House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) wrapped up a record fundraising quarter last month, gathering more than $22 million for House Republicans, and is now set to get involved in a high-profile race where Democrats are hoping to start cutting into the GOP majority.
According to a House political aide with knowledge of the plans, Ryan taped a get-out-the-vote robo-call set to reach Republican voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where the GOP is hoping to hold on to the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
A script for the call was not immediately available, but Ryan is not expected to endorse a particular candidate in the fractured Republican field.
Democrats, meanwhile, have coalesced around Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional aide who has benefited from national interest in the race — raising a remarkable $8.3 million for a suburban Atlanta seat that has been in GOP hands since 1979.
Ryan’s political operation has raked in the bucks, too. The $22.4 million his Team Ryan joint fundraising committee collected in the first three months of 2017 outstrips the $17.2 million he raised in that period last year — an election year.
“Paul Ryan continues to be a political force in the Republican Party, breaking records at every turn,” Kevin Seifert, Ryan’s political director, said in a statement. “The level of support we’ve seen over the first three months of 2017 has been truly remarkable — and I can tell you Paul is very grateful. Bottom line, people are excited about the Republican agenda and what these bold reforms will do to get our country back-on-track.”
The vast majority of the funds will go to other Republican candidates. Of the $22.4 million total raised, $16.4 million went to the National Republican Congressional Committee — which has already spent about $2 million on the Georgia race and made a last-minute $100,000 investment to help the GOP candidate win a Kansas special election Tuesday that turned out to be much closer than expected.
More than $1 million more went from Ryan’s political committees to nearly 150 individual House candidates.
Ryan’s Prosperity Action PAC donated $5,000 to the victor in the Kansas race, Representative-elect Ron Estes, in February and more recently sent a fundraising email on his behalf. But the Georgia special election set for Tuesday could be the best indication yet of how secure Ryan’s GOP majority will be going into the 2018 midterm elections. National Democrats and grass-roots progressive activists alike have sought to make the race a referendum on Donald Trump’s young presidency, and an outright win by Ossoff could signal that it could take much more than money to help Republicans keep the House next year.