Mitt Romney to attend Little Rock fundraiser


LITTLE ROCK — Mitt Romney is scheduled to visit Little Rock on Wednesday for a private fundraiser — his first stop in Arkansas as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

No public appearance in Arkansas is planned during the visit, a campaign spokesman said Thursday.

The event will start 4:15 p.m. with a series of receptions at the Peabody Hotel, followed by a dinner at 6 p.m. at the Capital Hotel, according to an invitation. The dinner is $50,000 per couple. Invitations began arriving in the mailboxes of Republicans on Wednesday, a source said.

Guests who wish to attend a general reception must pay $2,500 per person. A photo reception is $10,000 per couple and a “Chairman’s Reception” is $25,000 per couple.

Special guests will include Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.; and Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro; Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock; and Steve Womack, R-Rogers, according to the invitation.

“We are certainly excited about him coming to Arkansas,” Doyle Webb, state Republican Party chairman , said Thursday. “It shows how important he views the state.”

Webb said Romney’s planned visit “certainly contrasts with President Obama, who has not been in Arkansas since he has been president, nor was he in the state when he was campaigning for president. The last time that he was in the state was when he was a United States senator and he was campaigning for the election of Gov. Mike Beebe in 2006.”

Obama lost to Republican John McCain in Arkansas in 2008 by 20 points. Webb said the party expects Arkansas “to deliver the largest margin of victory to the Romney-Ryan ticket of any state.”

Candace Martin, spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, said that Obama’s decisions about which states to visit are up to his campaign.

“I think the thing that Chairman Webb fails to notice is that Mitt Romney — and especially his running mate Paul Ryan, who authored the plan to end Medicare as we know it — doesn’t resonate well with Arkansas families and is certainly out of touch with the everyday values of our lives.”

The fundraiser is being organized by Romney Victory, a joint fundraising committee that includes Romney for President and the Republican National Committee. The campaign’s state finance co-chairs are Claiborne Deming, chairman and former CEO of Murphy Oil; Warren Stephens, chairman, president and CEO of Stephens Inc.; and John Tyson, CEO of Tyson Foods.