’s town hall debate. But his wife, Ann, and their eldest son, Tagg, plan to attend a donor luncheon here Tuesday at the Waldorf-Astoria.
In a letter to invited donors, obtained by The Washington Post, the campaign wrote that the retreat “promises to be a wonderful and informational experience for attendees. You will have an opportunity to learn detailed information about Governor Romney’s path to victory in November and have an opportunity to network with fellow supporters.”