Rep. Aaron Schock R-Ill. chaired the mega National Republican Congressional Committee fundraising dinner on Wednesday night, hauling in $15.1 million for House races and boosting his national profile in the process. Schock raised $2 million of that total. I’m told that was more than anyone–except House Speaker John Boehner R-Ohio.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the keynoter–Rice and Schock are friends–and Schock, in his speech at the NRCC dinner took swipes at President Barack Obama and pitched Rice as a White House contender.
Vladimir Putin would not, Schock said, according to the prepared text of his speech, “ be contemplating these latest global power grabs if Dr. Rice was behind the desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Politico said in a story about Schock and the NRCC dinner that the dinner is “a particularly important moment for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) — the dinner’s chairman — as he becomes a more and more prominent figure in the Republican Party. The sum shows he can pull in big money for the GOP.”
The Hill said the $15.1 million was “an increase from the $14.1 million the dinner brought in last year, and a win for Rep. Aaron Schock (Ill.), chairman of this year’s dinner. He personally pledged to raise $2 million for the dinner, and NRCC Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) praised his hard work on the fundraiser.”
Schock was free to chair the NRCC dinner because his Illinois 18th congressional district seat–anchored in central Illinois–is safe. He had no opponent in the March 18 Illinois primary and faces only nominal Democratic opposition in November. Schock had the biggest balance in his own warchest of any of the 18 members from Illinois as of Dec. 31, with $3,030,807 cash on hand.
Below, text of Schock’s NRCC speech…
Remarks of Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-18)
March Dinner Chairman
National Republican Congressional Committee
As prepared for delivery on March 26, 2014
National Building Museum
One hundred and fifty four years ago this November, a one-term Congressman from Central Illinois and the Founder of our Republican Party was elected the sixteenth president of the United States. Abraham Lincoln, whose seat in Congress I am honored to hold, had seen the battle on the horizon. He knew the bloodshed would come. He understood the heavy toll that men and women of principle must pay to preserve the Union.
Despite the deep scar that slavery had cut into our national conscience, Lincoln called our forefathers to renew the contract of democracy that had been sealed immortal with the blood of patriots. He lit the torch of liberty and led the way through a dark hour in our young nation’s history.
Today, just as then, the American people are looking for leadership.
And as Republicans – it is our duty to provide it.
It is fitting that we gather tonight in this great hall. Long before it became the National Building Museum, it was here that Civil War veterans and their families could come for their help after the war was over. Around this building are depicted in marble, plaster, and stone the men in uniform, the doctors and nurses, the infantry, cavalry and quartermasters to whom our nation owed a great debt for their ultimate sacrifice.
As we gather tonight and think about the battles before us, we do well to think about this room and the high price that liberty exacts from every generation. We also do well to remember the many blessings this nation bestows upon us. How we are different. And why that difference is worth fighting for.
There is a reason why the United States of America – with less than 5 percent of the world’s population – is the most advanced of the developed nations despite our relative youth.
Not France, Greece, Spain, even Germany can boast our economic strength. They can’t claim to be the home of Microsoft or Apple. They didn’t invent the steam engine, the airplane, the tractor or the Model T.
Nearly every advance of the modern era came from the mind of an American inventor.
Our success, however, is not owed to the greatness of government, but to the goodness of our people – people who love freedom and are willing to fight for it, vote for it, and yes, even attend dinners like tonight for it.
Five years into the presidency of Barack Obama, we are fully aware that elections have consequences.
Every individual who has lost their doctor, their insurance plan, and seen their healthcare coverage become something they don’t want – is suffering the consequences.
Every man and woman who can’t find a job in the Obama economy is suffering the consequences.
Every friend . . . every ally has been suffering the consequences of an anemic foreign policy that castigates our closest friends and bows to our most hostile enemies.
The American people deserve better leadership – strong and principled leadership. And freedom loving people around the world are crying out for it.
There is no national figure who better personifies these ideals than Condoleezza Rice. Thank you Dr. Rice for being heretonight. Your party, your country and the world has benefited from your leadership.
Of course, we’re not the only one who’s glad she’s here.
I can assure you that Vladimir Putin is glad she’s here.
I doubt he’d be contemplating these latest global power grabs if Dr. Rice was behind the desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Indeed, our elections have consequences.
Speaking of elections – we have another strong leader with us this evening: our newest member of Congress from Florida’s 13th district.
David worked his heart out to win that seat. President Obama won it both cycles. Many predicted it was a lost cause for Republicans. But David was the right candidate for that race. Thankfully, he had the resources to fight it.
As the only entity in America who can legally coordinate with the candidate directly, the NRCC invested $2.7 million dollars in his race – along with 129 fellow House Republicans who contributed personally – so David could pull out a victory by 2 percentage points.
In the end, Democrats outspent us 3 to 1. Money is not everything, but it’s important. Had we not had the resources to dedicate to that race – the outcome would have been very different.
The President has made it clear he wants the House back – and at a minimum weaken our House majority. Their war chest is immense, and their resolve is growing. But that’s why we are here tonight.
Republicans will have to fight hard for every seat in every state. And the people in this room will have to invest in those races if we are going to win in November.
We’re off to a good start: I’m pleased to report that tonight’s dinner has raised a record amount: this year’s March Dinner has raised $15.1 million dollars. These resources will be key to protecting and growing our house majority. While this is the largest amount raised for the NRCC since we’ve been holding this dinner, it won’t be enough if we’re going to win big.
The American people are not going to send more Republicans to Washington unless we can show them our willingness to work hard on their behalf and have the resources to communicate our better ideas.
Teddy Roosevelt once said “life’s biggest prize is the “chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
The coming months offer us the opportunity to do just that.
Lincoln reminded us that “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”
I know you join me in saying: not on my watch, not this time.
This is our battle.
Thank you for making tonight’s dinner a success.
I look forward to winning this war with you in November.