Tim Huelskamp Committee Assignments 1

Top Contributors, 2015 - 2016

Ariel Corp$18,900$18,900$0
Fischer Homes$16,200$16,200$0
Kmg Tool$16,200$16,200$0
Onyx Collection$16,000$16,000$0
Russell Stover Candies$13,500$13,500$0

Top Industries, 2015 - 2016

Oil & Gas$64,697$51,697$13,000
Misc Manufacturing & Distributing$44,700$44,700$0
Leadership PACs$35,752$0$35,752

Total Raised vs. Average Raised

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NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2015 - 2016 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released electronically on 05/18/17 for Fundraising totals, Source of Funds and Total Raised vs Average, and on 02/20/18 for Top Contributors and Industries.  ("Help! The numbers don't add up...")


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The organizations listed as "Top Contributors" reached this list for one of two reasons: either they gave through a political action committee sponsored by the organization, or individuals connected with the organization contributed directly to the candidate.

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Last fall, Rep. Tim Huelskamp banded together with a group of fellow conservatives to push John Boehner into early retirement — payback after the former speaker booted Huelskamp off the Agriculture Committee, his rural district’s most prized panel in Congress.

Now the Kansas Republican is fighting for his political life against a conservative challenger who’s campaigning as a pragmatic alternative and tagging Huelskamp as a “career politician” incapable of delivering for his district. And in an only-in-D.C. twist, the Freedom Caucus member is pleading with Boehner’s replacement, Paul Ryan, to save his hide by reinstalling him on the Agriculture panel.

Story Continued Below

The episode marks an unexpected moment in the evolution of the Freedom Caucus. The roughly 40-strong group of conservative agitators that drove Boehner out of office has long demanded that leadership stay out of House primaries; now some members of the caucus are desperately seeking Ryan’s help in a Republican vs. Republican contest. But it also shows how quickly even the most anti-establishment Republican incumbent — Huelskamp was first elected in the 2010 tea party wave — can be recast as a creature of Washington in a GOP primary.

The situation has created a management headache for Ryan, who’s under heavy pressure from Huelskamp and his Freedom Caucus allies to publicly commit to reinstalling the congressman on the prized committee next year.

Conservatives say that when Ryan was locking down support last fall to become speaker, he promised to back Huelskamp’s effort to rejoin the panel. An announcement from the speaker now, they say, would boost Huelskamp’s bid to keep his seat because his opponent, Roger Marshall, reminds voters at every turn that the incumbent no longer has a voice on agriculture issues.

“Speaker Ryan many months ago said he wanted Tim Huelskamp back on the committee, and I think it’s important that we recognize that that’s the speaker’s desire,” Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a brief interview. “The speaker’s opinion of wanting Mr. Huelskamp is extremely important, not only to us because it’s what the speaker told us, but to the voters in [Huelskamp’s] home state.”

Ryan has been noncommittal in response. He knows that if he grants this favor, others in tough reelection battles will want similar treatment. GOP leaders also believe it’s premature to be talking about committee assignments four months before an election in which Republicans are expected to lose seats.

“After accepting the speakership, Speaker Ryan told all members that they were starting with a clean slate, and he meant it,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. “These assignments will ultimately be decided by the steering committee at the end of the year,” referring to the panel that decides committee makeups.

Huelskamp’s office would not comment on the record for this story. But the request comes as Huelskamp’s opponent Marshall, a physician, has closed in on the incumbent, tightening the gap to a 1-point margin, according to Marshall’s own internal polling.

Huelskamp is racking up a roster of conservative endorsements, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the National Rifle Association and the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. And the conservative Club for Growth super PAC recently launched a $200,000 TV ad attacking Marshall.

But the race is competitive financially: Huelskamp has raised $517,000 in the cycle to date, with $836,000 cash on hand, while Marshall, who’s partially self-funded his campaign, has raised more than $700,000 in the cycle to date, with $483,000 in cash on hand.

The Kansas Farm Bureau and a handful of other agricultural lobbying groups have sided with Marshall, endorsing the first-time congressional candidate over Huelskamp.

