Amid concerns among Republicans that Paul Ryan's retirement announcement will harm his fundraising abilities, the House speaker has defended his decision to stay in his position through Election Day, insisting that he will be able to concentrate on raising even more money for the party's efforts now that he doesn't have to focus on his own reelection effort in his Wisconsin district, Politico reported on Tuesday.
"He is still committed, until the end of his term, to raise resources and help the common cause," said Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas in summarizing Ryan's message in a closed-door meeting with GOP colleagues.
"Matter of fact, he noted that since he won't be campaigning in Wisconsin, he'll have more time to raise money."
Texas Rep. Mike Conaway added that "he's scheduling additional fundraisers over the summer because he will not be back in Wisconsin as much. He's going to take advantage of that time to raise more money for folks who need that."
One Republican donor told Fortune that there is concern that donors will shift their focus to the Senate following the news of Ryan's departure.
This worry adds to a GOP that is already facing an uphill battle to retain control of the House. Historically, the party in the White House loses seats after a president's first two years in power, and President Donald Trump's polarizing personality is expected to exacerbate that, in addition to a wave of retirements by House Republicans.
Ryan has emphasized that he's raised more than any speaker - and that no other Republican can top his money machine, according to Politico.
Some point out that the fundraising question could become the key factor in whether Ryan stays through the entire year, because if he is unable to continue raising the sums he has in the past, there could be increased pressure to have an early vote to replace him.
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