June 25, 2024

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Questions over fundraising dog new US House Speaker

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In 22 days, US House Republicans ousted their best fundraiser and replaced him with one of their weakest.

Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, displayed singular backroom skill to emerge as the consensus candidate for the Republican party on Wednesday, after Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and Tom Emmer tried and failed to succeed the toppled Kevin McCarthy.

But Johnson, a Christian conservative from a relatively poor district in north-west Louisiana, lacks relationships with big donors who helped fuel the Republican takeover of the House in the 2022 midterm elections. He now faces the daunting prospect of protecting the party’s tiny majority in the lower chamber in 2024.

“Never met him or had a call from him,” said an adviser to a Republican megadonor. “I had to read his Wiki page, as I knew absolutely nothing about him.”

The questions over the relatively unknown House Republican’s ability to raise money come as the party tries to recuperate after an unprecedented, chaotic process to elect a new leader.

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Since winning a competitive primary to become the Republican candidate for his district in 2016, Johnson has been a below-average fundraiser. The typical House member raised about $3mn in the 2022 election cycle; Johnson raised less than half of that, according to OpenSecrets. In 2022, he barely cracked the top 300 of 435 incumbents.

For a member of leadership, the contrast is even starker. In his entire congressional career, Johnson has raised only $5.5mn — about half of what McCarthy’s personal campaign account has on hand.

Johnson’s donors are tied to local interests, including the oil and gas industry, healthcare providers, and contractors. But an affiliated political…



2023-10-28 08:00:38

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