Kevin McCarthy Ousted as Speaker, Mike Johnson Takes Over Amid Fundraising Uncertainty

Skylar Hawthorne

Updated Monday, October 30, 2023 at 5:11 AM CDT

Kevin McCarthy Ousted as Speaker, Mike Johnson Takes Over Amid Fundraising Uncertainty

Kevin McCarthy, the former Speaker of the House, has been unexpectedly ousted from his position and replaced by Mike Johnson, a relatively unknown congressman from Louisiana. This surprising development has caused uncertainty among House Republicans, especially in terms of fundraising.

McCarthy's political operation has been highly successful, raising an impressive $78 million in 2023 alone. In contrast, Johnson has only collected approximately $608,000 in campaign funds. Throughout his entire congressional career, Johnson has managed to raise a total of $6.1 million, significantly less than McCarthy's impressive fundraising numbers.

The decision to replace McCarthy with Johnson has raised concerns among party members, particularly due to the stark difference in their fundraising capabilities. McCarthy has been responsible for raising 10% to 25% of campaign money for vulnerable House Republicans this year. His transfers to the party's House campaign committee amount to more than 25% of the $70.1 million raised so far this year. McCarthy has also played a crucial role in raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the House GOP's main super PAC.

Johnson, on the other hand, has reached out to the president of the Congressional Leadership Fund and visited the headquarters of the National Republican Congressional Committee in an attempt to play a significant role in fundraising. However, his hard-line positions on social issues, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and a strict anti-abortion stance, may affect support from moderate party financiers.

McCarthy's fundraising success is not easily replicable due to his specific methods. He has bundled large numbers of contributions before distributing them to his colleagues, ensuring that some members received up to 25% of their fundraising from him. For instance, Rep. Brandon Williams received $336,000 from McCarthy-linked committees, approximately one-quarter of his total fundraising. Similarly, Rep. John Duarte received roughly $402,000 from McCarthy's operation, more than 23% of his total fundraising.

The future of McCarthy's efforts to support Republican challengers running against Democratic incumbents is now uncertain. Additionally, the National Republican Congressional Committee has trailed its Democratic counterpart in fundraising this year, further complicating the financial landscape for Johnson.

One of the challenges Johnson faces is his lack of a significant large donor network. McCarthy spent over a decade building donor relationships, which has contributed to his fundraising success. In contrast, Johnson's campaign account has received less than $300,000 in donations of less than $200. Furthermore, Johnson has not been a fixture on the Washington fundraising circuit and has not chaired a standing committee.

To navigate these challenges, Johnson is expected to receive assistance from Rep. Steve Scalise, a prominent figure within the Republican Party. However, Johnson's office declined to comment on the matter. Jeff Miller, one of McCarthy's top money men, has pledged to help Johnson, but some in Washington have expressed skepticism about his ability to fill McCarthy's shoes.

With Johnson's unexpected rise to the speakership, the South's influence in shaping the party's agenda and determining control of the House has become more significant. Johnson is the first Southern Republican to lead the House since Newt Gingrich in the 1990s. Southern politicians, including Johnson, will play a crucial role in shaping national policy conversations.

Johnson's hard-line views on social issues, such as his anti-abortion stance and opposition to same-sex marriage, will now be on a national stage. These views could potentially impact the upcoming presidential race as voters decide between divided government or one-party control. Conservative priorities pushed by House Republicans, guided by Johnson, could become a wedge for Democrats as they seek to hold the White House.

It is important to note that House Republicans currently hold a razor-thin majority of 221-212. The GOP presidential nominee is expected to perform well in Johnson's native Louisiana and the Deep South. However, the South's influence could also pose a risk to the party's majority, making Johnson's role as speaker even more critical.

As Johnson takes on the challenge of uniting the conference and appeasing conservatives who orchestrated McCarthy's removal, key figures like McConnell and Scalise will play a vital role in guiding him and navigating internal divides. Louisiana, Johnson's home state, will also gain newfound prominence in national policy conversations.

The unexpected ousting of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House and his replacement by Mike Johnson has created uncertainty among House Republicans, particularly in terms of fundraising. McCarthy's impressive fundraising capabilities and extensive donor network will be challenging to replicate. Johnson's hard-line views on social issues and his lack of a significant large donor network are additional obstacles he will need to overcome. The South's influence in shaping the party's agenda and the potential impact on the upcoming presidential race adds further complexity to the situation. Johnson's ability to unite the conference and navigate internal divides will be crucial as House Republicans face limitations in pushing their priorities under President Biden and Democratic control of the Senate.

Republican Bias:

Here we go again, folks, the liberal media is in a frenzy over the unexpected change in the House leadership. The former Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, has been replaced by Mike Johnson, a conservative champion from Louisiana. The liberal media is quick to point out the fundraising difference between the two, ignoring that Johnson is a man of principle, not a puppet of big donors. McCarthy may have been successful in raising funds, but it's clear that he was more interested in pleasing the elites than serving the American people. Johnson, on the other hand, is not afraid to stand up for conservative values, even if it means ruffling some feathers in the donor class. His hard-line positions on social issues, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and a strict anti-abortion stance, illustrate his commitment to conservative values, not just his bank account. The media's focus on fundraising shows their misplaced priorities, valuing money over principles. The future of the Republican party is not in the hands of big donors, but in the hands of true conservatives like Johnson who aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

Liberal Bias:

In a shocking turn of events, House Republicans have ousted Kevin McCarthy, a proven fundraiser and leader, and replaced him with Mike Johnson, a relatively unknown congressman from Louisiana with a disturbingly hard-line stance on social issues. This is a clear sign of the Republican party's continued lurch to the right, prioritizing ideological purity over practical leadership. McCarthy was responsible for raising significant funds for the party, but it appears that his ability to bring in money was less important to his colleagues than Johnson's extreme conservative views. Johnson's opposition to same-sex marriage and his staunch anti-abortion stance are not just out of step with mainstream America, they're a clear indication of the GOP's willingness to alienate moderate voters in favor of appeasing their conservative base. This move is likely to further polarize our political landscape, and could potentially damage the Republican party's chances in upcoming elections. It's a clear indication of the GOP's refusal to adapt to changing social norms and their continued commitment to a divisive and harmful agenda.

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