The House Republican meltdown isn't just hobbling good governance of the country. It has also taken a severe toll on the House GOP's campaign fundraising totals.
In October, the National Republican Congressional Committee raised just over $5 million—roughly half what it raised in the same period in 2019 ($10 million) and ($9.8 million), according to Politico. A big part of House Republicans' lackluster fundraising last month was due to the chaos of the GOP conference trading in whiz-bang fundraiser Kevin McCarthy for the questionable appeal of Speaker Mike Johnson.
The delta between McCarthy's fundraising prowess and Johnson's lack thereof is proving particularly pronounced for vulnerable New York Republicans, who face tough battles next year that will play outsized roles in determining the House majority.
Politico reports, for instance, that McCarthy-aligned committees had already amassed more than $1.8 million specifically for Republican Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams, and Nick LaLota—four of whom are sitting in "toss-up" districts. Johnson-affiliated committees, by comparison, have just $12,000 in the bank.
Sure, Johnson will be working to close the gap over the coming year, but he's simultaneously facing a massive learning curve on the way to climbing an incredibly steep mountain.
As Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman of New York noted, Johnson "has to build an entire donor network from scratch" while carrying the baggage of being a virulently anti-LGBTQ+ forced-birther who helped mastermind the legal effort to overturn the 2020 election. Whereas McCarthy was a mostly vanilla pol, Johnson holds pointed positions, some of which simply aren't going to play with New York donors.
But New York is just a microcosm of the greater challenge for House Republicans. The NRCC had $37.3 million cash on hand at the end of October—roughly half its war chest of $67.7 million at the same point in 2021.
The reason these campaign committees are so important is that they can serve as a backstop for candidates who flop as fundraisers. It was a dynamic that haunted Senate Republicans in last year's midterms as the flat fundraising of the National Republican Senatorial Committee struggled to buoy its crop of pitiful MAGA candidates.
Under Johnson’s speakership, the NRCC and its associated committees and PACs are likely to begin turning in better numbers moving forward. But Democrats have already notched a distinct advantage, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raising $101.3 million year-to-date, compared with the NRCC's $75.2 million intake.
And across the board, Republicans' fundraising efforts this cycle will be dogged by the Republican Party's cratering brand, with just 59% of Republican voters viewing it favorably. That's a heckuva handicap to be carrying into 2024.