New York House GOP sees fundraising void without McCarthy cash

The former speaker was a prodigious fundraiser. Overall, McCarthy’s campaign raised more than 20 times what Johnson’s did for the 2022 cycle and the 2024 one thus far.

And his prowess was especially beneficial to his blue-state colleagues who were critical in the GOP winning the House last year.

Freshman House Republicans in New York acknowledged the void created when McCarthy was ousted from the speakership, but said they had faith that others will pick up the slack.

“Losing McCarthy is obviously a setback for our fundraising; it’s like losing a hall of famer in that category,” LaLota of Long Island said in an interview. “But there are multiple all-stars looking to step up.”

Seven New York incumbents face competitive races in 2024, per Cook Political Report ratings, and New York could decide which party has the House majority in 2025. LaLota is projected to be the safest among the seven, but his GOP colleagues D’Esposito, Lawler, Molinaro and Williams will need robust campaign war chests as they seek second terms.

Republicans are buoyed by the local election gains earlier this month, especially on Long Island, but they’re also fighting association with indicted GOP Rep. George Santos and pushing back on Democrats tying them to Johnson’s extremist views.

Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman described the new speaker in an interview as “someone for a national abortion ban with no exceptions, an architect of election denying, efforts to overturn the 2020 election and virulently anti-LGBTQ.”

Goldman predicted Republicans won’t be able to replicate McCarthy’s fundraising, saying Johnson “has to build an entire donor network from scratch because he’s effectively unknown.” (A Siena Research Institute poll released Monday found 53 percent of New York voters have never heard of Johnson or have no opinion of him.)

LaLota said Johnson’s first weeks as speaker-cum-fundraiser showed promise and cited additional progress by Reps. Steve Scalise and Tom Emmer in GOP leadership as well as Rep. August Pfluger of Texas.

The Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network said last week that they had raised $16 million in the 10 days since Johnson endorsed them, noting that the speaker was aggressively working to introduce himself to donors.

D’Esposito, also of Long Island, has stressed he doesn’t share Johnson’s stance on abortion. He also said he believes McCarthy retains considerable clout — even without the speaker’s gavel.

“He’s still going to be supportive of candidates that were supportive of him, especially in seats that he helped deliver,” D’Esposito said in an interview.

D’Esposito and Molinaro, whose district stretches across the Hudson Valley and into central New York, were the biggest recipients of McCarthy-steered cash to the five swing-district Republicans in the state. Molinaro’s campaign declined to comment.

The campaign of Lawler, a Hudson Valley Republican, also declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Williams’ campaign said the Syracuse-area representative is confident in his fundraising as well as Johnson’s.

“In 2024, the majority-makers from New York will once again prove that ‘the people’ have had enough of the ‘progressive fantasies’ of cashless bail, sanctuary cities, open borders and reckless government spending,” Taylor Weyeneth added in a statement.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Savannah Viar listed similar issues as detrimental to Democrats, saying, “Republicans’ strong fundraising effort is beside the main point: no amount of Democrats’ money will make voters forget their terrible policies.”

Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.

A version of this story first appeared in Monday’s New York Playbook. Subscribe here.

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