Hillary Clinton is harvesting campaign cash in her backyard — Bush family roots be damned.
The prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination will hit the fundraising trail June 5 in Greenwich, huddling with deep-pocketed contributors at a $29.7 million Roman villa in the hometown of Bush family patriarch Prescott Bush Sr., Hearst Connecticut Media has learned.
Bush was the grandfather of prospective Clinton 2016 rival Jeb Bush, who in January embarked on his own White House exploration at Greenwich fundraiser where he poo-pooed the Clinton mystique and told fellow Republicans that running a campaign based on “90s nostalgia” would fail.
Now, Clinton is trying to one-up Bush just a stone’s throw from where the former Florida governor gave Clinton bulletin board material.
The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady will greet contributors at the Indian Harbor compound of retired financial trader and philanthropist Malcolm Wiener and his wife, Carolyn Wiener, according to an invitation obtained by Hearst.
The couple’s seven bedroom, and 11.5-bathroom mansion is steeped in history. Built in 1889 on a property developed by Boss Tweed for his Americus Club shoreline retreat, the home was once owned by Commodore Elias C. Benedict. The couple’s annual real estate taxes are about $227,000. There is a even a private island named after Tweed just off the promontory.
The ask for an audience with Clinton is $2,700 per person and $5,400 per couple. To be a co-host of the event and snag an invite to a VIP reception with Clinton and membership in her Hillstarters Program, individual supporters must raise $27,000. Hosts are being asked to raise $50,000, which would qualify them for Clinton’s Hillraisers Program.
The Hillstarters and Hillraisers bundlers programs are Clinton’s answer to former President George W. Bush’s Pioneers and Rangers designations.
Democrats relished the spotlight of Clinton’s upcoming visit to the state where Hillary and Bill Clinton met as Yale Law students.
“I am optimistic that Hillary Clinton will be back in the state again and not just for money,” said Nancy DiNardo, a former state Democratic chairwoman. “I think in Greenwich you seeing more Democrats coming in having fundraisers because they can be just as successful as Republicans there.”
Republicans renewed questions about Clinton’s transparency as secretary of state and her fundraising activity for her family’s foundation.
“Instead of answering serious questions about shady foreign donations and her secret email server, Hillary Clinton continues to opt for closed-door fundraisers and staged campaign events,” said Jerry Labriola Jr., chairman of the state GOP. “With new concerns raised each day, it is clear why Connecticut voters can’t trust her.”
Labriola’s criticism of Clinton came on the same day that the state’s top Republican endorsed Marco Rubio for president, becoming the first state GOP chairman to endorse the Florida senator. Rubio, who is scheduled to give the keynote at a Connecticut GOP fundraiser on the eve of Clinton’s visit, thanked Labriola on Twitter. Democrats panned the endorsement.
“By being the first state party to line up behind Rubio, the Connecticut GOP is sending a clear message that they agree with Marco Rubio that immigration reform isn’t a priority, that the country was better off with George W. Bush’s Iraq war, and that it’s okay to discriminate against the LGBTQ community,” said Leigh Appleby, a state Democratic Party spokesman.
Like George W. Bush, brother Jeb Bush has kept somewhat of an arm’s length from Greenwich, identifying more with Florida than Connecticut. Greenwich is just 13 miles from the Clintons’ adopted home of Chappaqua, N.Y., and is a requisite fundraising destination for both Republicans and Democrats.
The GOP registration advantage has eroded over the last decade, with Barack Obama in 2008 becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Greenwich since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The town went for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Drew Marzullo, the town’s top Democratic office holder and a selectman, said he is hoping Clinton can replicate Obama’s success in Greenwich.
“I hope to get the chance to meet her on June 5 and say to her, President Obama won Greenwich in 2008 and I have no doubt she can too,” Marzullo said.