By Jonathan Martin – – – –
The leading Republican presidential prospects are descending on the city they all love to hate — the nation’s capital.
For public consumption, the candidates are heading to Washington to attend a donor-filled forum sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
But they are also making the trek to consort with some of the same individuals they frequently deride on the campaign trail: the capital’s lobbyist and consultant class.
At least three of the Republican candidates are holding fund-raisers in Washington on Thursday. The candidates are beginning their end-of-the-quarter fund-raising frenzy early because it is difficult to raise money as Christmas nears.
They will need to put away as much as possible going into the new year to afford TV ads in both the early nominating states, which vote in February, and those holding contests in the first weeks of March.
So Jeb Bush is attending a $1,000 a person evening reception at the Georgetown home of C. Boyden Gray, who served in President George Bush’s administration. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida will appear at a lobbyist-heavy luncheon. And Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is to host a $2,700 a person “policy round-table luncheon,” as an invitation bills it, on K Street, the very belly of the beast.