Politics

Ryan Credited With Raising Nearly $90 Million Over 2016 Cycle

Speaker transferred more than $40 million to NRCC

Speaker Paul D. Ryan's fundraising and campaigning prowess helped the GOP keep their losses in the House to a minimum. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan raised nearly $90 million in political contributions for House Republicans over the 2016 cycle, far more than past speakers, his political director said in a memo Thursday. 

The memo from Kevin Seifert, executive director of Team Ryan, the speaker’s political arm, outlined Ryan’s efforts throughout the election cycle to bankroll and campaign for House Republicans. 

“Speaker Ryan poured himself fully into supporting his colleagues,” Seifert wrote, describing the Wisconsin Republican’s “exhaustive efforts to bolster his colleagues and secure the foundation for advancing conservative solutions.”

The nearly $90 million figure the memo touts includes $52 million in direct contributes to the Team Ryan joint fundraising account, more than $20 million that the speaker raised for members and candidates’ campaigns, and money raised through National Republican Congressional Committee digital and direct mail programs bearing Ryan’s name. 

Ryan transferred $40.6 million of the funds he raised over his first year as speaker to the NRCC to distribute across down-ballot races. That is significantly more than the $21.9 million former Speaker John A. Boehner transferred to the NRCC in the 2012 presidential cycle and more than double the $16.4 million Boehner transferred during the 2014 midterm cycle, both of which he raised over full two-year terms. 

In addition to his financial support for House Republicans, Ryan provided $1 million to the Republican Party of Wisconsin to help fund the party’s ground game in the state.

[Ryan to Cover 12 States Campaigning for House Candidates in August]

Wisconsin produced a few election night surprises: It re-elected Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who had lagged in the polls behind Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold for most of the cycle, and gave its 10 electoral votes to GOP candidate and President-elect Donald Trump.

Ryan has been in high demand as a fundraiser and speaker since he was named the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, though the interest in using him as a campaign asset has only increased since he became speaker.

He stumped for candidates across the country, visiting 101 cities in 31 states. In the last five weeks of the campaign alone, Ryan appeared in 66 cities in 25 states, often making multiple stops per day. 

“On the road, Ryan did business tours, fundraisers, community roundtables, site visits at key stops, joint interviews and get-out-the-vote rallies,” Seifert wrote. “Throughout the year, Paul Ryan was the kind of valuable surrogate who could fit what members and candidates needed most in their district.”

Ryan campaigned with all 23 members of the NRCC’s Patriot Program for vulnerable incumbents at least once. (Only 3 of them lost re-election.) He also visited districts where Republicans were looking to pick up seats, including Florida’s 18th, Nebraska’s 2nd, California’s 7th and 24th, and Minnesota’s 8th. The GOP flipped the Florida and Nebraska seats while coming up short in the Minnesota and California 24th seats. As of press time, the California 7th race has not been called. 

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