Ryan transfers record $7M to House GOP’s campaign arm in March

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) kept up his frantic fundraising pace in March, transferring $7 million to the House GOP’s campaign arm just as it gears up for four special elections this spring.

The March figure, which a GOP source shared with The Hill, is a record for the 47-year-old Speaker. It brings Ryan’s total transfers to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) to $16.4 million for the first quarter of 2017.

Of the $7 million March sum, $1.5 million is from Ryan for Congress, Ryan’s re-election campaign, and fulfills his March vow to match what other House Republicans raise for the NRCC.

The Republican Speaker suffered a huge setback late last month, when he and President Trump decided pull their Obamacare repeal bill from the floor amid a conservative revolt.

But Ryan allies say his record haul in March shows he’s remained an effective fundraiser for the party. The $7 million figure exceeds the $6.3 million Ryan transferred to the NRCC in March 2016, which was a record at the time. It also tops his predecessor’s record transfer as Speaker: John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent the NRCC $2.8 million in June 2012.

“A year and a half ago, Paul Ryan became speaker with virtually no political infrastructure. Since then, he has established a national political operation that can be put up against anyone else,” Kevin Seifert, executive director for Team Ryan, said in a statement. “Team Ryan was built around the Speaker’s focus on policy and his ability to articulate a positive, conservative vision for America.

“This remains the focus and in the early part of 2017, Ryan has been humbled by the interest in the Republican agenda – to enact bold reforms and get our country back-on-track.”

Ryan’s transfers give NRCC officials a fundraising boost as they seek to retain control of four seats that had been occupied by Republicans before Trump tapped them for his Cabinet.

They are Montana’s at-large seat, previously held by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke; Georgia’s 6th district, previously held by now-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price; Kansas’s 4th district, previously held by now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo; and South Carolina’s 5th district, previously held by now-Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

In 2017, Ryan’s fundraising stops have taken him to eight states and 18 cities, where he’s held 82 meetings and events.

Most of these events are held in the congressional districts of his GOP colleagues. During a multiple-day swing through Texas, for example, Ryan met with Rep. Will Hurd in El Paso; Rep. Blake Farenthold in Corpus Christi; Reps. Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, Kay Granger, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant and John Ratcliffe in Dallas/Fort Worth; and Farenthold, as well as Reps. Brian Babin, Kevin Brady, John Culberson, Bill Flores, Michael McCaul, Pete Olsen, Ted Poe and Randy Weber in Houston.