Paul Ryan gives huge fundraising boost to House Republicans

Speaker Paul Ryan continued building a campaign war chest for House Republicans ahead a possibly treacherous midterm election, transferring another $1.5 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee in July.

The transfer brought the total the Wisconsin Republican has raised for the NRCC to more than $27 million through July 31, and represented an increase of nearly $500,000 over what he gave to the House GOP campaign arm in July of last year.

Of the $60 million the NRCC raised through June 30, Ryan was responsible for nearly half, as the committee itself ended the first six months of the year with $33.7 million in the bank. NRCC figures weren’t available for July.
“Paul Ryan is driven by a commitment to help House Republicans succeed on both the policy and political fronts,” said Zack Roday, a spokesman for the speaker’s political operation.

The speaker’s political team provided the Washington Examiner with his most up-to-date fundraising totals late last week, as Ryan prepared for Monday’s prime time town hall meeting, to be cablecast live by CNN from his Southeastern Wisconsin House district.

Ryan could face tough questions.

Democrats are sure to take issue with his legislative agenda and embrace of President Trump. Republican voters could come at Ryan from the opposition direction, complaining about the slow pace of legislative action and his occasional arguments with the president.

Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, has been a fundraising powerhouse for his members. They might need the money. President Trump’s job approval ratings are sitting just below 40 percent and the Republicans, who hold a 24-seat majority, are defending 23 seats he lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Ryan has made $23.3 million in direct transfers to the NRCC, with another $3.9 million flowing in from mail and email fundraising appeals he has signed.

The speaker also written checks worth more than $1.5 million from his leadership PAC, Prosperity Action PAC, to the campaign accounts of 166 House Republicans, and headlined fundraising events for 32 members that raised a combined $3.9 million.

Ryan also has been careful to tend to the home front.

The speaker was elected in 1998 to represent a First Congressional District that has evolved into Republican territory but started as a battleground, voting Democratic for president as recently as 2008.

That competitiveness trained Ryan to stay close to his constituents, even as he cultivated a national profile and rose through the leadership ranks. That hasn’t changed since Ryan became speaker, and could explain why he easily defeated a primary challenger in 2016 despite the anti-establishment fervor gripping the GOP.

He won re-election in November with 65 percent of the vote.

Ryan is a fixture at local party gatherings, ribbon-cuttings, and ground-breakings. He tours local businesses, walks in parades, and is active around the community with his family most weekends, which he still spends in Janesville, Wis.

Ryan’s personal congressional campaign account reported more than $10.4 million in cash on hand to the Federal Election Commission

Some of it could end up at the Wisconsin Republican Party — the speaker donated more than $1 million to the state GOP in 2016, money that helped entire party ticket. Ryan’s congressional campaign and leadership PAC have already donated to members of the Wisconsin GOP House delegation.
“In Wisconsin, Speaker Ryan is known simply as Paul — a family guy who cares about his community and works hard to solve big problems,” Roday said.

This story has been corrected to show that House Speaker Paul Ryan transferred $27 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee through June 30.