Lilly & Company client makes bid for Ag ChairJuly 2nd 2014
7/2/14 5:01 AM EDT
Mike Conaway has quietly emerged as a Republican rainmaker, building some major political capital in advance of his likely run for chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress.
The Texas Republican has helped bring in more than $800,000 for other House GOP lawmakers in the second quarter of 2014 alone, according to a preview of fundraising numbers shared with POLITICO and confirmed by sources in the Republican fundraising world.
Though grass-roots conservative stalwart Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) also has been mentioned as a potential candidate, Conaway already is thought to be the favorite to take over for Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) when he is term-limited out of the Agriculture Committee chairmanship at the end of this Congress. But Conaway hasn’t likely hurt his chances by holding events that benefit both top party leadership as well as rank-and-file backbenchers and emerging as a major contributor to GOP efforts to expand the party’s majority.
“We help folks in a variety of ways,” said the five-term congressman, who also now has the difficult job of chairing the House Ethics Committee. “I go to their fundraisers. We give them money directly. We give money to the [National Republican Congressional Committee]. Primarily the fundraising and other efforts are aimed at keeping the House under Republican control. If it works to help with the chairmanship, that’s great.”
Conaway’s second-quarter fundraising haul includes almost $230,000 for new members of the House Agriculture Committee at a June event at the Capitol Hill Club. He also organized an event benefiting House Speaker John Boehner back in Texas and appeared with the speaker at another agriculture event that netted $115,000 for the party.
Additionally, Conaway’s helped raise $53,000 for the NRCC’s Young Guns candidate recruitment program, and $21,000 for the committee’s Patriot program — an incumbent protection effort designed to assist vulnerable members.
Other events include an appearance with Rep. Tom Rice in South Carolina that raked in more than $60,000. He’s also kicked in nearly $40,000 from his own campaign and leadership PAC to other Republican causes and candidates in the second quarter.