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EXCLUSIVE: Accumulating resources as he aims to win back the House of Representatives majority in November’s midterm elections, House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy brought in an off-election year record $72.4 million in fundraising in 2021.
McCarthy’s total for last year includes $11.4 million in fundraising the past three months, which is a record for the fourth quarter of an off-election year.
While Republicans lost the White House and their Senate majority in the 2020 elections, they defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ large House majority. The GOP now needs a net gain of just five seats in the 435-seat chamber in this year’s midterms to recapture the majority it lost in the 2018 election.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
“As we begin an election year, the contrast couldn’t be starker. While Democrats are retiring and running for the exits at an historic pace, Republican candidates and voters are rallying behind our mission to retake the House,” McCarthy emphasized in a statement.
Taking aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the majority Democrats, McCarthy stressed, “I’m confident we will fire Pelosi and convincingly elect a Republican majority in the People’s House.”
The House GOP leader’s team spotlighted that digital fundraising generated significant grassroots support last year, with more than 106,000 unique donors contributing over $6 million, with an average donation of $25.24. And McCarthy’s advisers said that his FirePelosi.com TV and digital campaign “has resonated with the base and motivated email signups and small dollar donations.” They shared that more than 49,000 people had signed up with roughly $130,000 raised.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Nov. 4, 2021. (Craig Hudson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
McCarthy has distributed much of the money he’s raised, with $25.3 million transferred last year to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the House GOP’s reelection arm.
McCarthy also infused $150,000 to each of the 57 House Republicans facing potentially challenging reelections this year, for a total of $10 million invested into the incumbents’ campaigns. And McCarthy also transferred $3.3 million to state Republican parties in states were there are crucial House races at play.
As they aim to regain the majority, Republicans have history on their side. On average the party that wins the White House in a presidential election loses more than 25 House seats in the ensuing midterm election. Democrats are also currently facing a difficult political climate.
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to the audience at his political retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Team McCarthy)
And last month’s major setback for President Biden and congressional Democrats in their push to pass a sweeping social spending bill, along with the five-month downward spiral of the president’s poll numbers, are also doing House Democrats no favors as try to retain the majority in November.
Thanks to a surge in announcements the past two months, 26 House Democrats have now said they’re retiring at the end of this current term, or bidding for another office, rather than run for reelection. That’s twice the number of House Republicans who are not running for reelection.
House retirements are often seen as an early barometer of things to come in the midterms. The last time the House flipped, amid a blue wave in the 2018 midterms, there were 23 GOP retirements compared to just 10 among House Democrats.
Competitive seats become even more vulnerable without a well-known and well-financed incumbent running for reelection.
“My message to voters is clear: you deserve a Congress that listens and institutes policies to improve your quality of life — and when Republicans regain the House majority, we will deliver exactly that,” McCarthy pledged in his statement.