If you thought all the political action is in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, think again: The race is heating up here in Washington social circles.
No drama for Democrats officially rallying together to re-elect President Obama. More interesting to watch: D.C.’s prominent Republicans who are trying to cozy up to the party’s nominee. Back the right horse early enough and you get four years hanging out with the winner. Pick the loser and . . .well, you picked the loser: After George W. Bush prevailed in the 2000 GOP primaries, early backers of John McCain were quietly snubbed by Bush insiders.
Mandy and Mary Ourisman, well-heeled Republican donors (she was named ambassador to Barbados by Bush 43) have hedged their bets by spreading the love. In late September, the couple hosted a fundraiser for Rick Perry in their home. According to 2011 campaign finance records, she also donated to Mitt Romney’s campaign. But guess who they sat with at the Kennedy Center Honors? Newt and Callista Gingrich.
Romney’s getting plenty of support from local VIPs like philanthropist Catherine Reynolds and Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who each gave $2,500. Another Redskins donor: Backup quarterback John Beck, who wrote him a check for $200.
Bigger bucks from Bobbie Kilberg, head of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, who pulled in more than $325,000 for Romney at an October fundraiser at her McLean home; Wayne Berman, a prolific bundler and husband of former White House Social Secretary Lea Berman; and the Marriott hotel heirs, who also threw a fundraiser in Bethesda for their fellow Mormon.
No big local names behind the other candidates. Marlene Malek gave $2,500 to Tim Pawlenty’s unsuccessful presidential bid; her husband Fred donated more than $60,000 to the RNC and National Republican Senatorial Committee.
All this while Obama quietly amasses his war chest. A couple of notable donors: Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who gave $35,800 to the president’s Victory Fund; as did producer George Stevens.