GOP Leaders: Member Money Could Make Difference in Winning Majority

Posted June 23, 2010 at 11:51am

House Republican leaders told their Members on Wednesday that the only thing standing between them and a House Republican majority is money and that if they want to win seats in November they better pony up the funds.

Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) pledged $1 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Battleground” fundraising effort, according to sources inside the closed-door meeting of the GOP Conference.

“I’m all in,” Boehner said, according to a House GOP source. “This is the moment. This is the year.”

Boehner told Members that they did not have to match Democrats “dollar for dollar” but Republicans “need to be in the ballpark.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had raised more than $19.5 million from Members through May 26, according to a report obtained by Roll Call.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), one of the five Members who co-chair the Battleground effort, pledged $100,000 and said funding the program was vital because the competitive playing field is so wide, according to the sources inside the Wednesday morning meeting.

“We have candidates in 422 districts right now,” Royce told Members at the Conference meeting, according to sources. “If all of us stepped up to the plate … we would wrestle the gavel from [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s [D-Calif.] hands and give it to John Boehner.”

The NRCC kicked off the biennial Battleground program last week. Its goal is to raise $20 million over the next three months and use it to fund TV advertising in competitive races.

Each Member has been asked to raise a certain amount of money for the program based on several factors, including the Member’s vulnerability.

Individual assessments, or goals, for rank-and-file lawmakers range from $100,000 to $150,000 and from $200,000 to $400,000 for committee ranking members and senior party leaders.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), another co-chairman of the effort, pledged $250,000 and said, “The only thing preventing us [from winning back the House] is your money.”

“The will to win has to be present here,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said in his remarks to Members.

John McArdle contributed to this report.