Freshman dues are based mostly on whether the Member holds a plum committee post — a new situation for Republicans given the unprecedented number of freshmen with top assignments. Cole said the freshmen on “A” committees are expected to transfer or raise almost twice as much for the NRCC as their colleagues.
Dues collection is dreaded by some House Members, many of whom have to fundraise millions for their own tough campaigns each cycle but nonetheless are persistently nudged by their colleagues to help pay for other races.
Cole said about 30 Members have already paid their off-cycle dues in full, including many Members on the dues whip team.
West, a prolific fundraiser in his own campaign, paid all of his dues before today’s push, according to an NRCC aide. But even he could not withhold his disdain for the process. “That’s the part of this thing I don’t really care for,” he said of fundraising, describing it as “the mother’s milk” of winning elections.
West nonetheless told Roll Call that he distributed his first dues letter to colleagues last week. “I see it as me encouraging people, not being a drill sergeant,” he said.
The 30 members of the dues whip team — composed of 15 freshmen and 15 more senior Members — are charged with collecting money from five to eight of their colleagues. If a Member isn’t persuaded, he will have to answer to Republicans higher up the House leadership ladder until he agrees to pay.
“Just pay up front,” Cole warned. “You really don’t want to be in front of John Boehner explaining why you can’t do what 100-plus other people are doing.”
Brady and Cole were tasked with leading the dues drive last cycle.
“Members are the NRCC’s biggest donors and fundraisers, and it’s important for every Republican Member to have skin in the game to strengthen the Republican majority,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said.