Donald Trump to stump in Aspen | PostIndependent.com

Donald Trump to stump in Aspen

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves after speaking to the National Association of Home Builders on Thursday. He is scheduled to appear in Aspen for a private fundraiser on Aug. 25.
AP | AP

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will make a campaign stop in Aspen on Aug. 25 for a private fundraiser commanding as much as $25,000 per couple.

The Pitkin County Republicans made the announcement Thursday in an email blast.

“The fundraiser will be primarily for the Republican National Committee and for Trump,” said Pitkin County party chair Bob Jenkins.

The location of the fundraiser is not being made public. Jenkins said it will be held at a “brand new house in Aspen.”

Hosting the event is Larry A. Mizel, a Denver businessman and founder and CEO of M.D.C. Holdings, a Fortune 500 company that builds homes. Mizel co-chairs Trump’s Colorado campaign. He also hosted a Trump fundraiser in Denver in July.

The Aspen event is being coordinated by The Starboard Group, a Denver- and Washington, D.C.-based “political and non-profit consulting firm,” according to its website. The Boulder Weekly, in a July report, called Starboard “the most powerful fundraising/consulting entity for the Republican party in the Western United States.” The firm has done public relations work for such Republicans as Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Scott Tipton, Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the presidential bids by Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, among other candidates.

The firm declined comment for this story, referring questions to the RNC, which did not respond to messages Thursday.

For $25,000, a couple will get a “VIP meeting” with Trump, along with a photograph with the candidate and attendance to the reception, according to the invitation. A photo and reception costs $10,000 per couple, and $2,700 will gain an individual entrance to the reception.

The first $2,700 of each donation — the maximum amount a federal candidate or campaign committee can receive per election from an individual — will go toward Trump’s war chest, Jenkins said. The remaining contributions will go toward the RNC.

The fundraiser was announced the same day more than 70 Republicans wrote an open letter asking RNC Chair Reince Priebus to stop giving money to Trump’s campaign and divert those funds to the House and Senate races.

“I hate to say it, but they’re making a mistake,” Jenkins said. “If you pay $25,000 to go to this event, Trump gets the first $2,700 and the rest of it goes the RNC.”

The goal for the Trump/RNC fundraiser is to bring in at least $500,000, Jenkins said.

Trump enjoyed his best month of fundraising in July, when his campaign hauled in $80 million. Through July in Pitkin County, Trump has raised $38,284 compared to Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton’s $524,626, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Clinton has shown to be the frontrunner in recent major presidential polls.

Reuters gave her a 42-36 lead from Aug. 6-10; Bloomberg had her ahead 50-44 from Aug. 5-8; and a poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal had her leading 47-38 from July 31 through Aug. 3. Libertarian Gary Johnson is the third candidate who is on all 50 states’ ballots.

Trump’s polling numbers and image problems don’t diminish his potential for the Oval Office, said Jenkins.

“Let’s face it: We have a lot of very educated people and I think the real thing we’re seeing is people who really love America and really understand what this election is about. Do we want to be a European, socialistic type of country, or do we want to keep America as a free market and free enterprise, and keep our Supreme Court neutral rather than making an ultra-liberal appointment.”

He said Trump’s waning support from major GOP leaders is “unfortunately indicative that they’re mad at Trump. I understand that, but they’re missing the fact that the American people voted for Trump in the primaries.”

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said he learned about Trump’s visit through the email. The Secret Service has not been in contact with him about the appearance yet, the sheriff said. He said he expects Trump’s entourage and support team to be larger than the one for Clinton’s private fundraiser held Aug. 2 at the Woody Creek home of Karim Souki.

Three deputies worked that event, and DiSalvo said he is billing Souki close to $5,000 for their work. Souki has agreed to pay the amount, he said.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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