He has been the most prolific fundraiser in House Republican history.
The unprecedented ouster this week of Speaker Kevin McCarthy raises plenty of question marks for the House GOP as it aims to hold its fragile majority in the chamber in the 2024 elections.
‘It will 100% be a setback,’ predicted a Republican in McCarthy’s political orbit, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.
A GOP strategist involved in congressional races, who asked for anonymity, warned that ‘House Republicans are going to need to pick up the pieces quickly of what was the most impressive fundraising organization we have seen in politics if they want to be successful in 2024.’
The speaker’s removal has already caused a ripple in the GOP’s fundraising efforts. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the main fundraising arm for the House GOP, will postpone a fall gala that was scheduled for next week that McCarthy was slated to headline, Fox News confirmed Wednesday. Organizers said Republicans needed to focus on electing a new speaker instead.
McCarthy, a former state lawmaker from California who was first elected to the House 17 years ago and who’s been in GOP leadership in the chamber since 2009, long had a reputation as a top Republican fundraiser, even before he became speaker.
As minority leader, McCarthy helped party defy expectations in the 2020 elections by taking a big bite out of Democrats’ House majority — despite Democrats winning the White House. He personally hauled in $150 million in the last election cycle to help Republicans win back the House majority.
But after Republicans gained the House majority in last November’s midterms, McCarthy still had to secure his party’s backing as he clawed his way through an historic 15-ballot speakership election over five days at the beginning of the year.
That fight set back fundraising efforts, but McCarthy quickly made up for lost time as he hauled in an eye-popping $12.3 million at his first major fundraiser, which was held in early February at a downtown D.C. hotel.
As speaker, he hauled in a whopping $62.5 million during the first six months of the year through the McCarthy Victory Fund.
‘It is a huge question mark,’ said another Republican operative who works on House races. ‘He’s a very prolific fundraiser. He was our best asset in that arena.’
The operative, who also asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, noted that ‘it’s really hard to know that the practical impact will be. We don’t know who the next leader is going to be and what their fundraising capacity is like.’
While the GOP captured the House majority last year, hopes of a red wave never materialized and the party is holding onto a fragile 222-213 majority (currently 221-212 with seats in a red district and a blue district currently vacant. That means Democrats need a net gain of just five seats to win back control of the chamber next year.
‘I intend to make sure that we gain and keep the majority in the next cycle,’ McCarthy vowed at a news conference on Tuesday after he was booted from the speakership.
Veteran Republican strategist and former National Republican Congressional Committee national press secretary Jesse Hunt noted that when it comes to fundraising going forward, ‘there seems to be a pretty good existing apparatus there, and I’m sure McCarthy and members of the current leadership will try to help make the transition as seamless as possible.’
While Republicans focused on the 2024 House elections acknowledge the ousting of McCarthy’s a distraction, they counter that they still enjoy an ‘amazing’ political environment, with leading issues such as the economy, border security, and crime that polling suggests favors the GOP.
‘We have a message that works and Joe Biden’s unpopular. We have a lot going for us,’ the Republican operative said.
They also point to their 2024 recruitment class ‘that’s on the field already,’ which McCarthy had a hand in shaping.
‘We’ve got good pieces on the chess board and we’ve got a good message to talk about,’ the operative added.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.