Steve Scalise just re-learned to walk a few months ago after a near-death experience in a shooting last June. But the House majority whip isn’t letting mobility challenges stop him from hitting the campaign trail.
The Louisiana Republican in a closed-door GOP conference Wednesday announced that he would be transferring $1 million to the House GOP’s campaign arm. That’s after wrapping up a seven-day swing through Florida, his home state of Louisiana and Texas all the way up to the mid-west for colleagues trying to hold their seats.
It’s a change of pace for Scalise, who’s spent much of the past eight months either in the hospital room recovering from being shot in the hip or zooming around the Capitol in his electric scooter. In recent weeks, Scalise has started walking to and from House votes, leaning heavily on crutches and wearing tennis shoes that he jokes probably break the chamber’s strict dress code.
But Scalise’s political operation says their boss isn’t letting his ongoing recovery from the baseball practice shooting slow his campaigning for his colleagues.
Indeed, Republicans face a daunting task in their battle to keep their House majority. Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have already established themselves as fundraising giants who will be key to supporting battleground territory.
Now Scalise’s new star-power — he’s now known as a survivor and a fighter — will no doubt also be an asset in campaigning.
Sources close to Scalise told POLITICO that numerous House Republicans have requested the whip’s presence at campaign events in the coming weeks and months. He’ll soon be travelling to Texas, Florida, New York, California, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
In February, Scalise traveled to help out Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-area Republican in one of the most vulnerable seats in the country. He flew to Missouri to attend events with Rep. Ann Wagner, a close ally, and Indiana for incumbent Reps. Susan Brooks and Larry Bucshon. Also on his February itinerary: Drew Ferguson’s district in Georgia and David Kustoff’s turf in Tennessee.
Earlier this month he was also a special guest at the RNC’s winter meeting in Palm Beach, Fla. and recently also gave introduction speeches at the New Mexico GOP nominating convention and the Harris County Lincoln Day dinner in Texas. He’s also active with Mike Pence’s PAC fundraising, his political team says.
At home, Scalise’s campaign operation is also working on a new digital infrastructure presence they say has raised $100,000 in six months, 10-fold the amount they raised through such means last cycle. Donors, Scalise aides say, have come in from all 50 states.