House Republicans set a new fundraising record in 2017, raising an eye-popping $85 million to ease what is expected to be a difficult 2018 midterm election.

The National Republican Congressional Committee told Secrets Monday that the 2017 record was $12.4 million more than the previous best “off-year” period, in 2003.

And, showing the strength of its operation, it was $22.8 million more than the last off-year period in 2015 when the NRCC raised $62.25 million.

Credit goes to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been on a non-stop campaign to raise money and pitch the House GOP agenda, NRCC Chairman Rep. Steve Stivers, who has energized the outfit’s fundraising operation, and even President Trump who headlined the group’s major 2017 fundraising dinner and who has pledged more help this year.

“Our goal from day one of the 2018 cycle was to have a strong off-year fundraising performance and we’ve done just that, smashing record after record,” Stivers told Secrets.

“We now head into 2018 in great shape thanks to the tremendous work done by Speaker Ryan, House leadership and members, and our finance team,” added the south central Ohio lawmaker and brigadier general in the Ohio Army National Guard.

Some details:

  • The NRCC has a whopping $43.6 million cash on hand and ready to spend to elect House Republicans. That is $13.5 million more cash on hand than in 2015.
  • The 2017 March fundraising dinner featuring Trump raised a record $30 million.
  • Digital fundraising accounted for 16 percent of the NRCC’s total amount raised in 2017.
  • Email fundraising grew by over four times compared to the last off year, $5.79 million in 2017 compared to $1.36 million in 2015.
  • Virtually all House members contributed to the NRCC.

House Democrats and the media have suggested that the GOP faces a troubled midterm landscape and that Democratic control of the chamber, which would make Rep. Nancy Pelosi the speaker again, is certain.

But Stivers has mocked those predictions and believes that the recently passed tax reform plan will boost the GOP’s chances.

He has dubbed the 2018 campaign the theme “The Great American Comeback,” and said, “We have the right issue set. We’re going to run on the Great American Comeback and it’s coming. It’s going to involve making sure we have a strong national defense, making sure that our economy is growing so that the forgotten people that came out and voted in 2016 can come out of the shadows get a job, raise their family and comeback into what is a great opportunity for them.”

Ryan also has been talking up the benefits middle class Americans will see once the tax reform bill takes effect next month.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at