Top 5 GOP presidential contenders to attend Romney's Utah donor retreat

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney may not be making a third run for the White House, but he's continuing to play a role in presidential politics as the host of an annual Deer Valley retreat that this year will feature five top GOP contenders.

Romney's E2 Summit will allow Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham to mingle with some of their party's biggest donors.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, seen as an early front-runner for the Republican nomination in the presidential race, was reportedly invited but will not attend the three-day gathering billed as a mix of "experts and enthusiasts" set to start June 11.

The retreat attracts "a cross section of influential business, political and global policy leaders," said Spencer Zwick, who raised nearly $1 billion for Romney's 2012 campaign as his national finance chairman.

Zwick, now managing partner of Solamere Capital, said the participants will be "exploring the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead with the common interest of the group being the strength and future of American leadership."

Romney first held a similar event four years ago as a fundraiser for his second presidential campaign. Since his loss to President Barack Obama, he has brought his donors to Deer Valley annually to meet with the GOP presidential field.

The former leader of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah who now calls the state home briefly considered a third presidential bid earlier this year. Romney has yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

The summit is sponsored by Solamere, a Boston-based private equity firm whose founders include Romney's son, Tagg, and Zwick. Many of Romney's top supporters are investors.

Other speakers include American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, former CBS News anchor Katie Couric, former defense secretary Robert Gates and former treasury secretary Lawrence H. Summers, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper said New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, and Obama's top campaign strategist, David Axelrod, a Democrat, will also speak. Axelrod attended Romney's 2013 summit.

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