Nation: House GOP Kicks Off ‘Battleground’ Program

Posted July 15, 2008 at 6:37pm

House Republicans kicked off their annual “Battleground” program at their weekly Conference meeting Tuesday morning, with party leaders and rank-and-file Members cutting more than $2 million in checks that will benefit the effort to regain seats in the November elections.

The fundraising program — being headed by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas) — is aimed at directing millions from Members’ accounts to the National Republican Congressional Committee in order to fund TV advertising buys down the stretch. The overall goal for the program is $12 million.

The NRCC has been cash-strapped this cycle and faces a massive cash-on-hand deficit compared to what House Democrats have collected to put toward their election efforts.

Boehner and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) both cut $500,000 checks at the Tuesday morning meeting. NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) announced that he is halfway to his $500,000 goal.

Rep. Geoff Davis (Ky.) gave $200,000, while Rep. Wally Herger (Calif.) gave $150,000, as did Rep. Hal Rogers (Ky.). Herger is vying to become the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee in the next Congress.

Rep. Phil English (Pa.) stood up and told his fellow Members that he was contributing $15,000 toward his $150,000 goal and made a point of noting that he was giving despite the fact that he faces a difficult re-election race. In fact, a poll that was released Monday showed him trailing his opponent by 1 point.

Others who contributed Tuesday include GOP Reps. John Shimkus (Ill.) for $100,000; Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) for $100,000; Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.) for $100,000; and Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) for $70,000.

Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) made a $500,000 commitment, while Rep. Howard McKeon (Calif.) pledged $200,000.