House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are scheduled to join in hosting big-money fundraisers across the country over coming months, an unusual arrangement that could both boost Republican coffers ahead of the November midterm elections and also solidify McCarthy’s bid to succeed Ryan as speaker.
The events, at least eight of which are scheduled, will benefit either the Congressional Leadership Fund, the biggest GOP super PAC focused on House races, or Protect the House, a joint fundraising committee helmed by McCarthy and Vice President Pence.
This month, Ryan and McCarthy are scheduled to headline CLF fundraisers in Illinois and New York, plus a pair of D.C. events, while the duo will also host a Protect the House event in South Florida. Next month, Ryan and McCarthy are set to attend CLF events in Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as Protect the House events in D.C. and Midland, Tex.
Typically, the top House leaders in both parties maintain separate fundraising schedules as they work to build their own relationships with top party donors while ascending the political ranks. The decision by Ryan and McCarthy to join forces just weeks after Ryan announced his retirement and endorsed McCarthy to succeed him sends a strong signal to those donors that McCarthy is the heir apparent.
Ryan said in a statement the House Republican leadership was “working in lockstep” as November approaches: “Working together, we’re going to keep our majority and I’m looking forward to hitting the road with Kevin in the months ahead to make that happen.”
In a statement, McCarthy harked back to the days of the “Young Guns” — the trio of Ryan, McCarthy and former congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who became the young new face of House Republicans after the GOP lost the chamber in 2006. “Having Paul join Protect the House events will take this partnership to new heights as we will look to continue the record-breaking work that will give our members across the country a better opportunity to win in November,” he said.
Protect the House has raised $5 million since it was established in February, sending most of it to the National Republican Campaign Committee and to roughly two dozen of the most vulnerable GOP House members, as well as the Great America Committee, a pro-Trump super PAC chaired by Pence. The group raised thousands more Monday in California, where Pence joined McCarthy at a Beverly Hill fundraiser.
CLF, meanwhile, is expected to raise upward of $100 million for the 2018 election cycle and has already emerged as one of the biggest outside spenders in the series of special House elections that have taken place in the past year.
“We are honored Speaker Ryan and Leader McCarthy will be traveling across the country and appearing together at several events over the next two months to ensure Republicans protect the House majority,” said Corry Bliss, the CLF’s executive director. “Thanks to their leadership and commitment, both the Congressional Leadership Fund and Protect the House will continue to break fundraising records.”
McCarthy’s chief potential rival for the speakership, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), is also shaking the money tree this week. While Scalise has publicly pledged to support McCarthy, he could emerge as a contender if McCarthy is unable to persuade enough House Republicans to back him as the top GOP leader.
Just two weeks after undergoing surgery to aid his recovery from the gunshot wound he suffered at the hand of a would-be assassin last year, Scalise is hosting events in Chicago for his Scalise Leadership Fund this week and also hosting a separate event in Springfield, Ill., for Rep. Rodney Davis, a downstate Republican facing a tougher-than-usual race this year in a GOP-leaning district.
Scalise’s group has raised over $7 million for the cycle, which has been transferred in turn to the NRCC and to Scalise’s political committee, where it can be doled out to other vulnerable Republicans.