By Al Kamen
The Washington Post
The political fundraising machine is in perpetual motion, not even taking a break for the elections, always thinking about tomorrow. It's what makes our democracy truly exceptional.
On Wednesday, for example, we got an e-mail from Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who's up for reelection in 2014, giving us a heads-up about a "Holiday Reception in support of her re-election" on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Fiola on Pennsylvania Avenue. (Only $5,000 for a political action committee.)
The Democrats, even if they manage to hold on to the Senate this time around, are in a very bad way in 2014, our colleague Aaron Blake noted in September, saying the map looks "murderous" for the D's.
This is the class that ran with Barack Obama in 2008, but the Democrats will be defending 20 seats without benefit of his coattails, while the GOP will start with only 13. And 12 of those 20 Democrats "come from either red states (six) or swing states (six)."
We like the way Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., also up in 2014, is styling his Nov. 14 event at Johnny's Half Shell here as a "Roundtable Lunch" for discussion of "the looming fiscal cliff."
So this is a serious, wonky policy lunch. Only $5,000 for a "co-host," $2,500 for a sponsor and $1,000 for a "friend." That's very serious.
But it's not just the Democrats who are hitting lobbyists and others up for campaign cash.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a Loop Favorite last seen two years ago landing his plane on a closed runway in Port Isabel, Texas, narrowly missing a maintenance crew working out there, is also up in 2014, when he'll be a spry 79-year-old.
He invited us to join him Nov. 28 for his "Second Annual Seafood Birthday Celebration" with his favorite fare being flown in from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach. It's at Charlie Palmer Steak and is only half the price of Warner's lunch.
For those who want something out of town, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, running in 2014, is hosting the "First Annual Idaho Hunting Excursion" in January in Hagerman, Idaho, featuring goose and duck hunting. The invite helpfully reminds us that he's on three Senate committees, including Energy and Natural Resources.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-Mont., isn't running in the next cycle, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't join him March 8-10 for his "Big Sky Winter Weekend" in Big Sky, Mont.
Did you miss a golden opportunity Wednesday to part with $1,500 - $2,500 for a PAC - for a Halloween lunch at Johnny's Half Shell for the ROYB (Rely on Your Beliefs) Fund, the PAC brought to you by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.?
Not to worry. Our invite e-mail also includes info on the "Annual Blunt Hunt" on Nov. 19 in King George, Va., and then the "Family Retreat" in Orlando at Disney's Beach Club Resort over President's Day weekend in February.
What? The election ads have driven the kids to distraction and you can't wait until February to get away?
No problem. You can join Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., in Orlando on Nov. 9 for their first annual "Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure Family Weekend," $4,000 for a PAC, $2,000 for an individual.
Hair today . . .
More than a few people are hoping that Obama adviser David Axelrod has to follow through on the vow he made Wednesday - to shave off his signature mustache if his boss loses Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota.
But one of the folks cheering for him to break out the razor has special knowledge about ditching one's longtime facial hair for a new look. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., sported a strip of lustrous whiskerage for about as long as Axelrod has - some 40 years - before ditching the lip tickler back in 2007 . We asked the congressman whether he had any advice for Axelrod, should he have to bare it all.
Gingrey's communications director, Jen Talaber, made it clear that her boss is rooting for Axelrod to have a date with his Mach 5. "The congressman is hopeful David Axelrod will have to make good on his promise," she said. She also offered a helpful suggestion for dealing with the equivalent of a farmer's tan of the upper lip. "My personal advice for Axelrod is, if his upper lip hasn't seen the light of day in 40 years, he better invest in some self-tanner," she added.
An update on everyone's favorite fed: Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, who claimed to be working on a top-secret government project after being ousted from the Happy Valley campus, has been charged with eight counts connected to his role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal that engulfed his former employer's football program.
It was never clear which government agency Spanier was working for - he said it was related to national security, and his attorney told the Loop in July that it was so hush-hush even he didn't know. A spokesman for the Pennsylvania attorney general tells us that it's still a mystery. "I'm not aware of anyone who has claimed ownership of him," spokesman Nils Frederiksen tells the Loop. "He's obviously good at keeping secrets."
An attorney for Spanier, who's facing charges that include perjury, endangering the welfare of children and obstruction of justice, did not immediately return our call.