Exclusive: McCarthy Sets All-Time Annual Fundraising Record as GOP Seeks to Retake Majority
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) set an all-time annual fundraising record for any Republican in 2019, blowing past a previous record set by former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in 2017 by $8 million.
Across his four fundraising entities, McCarthy and his team confirmed to Breitbart News exclusively ahead of the public release of this information, the GOP leader raised $52.35 million in 2019. That is over $8 million more than Ryan’s previous record in the first year of President Donald Trump’s administration, where in 2017 the now former speaker raised $44 million.
McCarthy’s four fundraising entities—Take Back The House 2020, McCarthy Victory Fund, Kevin McCarthy for Congress, and Majority Committee PAC—combined took in that $52.35 million year-to-date, the most a Republican House member has ever raised in a single year in history. A strong fourth quarter finish of $10.78 million in the last few months of 2019 helped McCarthy edge past Ryan’s previous record.
Trump told Breitbart News that this record proves McCarthy will make a strong speaker of the House, and that Republicans need to retake the majority this year to make that happen.
“We need to win back the House to retire Nancy once and for all, and to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker,” Trump told Breitbart News exclusively for this story. “Kevin is tough, loyal, and smart—he has what it takes.”
McCarthy added in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News that the 2020 election is a big picture question to Americans about what kind of country they want the United States to be—and that Republicans are competing everywhere in the nation.
“This election isn’t just about politics — it’s about what we want our country to be,” McCarthy said. “With candidates that better reflect our nation’s diversity, we will compete for every seat, in every district. Together with President Trump, we are building a Republican Party that can win now and in the future.”
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser to the president as well as a senior Trump campaign aide, also praised McCarthy in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News.
“Kevin has been a tremendous leader. His focus on recruiting a new generation of Republican candidates is reflective of the inclusive and growing Republican Party,” Kushner said. “Thanks to Kevin, the relationship between the White House, campaign, RNC and House has never been stronger.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who oversaw his own GOP resurgence in 1994 when Republicans took back the House majority in the midterm elections in Democrat President Bill Clinton’s first term, told Breitbart News he believes the Republicans will retake the House majority in 2020.
“Kevin McCarthy’s tireless work ethic has produced a new dynamic, united, and aggressive House Republican Party,” Gingrich told Breitbart News. “Thanks to his efforts, Republicans enter 2020 from a position of strength—with the necessary resources, recruits, and message to win. Kevin’s leadership, along with President Trump on the ballot are why I’m convinced this will be a one-term Democratic majority, and we will be hearing from Speaker McCarthy in 2021.”
More impressively than the new record McCarthy has established heading into the all important 2020 campaign, as Republicans embark on an effort to retake the House majority this year alongside Trump, who is seeking reelection, is the fact that McCarthy set this record from the minority. It’s almost unheard of for a party in the minority to do so well in fundraising, as it is usually easier for the party in the majority to raise big dollars.
In 2017, the previous record-setting year when Ryan was still the speaker before his 2018 retirement, Ryan raised $23.2 million in the first quarter, $10.5 million in the second quarter, $6.7 million in the third quarter, and $5 million in the fourth quarter for a then-record-setting yearlong total of $44 million.
In 2019, McCarthy blew past Ryan’s numbers, raising $23.06 million in the first quarter, $10.66 million in the second quarter, $7.85 million in the third quarter, and $10.78 million in the fourth quarter for the yearlong record total of $52.35 million. That strong second half of the year—particularly in the fourth quarter—came amid House Democrats’ push along partisan lines to impeach Trump.
After a flawed, secretive, and partisan process that began towards the very end of the third quarter in late September last year and continued through the end of 2019 into 2020, Democrats set out to impeach Trump. While they did impeach him, making him only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, the effort was historic in that it is the first and only time in U.S. history that an impeachment was purely partisan in favor—and bipartisan against. Only Democrats voted for the articles of impeachment adopted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) House Democrat majority in December before Christmas—and a month later, in January 2020, transmitted to the Senate for the ongoing impeachment trial—and all Republicans were joined by a handful of Democrats in bipartisan opposition to the impeachment push.
