Super-PAC Backing GOP Control of U.S. House Raises Record Total

(Bloomberg) -- A super-political action committee backing the Republican Party’s attempt to hold onto its U.S. House majority in November’s elections said Thursday it raised $51 million during the second quarter and started the peak of the campaign season with $71 million in the bank.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan and the chamber’s Republican hierarchy, said the total compares with $4.6 million raised in the second quarter of 2016, the most recent similar period.

More than half of the total raised -- $30 million -- came from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, according to a CLF official who wasn’t authorized to publicly share donor details. A filing with the Federal Election Commission with such information is due Sunday.

The group, which has already been one of the top television advertisers in this year’s midterm campaign, said the second-quarter total surpassed its fundraising for the entire 2016 election cycle. Its cash-on-hand balance is nearly triple the $25 million it had at the end of the first quarter.

“Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan and Leader Kevin McCarthy in Congress, CLF continues to break fundraising records," Corry Bliss, CLF’s executive director, said in a statement. "Our donors are united in making sure Nancy Pelosi does not become speaker of the House.” Pelosi of California is the leader of House Democrats and McCarthy, also from California, is the House GOP’s majority leader.

CLF has reserved more than $60 million in advertising for the final weeks of the campaign, has opened field offices across the country, and has knocked on more than 15 million doors so far, Bliss said.

Republicans are trying to avoid falling to a historical a trend in which the party that holds the White House almost always loses seats in midterm elections, and to stave off what polls show is a surge in Democratic voter enthusiasm for the November election. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to win the House. Since the end of World War II, the president’s party has had an average net loss of 26 House seats in the midterm.

The House Majority PAC, which backs Democrats, hasn’t yet reported its fundraising totals, which it does on a monthly schedule. It had $16.7 million in the bank as of the end of May, according to a June 20 filing with the FEC.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.