The two potential 2016 presidential candidates will both be in California this week. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, will briefly address
the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in San Diego on Friday night.
Bush has a full slate of fundraisers for both his Right to Rise leadership PAC and the Right to Rise super PAC, an independent committee that would be likely to support his presidential bid. Under campaign finance laws, super PACs may not coordinate with official campaign committees during a certain phase of the presidential campaign, but Bush has not formally announced an exploratory bid for the presidency or any official campaign committees.
On Thursday in Los Angeles, the former Florida governor is the featured guest at a reception and discussion for his Right to Rise leadership PAC co-hosted by Brad Freeman, a close friend and top financial backer of his brother, President George W. Bush. Guests are asked for contributions of up to $5,000, the annual limit they may give to the leadership PAC in a calendar year.
Bush will then head out to the desert for two Right to Rise super PAC fundraisers, followed by an evening reception to benefit the leadership PAC. The host committees for the events for the leadership PAC and the super PAC include many of the same people.
The Friday night reception and discussion will take place at the Eldorado Country Club in Indian Wells and will be limited to 100 guests, who were asked to contribute $1,250 per individual or $2,500 per couple to Bush's new Right to Rise PAC.
The host committee includes hotelier Gordon Sondland, a real estate investor who was a member of Romney's national finance committee and major supporter of the super PAC that backed him in 2012. Another member of the host committee is former ambassador Charles J. Swindells, who was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa by President George W. Bush.
Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, who was considered as a vice presidential running mate for President Bush and later served as his special envoy to the Sudan and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will be on the honorary host committee for the evening Indian Wells fundraiser, as well as the earlier events to benefit the Bush-aligned super PAC. In 2011, Danforth endorsed Romney and joined him at a fundraising event in St. Louis, praising him as having shown the "skill and leadership ability to ensure that the U.S. remains the strongest and most respected nation in the world."
Other alumni from President Bush's administration on the honorary host committees for Friday's events include former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Rockwell Schnabel; former U.S. Ambassador to Germany William "Tim" Timken and his wife, Sue; former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and former owner of the Seattle Mariners George Argyros (a longtime GOP fundraiser who helped Romney raise money in California during the 2012 cycle).
The luncheon for the discussion with Bush to benefit his Right to Rise super PAC will be held at the home of Stacey and Greg Renker, a couple well-known for their philanthropy and contributions to the Eisenhower Medical Center in the Palm Springs area. Luncheon guests were asked to contribute $12,500 to the Bush-aligned super PAC.
An afternoon roundtable with Bush at the home of Carol Price will also benefit the Right to Rise super PAC with donations from guests of $7,500.