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), one of 30 remaining Democrats who represent districts in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in his 2016 victory, voted against both articles of impeachment. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), who represents another such Trump-won district, voted for the first article, “Abuse of Power,” but against the second, “Obstruction of Congress.” Another now former Democrat, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, actually quit the Democrat Party and joined the GOP over his opposition to the impeachment push against Trump.
McCarthy’s team told Breitbart News that part of how he has set this new record for a House Republican in fundraising is by launching an innovative text message fundraising operation. No other Republican has done as much as McCarthy has in utilizing text messages as a fundraising tool, his team noted, adding that this will be a big part of the mark McCarthy leaves on GOP fundraising for the party heading into the future.
In 2019, McCarthy raised $1 million via text message fundraising—and half a million people have opted into his text message operation, the largest of any on the right. Republicans have never tried this methodology until this cycle under McCarthy.
That’s not to mention online fundraising, where McCarthy raised another $3 million with an average donation of $31.51. He and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes—another California Republican—were the two most successful GOP online fundraisers in 2019, according to a senior GOP official.
These explosive and record-setting fundraising numbers from McCarthy come immediately after the top two outside House GOP leadership connected groups—American Action Network (AAN) and Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF)—announced on Monday significant fundraising hauls in 2019 as well.
Describing AAN’s and CLF’s 2019 fundraising successes as “a bit of a shock,” Politico’s Playbook newsletter on Monday morning revealed that the main outside organizations backing House Republicans “pulled in a combined $68 million in 2019, their largest haul ever in an off year.”
“This is so unexpected because House Republicans are in the minority, and conventional wisdom holds that they don’t have a pathway out,” Politico’s Playbook newsletter wrote about this, also noting that CLF currently has $28 million in cash on hand, “the most it has ever had going into an election year and twice as much as ever before.” CLF raised $32.6 million in 2019, Playbook reported, and combined AAN and CLF smashed through their previous record by more than $2 million.
CLF is a super PAC aligned with McCarthy dedicated solely to electing House Republicans. AAN is an advocacy group aligned with CLF, promoting center-right values. Hand-in-hand, the two groups work together toward a GOP majority in the House of Representatives. The groups were founded by GOP financier Fred Malek and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), and are where House GOP leaders direct donors who want to give more than the party’s candidates, incumbents, and party committees can accept under federal contribution limits.
Taken altogether, McCarthy’s banner year in his various fundraising vehicles and the banner year from CLF and AAN combined—mixed together with candidate recruitment and the broader map of House races in 2020—shreds the “conventional wisdom” that Politico Playbook speaks of with regard to whether the House is in play in November.
Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News in a recent exclusive interview aboard the Trump-Pence campaign bus on a road trip from Tampa to Orlando, Florida, earlier this month—for which Breitbart News accompanied him on Air Force Two from D.C. and back—that he thinks the GOP can retake the House majority.
“I really believe the real verdict will be in the fall of 2020,” Pence said as the Senate impeachment trial of Trump was beginning. “The American people will look at what we were able to accomplish with Republican majorities in the House and Senate—rebuilding our military, reviving our economy, cutting back red tape, judicial appointments. I have every confidence that what Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have been about for the last three years is only creating more momentum behind the determination of our supporters around the country to see this president reelected for four more years and reelected with a Republican majority in the Senate and a renewed majority in the House of Representatives.”
Asked in a follow-up question during that interview if he thinks Republicans can retake the House majority, Pence said, “I do.”
To retake the House majority, as McCarthy has laid out in a previous exclusive interview with Breitbart News last summer, the GOP needs to flip just a net 18 seats from Democrat control into GOP control. At the time of that interview, Republicans had needed to flip 19 seats and there were 31 districts represented by Democrats that Trump won in 2016. But since then, with Van Drew’s defection to the GOP, that has dropped the magic number of minimum necessary flipped seats down to 18—with 30 such districts represented by Democrats that Trump won in 2016.
