The 2018 election cycle is barely underway and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan has already set a torrid fundraising pace in his bid to keep Republicans in the majority after the coming midterms.
Committees affiliated with Ryan (R-Wis.) transferred $3.4 million to the National Republican Campaign Committee for last month, eclipsing the previous January record of $2.5 million that Ryan set last year as the election loomed.
The January haul shows that even in the age of President Trump, Ryan remains a prodigious fundraiser with deep ties to the GOP donor base.
“2017 and 2018 are about delivering results for the American people, and Paul Ryan is ready to meet that challenge head-on and get America back on track,” said Kevin Seifert, executive director of Team Ryan, the speaker’s political operation. “It’s encouraging that many across the nation feel the same way.”
The $3.4 million stands as the fifth-highest monthly transfer from a Republican speaker to the House Republicans’ campaign arm. Ryan helped the NRCC raise about $200,000 more by signing the committee’s direct-mail pieces.
All told, since becoming speaker, Ryan has raised nearly $45 million for the NRCC.
Ryan and the NRCC beat expectations in 2016, losing only six seats in a year when Democrats expected double-digit gains. But they face an even tougher task in 2018 with a Republican president in the White House. The party holding the presidency has lost seats in every midterm election since 2006.
Democrats are sensing opportunity: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC’s counterpart, announced Thursday it was hiring full-time operatives in 20 Republican-held districts across the country in order to harness grass-roots opposition to Trump.
But Republicans will maintain significant advantages in geography, demographics and sheer numbers: They hold a 24-seat advantage in the House, and GOP candidates won 1.3 million more votes than Democratic candidates in 2016.
“As we start 2017, Paul is not slowing down and neither are his supporters,” Seifert said. “He is deeply appreciative of the support and invigorated by the sheer enthusiasm from Americans all across the country.”