Texas Money Floats Republican Efforts to Hold U.S. House Seats

April 29th, 2016 | Abby Livingston | The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — Jaws dropped on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago when Speaker Paul Ryan’s aides announced he raised $17 million in the first three months of this election year, much of it going to shore up re-election for his fellow GOP incumbents in the House.

But what was not immediately clear was that 20 percent of that money, $3.4 million, came from a single Ryan fundraising swing through Texas.

While the GOP holds its largest House majority in generations, that majority may be short-lived as real estate magnate Donald Trump — an incendiary newcomer to presidential politics — closes in on the GOP nomination. The fear among many campaign operatives is that his divisive presidential campaign could drag down GOP House and Senate candidates around the country.

Amid this battle, Republicans in Texas, where few congressional seats are seen as up for grabs, are positioning themselves as central to the cause of saving vulnerable incumbents. Texas Republican donors make up the second-biggest donor bloc after New York State to Ryan’s fundraising apparatus since he replaced John Boehner as Speaker of the House, according to two House GOP operatives.

“The ability of Texas Republicans to be effective in Congress is based on having at least 218 Republicans in the House,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan. “In order to do that, all of us need to chip into the pot, if you will, so we can help other people get across the line.”
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