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EXCLUSIVE: House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy‘s record-breaking marathon speech earlier this month that forced Democrats to delay final passage of their massive spending bill not only won him praise from former President Trump, it also helped fuel his already formidable fundraising.
The longtime lawmaker from Bakersfield, California, raised more than $400,000 in contributions from more than 18,000 online donors in the handful of days after his eight-and-a-half-hour speech that lasted from the evening of Thursday, Nov. 18, into the following morning – the longest floor speech in House history.
McCarthy’s political team, which shared the fundraising figures first with Fox News on Tuesday, said that more than $100,000 was hauled in in the hours immediately after the conclusion of the House GOP leader’s speech. And it also shared that roughly $17 million was hauled in by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) at its annual fundraising dinner, which this year was held Nov. 8 in Tampa, Florida, and headlined by Trump.
The funds brought in at the House GOP reelection arm’s fundraiser, as well as the post-speech fundraising, will support Republicans running in the 2022 midterm elections, when the party needs a net gain of just five seats to retake the House majority that it lost three years ago. And McCarthy’s spreading of the wealth when it comes to his robust fundraising should also pay dividends in his quest to succeed Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.
McCarthy’s hauled in $57.8 million during the first nine months of 2021, an off-election year record for Republicans. “Kevin McCarthy has been our number one fundraiser, not just this cycle but last cycle,” NRCC chair Rep. Tom Emmer emphasized when the fundraising figures were first reported by Fox News in October.
The House GOP leader’s team spotlighted that McCarthy transferred $19.4 million during the first nine months of the year to the NRCC, $8.3 million directly to GOP incumbents in highly contested seats, and $2.3 million to Republican state parties.
“Kevin McCarthy is doing all the right things to retake the House, including raising a record amount of money. Republicans are focused on winning big so there is no doubt who will take the gavel,” a senior GOP aide told Fox News. “It’s no secret that raising record amounts of money to take back the House is one of the surest ways to foster support among GOP members and candidates.”
McCarthy’s team says the House Republican leader this week becomes the first to launch a national ad blitz.
In the spot, which will help raise funds for GOP candidates running in next year’s midterms, McCarthy charges that “one year of Democrat control of Washington” has led to “shortages, inflation, crime, chaos, division and failure.” And speaking directly to the camera, he tells supporters that “together we can stop Joe Biden’s disastrous agenda. We can end one-party rule, fire Nancy Pelosi, and take our country back.”
The ad by the McCarthy Victory Fund, which the House GOP leader unveiled during a Monday evening interview on Fox News’ “Hannity,” will run on Fox News, Newsmax, OANN and conservative radio.
McCarthy’s House floor speech won him a compliment from the former president, who remains extremely popular and influential with Republican voters and politicians as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in party politics and teases a 2024 White House run.
“Great job by Kevin McCarthy last night, setting a record by going over 8 hours of speaking on the House Floor,” Trump said in a statement the following day.
But late last week the House GOP leader came under attack from freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a Trump loyalist.
“We know that Kevin McCarthy has a problem in our conference. He doesn’t have the full support to be speaker,” Greene said on a podcast hosted by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, another strong Trump supporter. “He doesn’t have the votes that are there, because there’s many of us that are very unhappy about the failure to hold Republicans accountable”
Greene’s laid out a list of demands for McCarthy for him to earn her support for speaker. Among them were kicking anti-Trump GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois out of the House Republican Conference, and stripping moderate Republican Rep. John Katko of New York – a McCarthy ally – of his ranking position on the Homeland Security Committee due to his vote to impeach Trump and his support of the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Days earlier McCarthy had pushed back against calls by some far-right House Republicans to punish the 13 GOP lawmakers who voted for the infrastructure bill.
Hours after her comments criticizing McCarthy, Greene tweeted that “I just got off a good call with @GOPLeader. We spent time talking about solving problems not only in the conference, but for our country. I like what he has planned ahead.”
Regardless, the initial criticism from Greene was a sign of the increasing frustration some Trump loyalists in the House have with McCarthy. That could be a serious problem for McCarthy in his bid to secure the speaker’s gavel if Republicans win back the House in next year’s midterms. There are roughly 40 members of the far-right and devoutly pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus, which was instrumental in denying McCarthy the speakership in 2015.
Not grabbing the same amount of headlines but also a concern for McCarthy is the feeling by some House GOP moderates that the House Republican leader is taking them for granted as they question whether he’s embracing what they consider the far-right extremists of the party.
One way of minimizing opposition to his bid for the speakership is by heavily investing resources in order to win big in 2022.
“Transferring money to party committees or donating money to fellow Republicans campaigns is not only an important way to strengthen relationships, but it sends a clear signal to the rest of the caucus that you’re making the Republican majority a top priority,” longtime GOP strategist Brian Walsh noted. “Historically you’ve seen successful leaders in both parties do that.”
Walsh, a veteran House and Senate GOP communications director, pointed out that McCarthy has “recruited a lot of these folks, he’s developed relationships with them. This is making clear he views their success as a priority, which in any business helps that relationship.”