Politics on the Rocks in Arizona Capitol Times

Politics on the Rocks

Former Speaker of the House Kirk Adams (center) and his wife JaNae greet current House Speaker Andy Tobin during a Politics on the Rocks event May 29 at The Mint in Scottsdale. (Photo by Ryan cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Twenty years ago, the idea of politicians using social media to befriend potential constituents or create fans would have been regarded as ridiculous, preposterous and downright embarrassing.


But that is what’s happening today in the world of social media/political networking. And Politics on the Rocks has capitalized on that trend by organizing high-profile cocktail parties for Republicans and promoting them primarily through social media such as Linked-in, Facebook and Constant Contact.


At the events, Republicans can meet and size-up local and national party leaders such as John McCain, Jeff Flake and Newt Gingrich in an informal setting at top-notch venues such as The Mint in Scottsdale and the Phoenician in Phoenix. Speakers give 10-minute talks (nothing scripted) and no teleprompters are allowed, which might rule out some speakers.


“It’s different when you meet your congressmen. People can meet them and decide for themselves,” says Charles Jensen, founder of Politics on the Rocks.


Jensen says attendance ranges depending on the time of year from 200-1,000 and the board of directors has a list of 50,000 social media contacts that it also uses to promote the events, which change place from month-to-month.


Jensen says he began Politics on the Rocks five years ago so Republicans could meet the movers and shakers of the party face-to-face. Past speakers include Ron Paul and Michele Bachman.


Jensen says he and his board do not profit from the events. It is strictly a forum to share views and strengthen the party. “And Democrats are invited as well,” he adds.


“We’re not out for glory or for our own egos. We’re out to make a difference,” Jensen says.