Vern Buchanan to host Mike Johnson’s first major fundraiser as Speaker

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s first major fundraiser will be hosted in Florida by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

The Nov. 27 event is expected to raise at least seven figures. It comes as questions surround the new House leader about whether he can raise the resources necessary for Republicans to retain control of the House next year.

Buchanan, a Florida Republican, has hosted numerous fundraisers for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) at his Longboat Key estate. The event this month will benefit the Johnson Leadership Fund. That’s a joint fundraising committee that will benefit Mike Johnson for Louisiana, Johnson’s American Revival PAC and the NRCC.

Johnson last month emerged as House Speaker after a 22-day leadership struggle following the historic ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Before his ascension to Speaker, Johnson served as Vice Chair of the GOP conference in the House, making him a low-ranking member of leadership.

Johnson’s re-election campaign for his Louisiana district had more than $1.1 million. American Revival, Johnson’s chief leadership PAC, closed the third quarter with just over $83,000 in cash. The Johnson Leadership Fund had a paltry $2,500.

By comparison the Congressional Leadership Fund, spearheaded by McCarthy for more than a decade, wrapped the quarter with upwards of $17.8 million. Johnson has endorsed that PAC in the 2024 election cycle, POLITICO reports, ensuring some continuity in donors. But there’s a hunger among GOP donors for Johnson to prove his own fundraising chops.

Buchanan could be a useful ally in that regard. The wealthy Republican raised more money for congressional Republicans last cycle than any member not serving in leadership. At the time, he was a contender to chair the House Ways and Means Committee, though he lost that race to U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican. Notably, Johnson serves on the GOP Steering Committee and supported Buchanan over Smith for the gavel.

Max Goodman, a political advisor to Buchanan, said the November fundraiser is expected to raise at least $1 million for Johnson.

The event includes a 5 p.m. reception, which requires contributions of at least $1,000 to attend as an individual and $2,500 to represent a PAC. A photo with the Speaker runs $10,000. To attend the dinner will run $25,000 a plate.

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