The Park Avenue apartment of Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis saw a series of star-studded visitors last week for an event to support Jeb Bush’s potential run for president.
Attendees included former Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman; Kravis’s colleagues at KKR, including Zach Pack and Alex Navab; and other big names in business such as real estate developer Jerry Speyer and George Walker IV, chairman and chief executive of Neuberger Berman Group LLC. In total, more than 40 supporters attended, according to sources who were present.
The event raised more than $4 million for Bush’s PAC Right to Rise—far more than the anticipated $100,000.
The Kravises promised guests the opportunity to meet with Bush in an informal setting and get a solid idea of his political views. According to attendees, this promise was paid in full.
The Kravis event is one of a long line of fundraisers and meet-and-greets Bush has planned in an effort to develop his network and financial capacity in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In addition to raising support, both financial and otherwise, the Bush campaign is making an effort to maintain transparency, even allowing reporters to attend a PAC fundraiser in Tallahassee earlier in the week. Bush also met with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, prompting many to believe he has Kissinger’s coveted seal of approval for a presidential run.
Given Bush’s series of high-profile events, there has been speculation that followers of Mitt Romney have been encouraged to move their support to Bush. However, the question of whether or not Romney confidant and investing partner Spencer Zwick has joined the Bush camp remains open.
Given the success of the KKR fundraiser, it’s likely that Bush’s efforts will raise a total of between $50 million and $100 million for his super PAC.