House Speaker John Boehner had a message to all those wondering if he's planning to run for his leadership post after the midterm elections: "I'm all in."
"I told my colleagues two weeks ago I was all in. When I'm all in, I'm all in," Boehner told reporters on Tuesday after his weekly meeting with House Republicans.
To hammer home that point, the Boehner emphasized to his members his commitment as top fundraiser for House GOP candidates. His continued efforts to pull in money from his three different campaign committees signals to his allies, as well as those who might want to challenge him in the fall, that he's not planning to retire.
Over the course of the 2014 election cycle Boehner has raised more than $88 million for House Republican incumbents and challengers, according to a senior House GOP source familiar with the speaker's political activities.
At the closed-door meeting across from the Capitol, Boehner told GOP lawmakers he's writing a check this week for $1.5 million from his Ohio re-election campaign account to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Over the last two years, Boehner has transferred more than $17 million to the NRCC.
Part pep rally, part shake down, Boehner and other top leaders made an aggressive pitch at the weekly breakfast with GOP members that they need make up the fundraising gap between the GOP campaign and its Democratic counterpart, according to multiple Republican sources who attended the meeting. Even though Republicans control the House, which usually translates into a bigger fundraising record each quarter, the NRCC has consistently trailed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2014 campaign cycle. As of this month, House Democrats have roughly $45 million to spend on the fall campaign, and House Republicans have about $35 million.
Rep. Greg Walden from Oregon who chairs the House Republican campaign arm, has set a goal of electing a total of 245 House GOP members - which means the party would need to pick up a dozen more seats than it currently holds in the House. The number of competitive House districts is fairly small - about 50 seats out of 435 - so Walden's goal is ambitious, but top leaders backed it at the Tuesday meeting, and warned it wouldn't happen unless members stepped up and opened their wallets.
Boehner plans to hit the road in his campaign bus during the month-long congressional recess in August, traveling 6,000 miles to 14 states on behalf of Republican candidates. To date, Boehner has headlined more than 150 events and cut more than $1.4 million in checks directly to GOP candidates, the senior aide told CNN.
Top House GOP leaders and committee chairs are expected to help raise big money for GOP incumbents and challengers.
One of the reasons the incoming House Majority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy from California, easily won last week's leadership election to fill Rep. Eric Cantor's number two slot, which he is leaving after his primary loss in Virginia, was his close relationships with scores of members he helped elect. McCarthy recruited and raised money for most of the House Republicans elected in the last two elections. On Wednesday, McCarthy pledged $1.5 million to the House campaign GOP committee.
Two House Republicans who may be eyeing leadership spots in the next Congress also made significant pledges at Wednesday's meeting. House GOP budget chair Paul Ryan from Wisconsin announced he would give $1 million, and so did Rep. Jeb Hensarling from Texas.
Rep. Billy Long from Missouri, who worked as a professional auctioneer before he was elected, stood up and began calling out amounts, taking pledges from other House Republicans to give to the Republican midterm campaign effort. A group of Ohio Republicans, led by Boehner ally Pat Tibieri, added a total of $3 million to the NRCC's coffers.