For $10,000, a Chance to Dine with Gov. Chris Christie in Vermont | Off Message

For $10,000, a Chance to Dine with Gov. Chris Christie in Vermont

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Photo By Bob Jagendorf from Manalapan, NJ, USA [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wanna break bread with a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination? All it takes is a $10,000 check made out to the Vermont Republican Party.

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie comes to town next Wednesday, he'll speak to nearly 700 of the party faithful at the Vermont GOP's "Welcome Winter Gala." Fifty-dollar tickets to the event at the Robert E. Miller Expo Centre in Essex Junction sold out two weeks ago.

But the real schmoozing will take place ahead of the gala, during two exclusive events featuring heftier price tags and more access to the would-be president. Tickets to a two-hour private reception cost $1000 per couple, while access to a "Policy Roundtable" with the governor costs $10,000 per couple, according to an invitation obtained by Seven Days.

Those who pony up $10,000 for the "Calvin Coolidge" package will receive quite the goody bag: two tickets to the roundtable, two tickets to the reception, two seats at Christie's table during the gala, eight additional tickets to the gala, a photo with the gov, "company name or individual name and/or logo displayed on very prominent sign at event," and — get this — free drinks at the reception!

So what happens at a policy roundtable?

"It's just a policy roundtable with some folks and the governor," says Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe), who is organizing the event with Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. "It's an opportunity for people to discuss some of the issues."

Scheuermann wouldn't say how many people have signed up for the roundtable, but according to Vermont GOP political director Brent Burns, roughly 130 have RSVP-ed for the private reception. He says the waitlist for the gala exceeds 170. 

As for how much the party expects to raise from the event? 

"I think we will probably be netting $100-grand after costs," Burns says. 

But don't expect any live reports from the Miller Centre. The party informed reporters this week that, at the request of Christie's staff, reporters will be barred from the event.

"That was a request made by Gov. Christie's press office," Burns says. "Obviously we're the beneficiary of him coming, so we're going to honor that request."

According to Scheuermann, the party hasn't previously closed such events to the press, but, she says, "I think a lot of things surrounding this are new."

She added, "By having the press there, it becomes a bit of a distraction, I think."

Vermont is the third of three out-of-state trips Christie is making this and next week. He's traveling to Oklahoma today to campaign for Gov. Mary Fallin and to Idaho on Friday to campaign for Gov. Butch Otter. Soon after he was elected to a second term last month, Christie took the helm of the Republican Governors Association.

According to Scheuermann, the Vermont Republican Party is compensating Christie $1000 for travel expenses. She says all money raised at the events will go to the state party.

Spokespeople for Christie, the RGA and the New Jersey Republican Party did not return calls seeking comment Thursday, nor did Lt. Gov. Scott, who is currrently traveling out-of-state.

Here's the invite:

 

WELCOME WINTER GALA

VERMONT REPUBLICAN PARTY

GUEST SPEAKER: THE HONORABLE CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY

DECEMBER 11, 2013

Private Reception 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Main Event 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Calvin Coolidge

Contribution: $10,000

  • 2 Seats Policy Roundtable with Governor Christie
  • 2 Seats at Governor’s table
  • 2 tickets/complimentary beverages to Private Reception
  • Photo with Governor
  • 10 total tickets (2 Seats at Governor’s Table & 8 at Reserved Table) for Gala / 20 raffle tickets
  • Company name or individual name and/or logo displayed on very prominent sign at event (48” X 96”)
  • Company name or individual name and/or logo in evening program
  • Prominent acknowledgement at event

George Aiken

Contribution: $5,000

  • 1 Seat Policy Roundtable with Governor Christie
  • 2 tickets/complimentary beverages to Private Reception
  • Photo with Governor
  • 8 tickets (Reserved Table) for Gala / 16 raffle tickets
  • Company name or individual name and/or logo displayed prominently at event (36” X 48”)
  • Company name or individual name and/or logo in evening program
  • Prominent acknowledgement at event 

Robert Stafford

Contribution: $2,500

  • 2 tickets/complimentary beverages to Private Reception
  • Photo with Governor
  • 8 tickets (Reserved Table) for Gala / 16 raffle tickets
  • Company name or individual name and/or logo displayed at event (24” X 36”)
  • Company name or individual name in evening program

Consuela Northrup Bailey

Contribution: $1,000

  • 2 tickets/complimentary beverages to Private Reception
  • 2 tickets for Gala (open seating-not a 100% seated event)/ 4 raffle tickets
  • Company name or individual name and/or logo displayed at event (18” X 24”)
  • Company name or individual name in evening program

Thaddeus Stevens

Contribution: $500

  • 4 Tickets to Gala (open seating-not a 100% seated event) / 8 raffle tickets
  • Company name or individual name in evening program

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