NRSC fundraiser fuels speculation of Senate bid for Daines in Montana

National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Vice Chairman Rob PortmanRob PortmanVulnerable House freshmen passed most bills in decades, analysis finds Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage Is crumbling Trump: 'Very disappointed' GOP senator dropped support MORE (Ohio) will headline a Capitol Hill fundraiser this month for Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), according to an invitation for the event obtained by The Hill.

The event is the latest sign that Daines is seriously considering a run for the Senate — and that national Republicans are hoping he'll mount a campaign.

Daines has been giving the race serious consideration ever since Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusChina moves to lift ban on US beef Overnight Healthcare: Zika fight stalls government funding talks | Census finds big drop in uninsured | Mental health bill faces wait Glover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft MORE (D-Mont.) announced his retirement in late April, and Montana Republicans say they see him as their most likely standard-bearer for the seat.

The freshman lawmaker has picked up his fundraising pace significantly since Baucus’s announcement.

Daines raised $430,000 in the last three months, a big jump from the $250,000 he brought in during the first three months of the year. Those are impressive numbers for a House member representing a safe seat — and an indication that he’s readying a possible Senate bid.

Portman, the NRSC’s vice chairman in charge of fundraising, has deep connections with the party’s donor base and will likely help Daines further swell his campaign war chest.

The fundraiser is scheduled for July 17 on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. Donations are set at $500 per person and $1,000 per political action committee to attend, while hosts pay $2,500.

The race for Montana’s open seat will be crucial in the battle for Senate control. 

Democrats are hoping former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) runs. Early polling shows a tight race between Schweitzer and Daines if both jump in.