As Breitbart News has reported, the 30 districts currently represented by Democrats that Trump won in 2016 are as follows:
Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) — Arizona’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) — Georgia’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) — Illinois’ 14th Congressional District
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) — Illinois’ 17th Congressional District
Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) — Iowa’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) — Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) — Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) — Maine’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) — Michigan’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) — Michigan’s 11th Congressional District
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) — Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) — Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) — Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) — New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) — New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) — New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) — New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) — New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) — New York’s 11th Congressional District
Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) — New York’s 18th Congressional District
Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) — New York’s 19th Congressional District
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) — New York’s 22nd Congressional District
Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) — Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) — Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) — Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District
Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) — South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) — Utah’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) — Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) — Virginia’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) — Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District
In addition to those pickup opportunities for Republicans, there are another 20 or so districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that the GOP thinks it can compete in. The first upcoming opportunity in one such district is in California’s 25th Congressional District, where a special election is upcoming in March. Now former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigned the seat last year after compromising photographs emerged of her revealing a number of ethically problematic personal relationships with staff members, setting up the early spring 2020 special election.
For that seat, Republicans have fielded the district’s former Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) in the jungle primary, and believe that Knight could easily take the seat back for Republicans after having lost it in the 2018 midterm elections to Hill. If Knight prevails, that will drop the magic number of net seats the GOP needs to flip in November to retake the majority down to just 17—without affecting that higher number of 30 such Democrats representing districts Trump won in 2016.
What’s more, as McCarthy noted in his summer 2019 exclusive hourlong interview with Breitbart News, 13 of those 30 Trump-won districts represented by Democrats are districts Trump won in 2016 by six percent or more. That makes those 13 districts, with Trump at the top of the ticket in 2020, much more likely to swing back in the GOP direction. That also means that if Knight pulls it off in March in California’s 25th District in the special election, and Republicans take back the 13 districts Trump won heavily in 2016, then the GOP would only need to win another four districts from the remaining 17 Trump districts or other battlegrounds to retake the House.
To bolster the case for retaking the majority, when it comes to candidate recruitment, Republicans are much further along in the process than they have been in other banner wave election years for the GOP. In addition to Knight in California’s 25th District, former members are running in at least two other districts—in New York’s 22nd District former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) is challenging Democrat Brindisi, and in Virginia’s 2nd District former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) is challenging Democrat Luria—giving the GOP a distinct edge in those such places.
But recruiting former members is hardly the only way the GOP is succeeding in fielding a slate to take back the House. A total of 1,017 GOP candidates have filed this cycle so far, McCarthy’s team told Breitbart News, including candidates in 388 total districts nationwide. A total of 195 of those more than a thousand Republican candidates are women, 160 of them are minorities, and 210 of them are military veterans.
At this stage in the 2010 cycle, the last time the GOP retook the House from Democrats during the midterm elections in now former President Barack Obama’s first term, only 776 candidates total had filed in only 351 total districts. And in the whole 2010 cycle, only 136 women total and only 110 military veterans total ran for the House—meaning the GOP already has more women and military veteran candidates and not all the filing deadlines have passed nationwide.
In the 2010 cycle, McCarthy ran recruitment for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)—and that nearly 800 total candidates nationwide was the most either party had put up in 30 years at the time. Now, with McCarthy at the top of the House Republicans as the minority leader and would-be Speaker, the GOP is again flooding the zone nationwide in candidate recruitment—and making a run for it.
A lot of what happens in these House races will depend on what happens up-ballot—in the race for the White House, but also in key Senate and gubernatorial races in a number of states—but as McCarthy noted in a previous Breitbart News interview in late 2019 if the GOP base shows back up in 2020, the GOP has a solid shot at retaking the majority. McCarthy noted in that December 2019 Breitbart News interview that 8.5 million voters who backed Trump in 2016 did not show up for the GOP in the midterm elections in 2018, contributing to the Democrats being able to take the majority.
But, as McCarthy said in a statement to supporters upon the release of this news of the fundraising records he just set in 2019, obtained exclusively by Breitbart News ahead of its public release, the House GOP seems as fired up as ever.
“House Republicans are united, revitalized, and prepared to win at the ballot box nationwide,” McCarthy said thanking supporters. “We enter the election year with a compelling message, well-resourced, and with the most prolific recruiting class since 2010. These factors, along with President Trump’s ability to ignite Republican turnout lead me to believe we are on the cusp of delivering another Republican revolution. Thank you for staying in the fight! Together let’s restore order to the People’s House and elect a Republican majority this November.”