GOP raises cash off possibility of ‘Speaker Boehner’

Holly Bailey

Until recently, House Minority Leader John Boehner was ruling out talk about his own future should the GOP gain control of Congress in November — in part because he didn't want to jinx what is shaping up to be a good election year for Republicans.

Apparently Boehner isn't so superstitious anymore.

As Politico's Jonathan Martin first reported, the House GOP is launching a major fundraising effort to brand Boehner as the face of the party. Boehner for Speaker is a joint initiative between Boehner's leadership PAC and the House GOP campaign committee. It's partly an effort to define Boehner, who is largely unknown to most of the country, before the Democrats do. (He wears sweaters! He's "a regular guy"!) But the new donor drive is also looking to boost the GOP's chances this fall by offering lobbyists and campaign donors access to Boehner in exchange for big campaign contributions.

This is pretty standard operating procedure for a party that's out of power. Before the Democrats gained control of the House in 2006, Nancy Pelosi was the star attraction at fundraisers financed by Washington interest groups looking to make contacts with a potential future speaker and her staff. That summer, House Democrats gained a major financial lead over the GOP — and that, in turn, proved a huge factor in the Democrats gaining majority control.

That's not the case for Republicans this year. Though the GOP leads in the polls, House Democrats have nearly twice as much cash in the bank. That's why Boehner and the GOP are looking to cash in now on the prospect of his winning the speaker's gavel. The access isn't cheap: Contributors who give the maximum $37,800 or help raise $100,000 are promised "meetings with Leader Boehner," and" much more."