Mike Johnson embraces powerful McCarthy-aligned super PAC

Mike Johnson embraces powerful McCarthy-aligned super PAC

Freshly minted Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Monday that he is “wholeheartedly” endorsing the Congressional Leadership Fund, keeping in place the existing infrastructure and team at the super PAC. And Johnson plans to invest significant time and energy raising money for the group, which is the largest spender in House campaigns.

His decision sends an important signal to Republican donors spooked by the chaos in the House that there will be continuity in one major campaign entity. The group’s president, Dan Conston, who was a top McCarthy lieutenant, will stay on for at least through the 2024 election. The new speaker joined Conston for CLF donor meetings in Las Vegas over the weekend, just days after securing the gavel, on a trip that coincided with the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering there.

“Dan Conston and the team at CLF are the best in the business,” Johnson said in a statement shared first with POLITICO. “And their successes over the past two cycles have proven just how essential CLF is to helping Republicans win.”

The Congressional Leadership Fund spent more than $250 million helping Republicans take back the House in 2022.

Conston has led the group since the 2020 cycle. He has extensive experience fundraising and personal relationships with key donors that have helped the group smash its own records. He is also well-known by many vulnerable GOP incumbents.

But Johnson could have chosen to elevate his own political associates over a close ally of McCarthy. The new speaker jumped to his current perch from the No. 7 House GOP leadership slot and he was not a prolific fundraiser nor did he have a large political operation to tap. He is choosing to lean heavily on the existing structure at the Congressional Leadership Fund.

The group played a role in McCarthy’s ascent to the speakership in January. The anti-tax Club for Growth, an influential conservative group, endorsed McCarthy’s bid and in return CLF agreed to refrain from spending in GOP primaries in open, safely red districts — something it did only rarely anyway. That agreement will remain intact even with McCarthy out of House leadership.

McCarthy fundraised vigorously for CLF so that it could drop millions into key House races for TV ads during the fall campaign. Johnson will have to step in to fill that role.

Go to Source
Author: By Ally Mutnick