The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $20.5 million for this year's March Dinner, its biggest fundraiser of the year. That's more than has ever been raised for the annual dinner, held Tuesday night at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney headlined the event, which drew upwards of 2,500 people. The gathering was an opportunity to lay out a positive vision for the country and the party, March Dinner Chair Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told Roll Call. "What is the Republican Party, where do we need to go, how do we convey that sense of optimism?" NRCC Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., heralded the record fundraising haul as a sign of the party's strength at the congressional level come November. "Our goal has always been to maintain and grow our historic Republican majority and with the success of this year’s dinner we are on course to meeting that goal,” he said.
The event coincided with GOP presidential nominating contests in Arizona and Utah, in which Trump and Cruz won respectively . Given the diversity of allegiances in the House Republican conference, the March Dinner wasn't tied to presidential politics. Last week, Romney announced that he'd be voting for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Utah's caucus.
But there's no doubt that Romney -- who has remained close his former running mate and Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan -- was a huge draw for donors, Kinzinger said. "People want to hear what he has to say," he added. Former Vice President Dick Cheney headlined last year's March Dinner, which raised $17.5 million.
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