If House Majority Whip Steve Scalise hadn’t already announced that he won’t challenge John Bel Edwards for governor next year, his fundraising activities would have told the same story. His latest numbers, released Friday morning, have national ambitions written all over them.
Like every other House member, Scalise is up for reelection this fall. But his fundraising activity shows he’s a lot more focused on helping the Republicans keep control of the chamber than on his own race in Louisiana’s heavily Republican 1st District.
According to an email sent out by Scalise’s political team, the congressman has raised over $10 million this cycle from all 50 states. Just in the second quarter of 2018, he hosted 74 events with other Republicans. He’s already transferred $3 million to the National Republican Campaign Committee and plans to send over an additional $1 million. On top of that, he’s donated nearly $1 million to individual candidates.
These are all things that leaders typically do to help their colleagues, and to help themselves.
With House Speaker Paul Ryan retiring, Republicans are gearing up for a possible battle over who will replace him as the party’s congressional leader. Scalise has said he won’t openly challenge current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but the fight will play out behind the scenes. So practically speaking, he may soon be out there seeking support from the very people he’s helping now.
All those millions he’s raised should pay for a lot of campaign ads. They may also buy a lot of loyalty.