By Molly K. Hooper - 09/29/10 11:58 PM EDT
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday persuaded his GOP colleagues to pledge millions of dollars to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), according to lawmakers.
Boehner pledged to give $1 million if members of his conference vowed to deliver $3 million.
Within 35 minutes, the NRCC had raised more than $4 million in pledges from members, including Boehner’s check for $1 million.
Boehner has contributed nearly $2 million to the NRCC, in addition to hundreds of fundraising events for candidates and GOP challengers this election cycle.
Lawmakers in the room explained that members were excited to make Boehner live up to the million-dollar challenge.
Republican Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Hal Rogers (Ky.), Tom Price (Ga.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Doc Hastings (Wash.), Robert Aderholt (Ala.), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Buck McKeon (Calif.), Candice Miller (Mich.), Steven LaTourette (Ohio), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) and Aaron Schock (Ill.) were among those lawmakers who stood up to pledge six-figure sums.
With the majority of the House at stake, both parties are leaning on their members to pony up.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has strongly pressed her troops for money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Former NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) called the amount of pledges in one day “unprecedented.”
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) met with House Republicans and nearly two dozen House GOP hopefuls Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Club.
“He talked about how he had stood up to a lot of special interests, put a budget forward that was constitutional and balanced and eventually got his Legislature to accept it. As a consequence, New Jersey has worked its way out of a fairly severe budget deficit, and that was a lesson for all of us going forward,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told The Hill.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) praised the plainspoken governor’s address.
Christie, according to King, said, “If you could have a heavy governor from New Jersey getting national attention because he’s just doing his job, imagine what will happen to you guys.”
King, the top-ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said his neighboring state’s governor refrained from discussing the 9/11 mosque controversy that attracted headlines over the summer.
Last month, Christie was the most prominent Republican to speak out against both parties for turning the issue into a “political football.”
Cole said Christie should consider running for president.
“Members were really excited. Christie is certainly already an emerging star — if we’d had a straw poll, he’d be the guy running for president. He was really good,” Cole said.
Christie’s name has been mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential hopeful, but he has shot down the speculation.
Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston (R) said Christie was the best speaker the conference has heard from in a long time.
“Put it this way: Based on so many of the speeches here, it’s like going from your child’s guitar recital to hearing Eric Clapton.”
Told of the excitement about Christie’s address to Republicans, Garden State Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell was unimpressed.
“Ho hum,” Pascrell said.