By Russell Berman - 05/23/12 09:00 AM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has raised more than $70 million for Republicans since winning the Speaker’s gavel, easily topping his fundraising haul for the previous two years in the minority.
The total, disclosed in a memo provided to The Hill by Boehner’s political office, puts the Speaker in elite fundraising company as he leads the GOP bid to keep the House majority this fall.
Boehner’s total so far eclipses that of the House Democrats’ fundraising juggernaut, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). As of May 1, Pelosi had brought in $43.4 million for Democrats since the beginning of 2011, a spokeswoman said.
At a similar point in 2010, then-Speaker Pelosi had raised $28.5 million for Democratic committees and candidates, according to a report at the time in The Washington Post.
Pelosi is seen as perhaps the biggest Democratic fundraising draw next to President Obama, but Boehner has also proven to be effective in his perch as the nation’s top elected Republican official.
While political analysts say it is currently a long shot for Democrats to gain the 25 seats they need to recapture the majority, Boehner in recent weeks has publicly and privately warned Republicans not to become complacent. He estimated last month the GOP has a 1-in-3 chance of losing the House, and in a subsequent closed-door meeting with his members, said the comments “were intended to wake up Republicans about the fight ahead.”
“The Republican House majority has made real progress, but there is still much to do,” Boehner spokesman Cory Fritz said. “As we continue the fight to cut spending, repeal ObamaCare and stop job-crushing tax hikes, Speaker Boehner is doing everything in his power to support our Republican team.”
The second-ranking House Republican, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), has raised about $22 million since the beginning of 2011 and transferred more than $1.5 million to the NRCC, according to data provided by Cantor's office. Cantor has held 138 events for Republican members in 23 states, his office said.
The Speaker’s four political committees have transferred more than $15 million to the NRCC, which Boehner’s office believes to be a record for either party. Boehner has traveled to 26 states outside his home state of Ohio since 2011 and attended or headlined more than 100 events, according to the memo from his office.
“Speaker Boehner is a top draw among Republican donors and the biggest supporter of our efforts to ensure the House stays in Republican hands,” NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay said.
She “provides a daily reminder to all of our supporters that the stakes are high in this election and Republicans can take nothing for granted to ensure that she never holds the Speaker’s gavel again,” Lindsay said.
Like other congressional leaders, Boehner spends many of the frequent House recesses traveling to fundraisers across the country. This week is no different. Boehner raised money on Monday in Modesto, Calif., for Rep. Jeff Denham (R) and at another event in the Bay Area — Pelosi’s home turf — according to published reports. And next week he’s headed to Iowa for an event with Rep. Tom Latham (R), a close Boehner ally who is facing fellow Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) in a match-up caused by redistricting.
Boehner raises money for himself and the party through a series of committees, although the primary outlet is now the Boehner for Speaker committee that divides contributions among his personal reelection fund, the NRCC, the Ohio Republican Party and the Freedom Project, Boehner’s leadership political action committee. Boehner’s office said his committees have directly received over $30 million in more than 180,000 donations this election cycle. Nearly 92 percent of the donations were less than $100, the memo said.
This story was updated at 8:29 a.m.