Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are set to team up for a series of fundraising events throughout the summer, a move that could buttress McCarthy’s bid for leadership of House Republicans after Ryan’s retirement.
The arrangement, first reported by The Washington Post, will see Ryan and McCarthy headline fundraisers for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC endorsed by House GOP leadership, and Protect the House, a joint fundraising committee between McCarthy, Vice President Mike Pence, and dozens of other House Republicans.
Ryan and McCarthy will appear at CLF events in Illinois, New York, DC (twice), Pennsylvania and Texas over the next two months, the group’s spokesperson Courtney Alexander told CNN. The duo will also appear at Protect the House events in Florida, DC and Texas over the same time frame, according to Ryan spokesman Jeremy Adler.
McCarthy is among the top contenders to lead House Republicans after Ryan, who announced his plans for retirement in mid-April, though the California Republican faces several other GOP House members who’ve positioned themselves to also seek the top spot such as Majority Whip Steve Scalise and conservative House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan of Ohio.
The decision to fundraise jointly with Ryan coupled with Ryan’s apparent endorsement of McCarthy last month is likely to further cement McCarthy’s favorite status, particularly among the party’s most influential donors.
The stretch will also be a crucial test for House Republicans as they attempt to transition leadership in what looks to be a punishing election cycle. House Democrats outraised their top Republican challenger in the majority of CNN’s key House races in the first fundraising quarter of 2018, underscoring the GOP’s challenge.
McCarthy also has some big shoes to fill — Ryan has been a prolific fundraiser for House Republicans in his time as speaker. In the 2018 cycle alone, Ryan has raised over $54 million — with over $11 million of that in the first quarter — and transferred over $40 million to the National Republican Campaign Committee.
CLF, meanwhile, is set to be among Republicans’ top assets in the brewing fight. The group has raised over $40 million in the 2018 cycle so far and spent over $18 million while engaging in some of the high-profile special elections that have occurred in places like Georgia, Montana, Pennsylvania and Arizona. The group has said it plans to raise over $100 million for the 2018 midterms.