Republican officials are increasingly concerned about their ability to raise money for the 2022 midterm congressional elections as corporations distance themselves from GOP lawmakers who challenged the results of the presidential election.
Some GOP officials are privately expressing alarm about how they’re going to make up for drops in big money donations in House races, according to people briefed on the matter. These people spoke to CNBC under the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely.
Several companies have said they would at least temporarily halt donations to Republicans who objected to Joe Biden’s certification as the winner of the presidential race.
Fundraisers for House Republicans said they have been flooded with calls asking where certain GOP representatives are going to find contributions to replace the corporate donations that they may not ever get back, these people added.
“I think you can safely say that Republican House incumbents who have relied on business PACs are facing difficult situations,” said a longtime GOP fundraiser who recently helped Trump’s campaign.
Republicans are discussing several tactics to rejuvenate their fundraising prospects, including making a strong push with corporate executives themselves, according to one of the people.
This could get them around the hurdle of company political action committees ceasing their contributions. CEOs could then give either maximum contributions to campaigns and affiliated committees, or an unlimited amount to House Republican super PACs.
Fundraisers are expected to make an extra push for donations from corporate leaders such as Steve Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone; Ken Griffin, the founder of investment giant Citadel, and Paul Singer, the president of investment giant Elliot Management. These three executives alone combined to give over $100 million to GOP causes during the previous election cycle.
Representatives for Singer and Griffin did not respond to requests for comment on their future fundraising plans. A spokesman for Blackstone declined to comment. It remains unclear whether these executives are interested in engaging in such a campaign for their support.
There’s also a push to improve WinRed, the online Republican fundraising platform and counterpart to the Democrats’ ActBlue, one of the people said. WinRed processed over $1.9 billion in contributions in the 2020 cycle, compared with the longer-established ActBlue’s $4.8 billion. WinRed launched in 2019.
WinRed will have to improve its data component in order to better target donors who may at the moment be more amenable to backing former President Donald Trump than helping Republicans win back the House next year, according to a fundraiser close to a senior Republican Wall Street executive.
Trump is expected to use his leadership PAC, Save America, to mainly promote his future political endeavors rather than help other Republicans, including those running for reelection in the House. The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, Trump’s two joint fundraising committees and Save America recently raised over $200 million.
Others are banking on corporations to come back to helping Republican candidates if Biden attempts to strengthen business regulations.
Some GOP officials said that the corporations’ decisions to pause donations came at a good time since it’s an off year between election cycles.
Dozens of House Republicans continued to challenge the Electoral College results after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. After the riot, which left five people dead, including a police officer, several major corporations announced that they will either stop giving to Republicans who challenged the election, or pause and reevaluate who they give to in the future. Some companies paused donations to both parties.
Companies who said they will halt campaign contributions to lawmakers who voted in favor of challenging the electoral results include AT&T, Amazon, Best Buy, Verizon, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Nasdaq.
Many of these companies through their political action committees gave to Republican House candidates during the 2020 election cycle. Some of the corporations combined to give over $350,000 in 2020 to a group of the GOP objectors, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Republicans up for reelection next year who received contributions from these companies include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Reps. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, Devin Nunes of California, Elise Stefanik of New York and Richard Hudson of North Carolina.