With the election finally over, it's time to gear up for the next one. Welcome to presidential politics.
Democrats are busy choosing up sides while Republicans keep hedging their bets.
Backers of Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado keep selling the idea that the unsuccessful '84 contender has the organization to put himself over the top in '88. And they plan to try to prove that point in California, and across the nation, on Hart's birthday Nov. 28. In California, according to state Hart honcho Rick Allen, organizational meetings "of between 10 and 100 people" will be held in each of the state's 45 congressional districts to show their strength. Another way that the California Hart contingent will show its strength is with Kitty and Steve Moses hosting Hart's Senate retirement party Dec. 8 in Washington at the Folger Library--with a very select guest list.
Supporters of Maryland's Sen. Joseph Biden say an "exploratory committee" will be set up early in 1987, and on the heels of its creation, the announcement of a very big, very glitzy dinner at the home of Interscope's Ted and Barbara Field, the Harold Lloyd estate. Other Biden brand names--MCA's Irving Azoff and perennial givers Bruce and Toni Corwin.
If a "yes" is forthcoming from New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (and his buddies say that's still up in the air), look for his close pal, San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi, to swing into action, enlisting support from (maybe) Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and producer Irwin Winkler.
The Republicans seem to have a different approach. Instead of choosing up sides, major GOP givers have been busy this year making sure their presidential bases are covered. No presidential contender has yet announced in the GOP--so there is still no way to contribute directly to a campaign. But political action committees were formed by the three major contenders--VP George Bush, Sen. Majority Leader Robert Dole and Rep. Jack Kemp--with the funds collected going to other GOP congressional candidates.
Local Republicans say that the party faithful are contributing almost equally to Bush and Dole, with Kemp running behind. But major players are giving to all three--in a sophisticated game of hedging their bets. Watch for a few key names to emerge as single-candidate backers--Irvine's Don Bren, department-store exec Phillip Hawley, Arco's Lod Cook, philanthropist William Keck II.
One might think that the recent rash of GOP dinners had left every Republican filled--but Sen. Pete Wilson is expected to do a big shindig in February.
AFFIRMATIVE ALUMNI--The Mexican American Alumni Assn. of Loyola Marymount carries an impressive statement on its fund-raising invite--"There are now 2,400 Chicano/Latino alumni . . . Latino students comprise 15% of the total student body. . . ." All money raised for scholarships by the MAAA are matched two-for-one by the university, so the Nov. 15 black-tie dinner at the Marina Beach Hotel means a lot. San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros will be honored, along with Texas Judge Tony Jimenez III.
BAD TASTE DEPARTMENT--Set to open with a great deal of ballyhoo is Isaac Tiggart's newest Hard Rock Cafe. This one is in Dallas and the date happens to be Nov. 22. A spokesman for the Hard Rock, asked if she knew that Nov. 22 was the date that President John Kennedy was assassinated in that city, said, "Oh my God. Oh, yes. I knew . . . but that was the date it would be ready."
GOOD GIFTS--The holiday season is always a time to spend money on gifts that on Jan. 1 look useless and empty. AIDS Project Los Angeles might have turned that around this year. APLA--dedicated to providing vital support to people with AIDS and AIDS-related diseases--is offering a Holiday Gift Card with a minimum donation of $5.50, mailed from APLA with the donor's name. That's really best wishes.