New super PAC forms as Jim Banks eyes House GOP leadership role
A new, well-funded super PAC is supporting the political priorities and policy agenda of Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, an ambitious GOP House member expected to compete for the House majority whip role if his party wins power, people involved in the effort tell Axios.
Why it matters: A Banks-blessed super PAC — which plans to help his colleagues in this final stretch before the midterms — could aid his leadership ambitions.
Details: The group, "American Leadership PAC," was formed last month. Within weeks, it has raised $2 million to spend before the Nov. 8 elections, according to a source with direct knowledge of the fundraising.
- Banks, 43, already chairs the largest bloc of House conservatives. He told Axios he is "excited about the effort" and is "doing my part and everything I can to help win back the House majority."
- As a candidate for federal office, Banks is barred from coordinating with the group. But he can help it fundraise as long as he himself does not explicitly ask any donor for more than $5,000.
- The group is being overseen by GOP strategists Andy Surabian and James Blair. Surabian will be the super PAC's chief strategist.
- Surabian told Axios that Banks "truly gets how President Trump remade the Republican Party for the better," and that the super PAC will help elect Republicans who share Banks' vision of the GOP as "working-class" conservatives defending values against an "authoritarian left."
Between the lines: The super PAC may help Banks persuade his colleagues that he would be an able fundraiser for the GOP conference should he become the House majority whip.
- Fundraising is viewed as a weak spot for Banks in the whip race given he is expected to run against the chair of the House Republicans' campaign arm, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).
Banks has told allies he is "100% committed" to winning the whip race, a source said, though some of his colleagues believe he has longer-term aspirations to run for the Senate.
- The new super PAC is expected to live on beyond the midterms as Banks' preferred outside vehicle.
How it works: The super PAC plans to spend on direct mail, text messages and digital advertising in around a dozen competitive House races.
- Candidates who will likely benefit from the spending include Bo Hines (running for North Carolina's 13th District), Eli Crane (running for Arizona's 2nd District), Jennifer-Ruth Green (running for Indiana's 1st District) and incumbent members Mike Garcia (California's 27th District) and Ashley Hinson (Iowa's 2nd District).
Lachlan Markay contributed to this report.