December 5th, 2023
By Joshua Solomon
ALBANY — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s goal of raising at least $100 million to bolster Republicans in New York received a $1 million boost from Speaker of the House Mike Johnson during an event at a Manhattan steakhouse over the weekend.
“I will be back in New York often to ensure we work to raise the funds necessary to protect and expand our House Republican majority,” Johnson said in a statement.
Stefanik, the GOP conference chair, has pieced together a number of fundraising efforts in recent months for New York ahead of next year’s election. The 11 congressional seats Republicans won in New York last year are widely credited with providing the GOP its narrow majority in the House.
“New York will decide the House majority in 2024 and thanks to Speaker Johnson’s strong leadership, we will be victorious,” Stefanik said in a statement.
The fundraiser, first reported by the New York Post, kicked off efforts for the new “Grow the Majority NY” joint fundraising committee. It is set up through Johnson’s campaign and the American Revival PAC, which is affiliated with the speaker, who is from Louisiana.
Grow the Majority NY is set to distribute its funds to Stefanik and other New York House Republicans, including U.S. Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Andrew R. Garbarino, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Nicole Malliotakis, Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams, Nick Langworthy and Claudia Tenney.
The joint fundraising committee, according to federal filings, is also signed up to support the NY Republican Federal Campaign Committee and the “Grow the Majority Nominee Fund: NY-18.” The 18th Congressional District is the lone battleground district held by a Democrat in New York — U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan.
Notably absent from the committee, which was set up on Nov. 27, is specific fund sharing for the 3rd Congressional District, which was represented by former Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos — who was expelled from Congress on Friday.
While Stefanik voted against removing Santos from Congress, she has said she would not support his re-election campaign had he mounted one.
Stefanik has faith in Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr. in selecting who will run for Santos’ seat in an upcoming special election, according to a source familiar with the matter. It remains unclear who the nominee will be; Democrats have indicated they expect to nominate former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, who chose not to run for reelection in the district last year when he instead launched an unsuccessful primary gubernatorial campaign against Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Any funds to assist a Republican candidate for the special election to serve out Santos’ term, and also for the general election next year, would likely be directed by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Overall, Stefanik has pledged $100 million toward re-election efforts, expecting to at least match similar spending by Democrats. Federal campaign finance records reflect very little money toward the goal in the House GOP Battleground Fund account, $265,000 this year, through September. The Grow Majority NY Fund has not yet had to report money it has collected to the Federal Election Commission. Details on how much money those funds have collected should become clearer early next year.
In the backdrop of the fundraising efforts, there is ongoing uncertainty on what the state’s congressional boundary lines will be and whether any voter in New York will be able to cast their ballot by mail. Both of those outcomes, which are the subject of ongoing litigation, could have outsized effects on the nature of the campaigns and which races are viewed as particularly competitive.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is challenging the current political boundaries; a decision from the state Court of Appeals is expected later this month. Stefanik is suing Hochul over a law she recently signed to allow for no-excuse voting by mail, two years after voters rejected a similar proposition on a statewide ballot.