“We’re not interested in backing somebody who’s going to throw bombs all the time,” said Aaron Popelka, spokesman for the Kansas Livestock Association, which is backing Marshall. “It’s interesting that Tim runs this anti-establishment campaign when he’s been a 20-year politician, so I would argue, he is the establishment, just a different faction of the establishment.”

It’s unclear whether Ryan endorsing Huelskamp to rejoin the agriculture panel would make a difference. Boehner, after leading the effort to boot Huelskamp, sought to reinstate him the following Congress. But members of the Steering Committee didn’t want him on the committee, saying he was too hard to work with on sensitive legislation like the farm bill.

That means Huelskamp, who has met with Agriculture Committee members on the matter, too, has some work to do with the rest of his colleagues.

“If the speaker pulled out all the stops and begged, bribed and threatened the Steering Committee on Huelskamp’s behalf, then he would still have zero chance of getting back on Ag,” said one Steering Committee member who asked not to be named in order to speak freely. “He’s burned more bridges than J.E.B. Stuart,” referring to the Confederate Army general.

The Steering Committee, which is composed of members of leadership and other top lawmakers, takes a secret vote to pick panel assignments. But the speaker, with four votes, has disproportionate sway.

In 2012, Boehner initiated the Steering Committee’s effort to strip Huelskamp and Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) from their prized committee spots for bucking leadership during tough votes when it needed them most.

It was the first time in nearly a century that Kansas had no representation on the Agriculture Committee.

When Ryan sought to become speaker last fall, meeting with Freedom Caucus members to gauge how to gain their support, the group brought up these specific retaliatory tactics as one thing that needed to change.

“It was explicit when he was running for speaker,” Meadows recalled, with Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), another Freedom Caucus member, seconding his comments during the interview. “We talked about how the fact that Tim, one of the most knowledgeable guys on Ag, should be on the Ag Committee. And him not being on the Ag Committee is politics… He said he’d support him.”

The speaker’s office would not comment on this specific conversation but said Ryan has always felt that members should sit on the panel that best suits their expertise.

Huelskamp first approached Ryan in mid-May to go public with the alleged commitment after his primary opponent started skewering him for being kicked off the panel. The issue heated up when Huelskamp returned to his district to campaign during the July 4 recess. Marshall brought up the matter during back-to-back debates.

“We’ve been without that voice for three years,” Marshall told the packed room. “Tim’s chances of getting back on the Ag Committee is next to none. … I can get on the House Ag Committee. [Huelskamp] says he can, but that’s a gamble that Kansas is not going to take.”

Huelskamp responded that he’d be reappointed. And since Ryan had not granted his request to back him publicly, the lawmaker decided to tell voters himself that Ryan told him he “deserves” to be on Agriculture.

Marshall told POLITICO that Huelskamp has become ineffective in Washington. “My grandma had a saying: Once a man loses his reputation, he never gets it back. The congressman has lost his reputation and he has absolutely no voice in Washington anymore.”

After one local newspaper reached out to the speaker’s office to confirm Huelskamp’s claim and received a noncommittal statement from Ryan, Freedom Caucus members decided to get involved, too. They brought up the matter to Ryan on the House floor and during meetings last week as soon as members returned from recess, according to several sources.

But Huelskamp has a problem beyond Ryan: Members of the Agriculture Committee and national farm groups still see him as a polarizing, unlikable figure after he sided with hard-line conservatives on the farm bill in 2012 and 2013.

“The farm bill was just one of many areas [in which] Huelskamp was not able to represent our interests. And in the ag world, changes to the farm bill can make or break a farming operation,” said Katie Sawyer, a fourth-generation Kansas farmer and consultant at Herd Communications.

Still, Huelskamp, who repeatedly calls himself a “fifth-generation farmer,” is hoping he can keep his seat by claiming to be the “true conservative” in the race.

“I’m the outsider, and Roger Marshall is running as the insider peacemaker, and that’s not playing well at home,” Huelskamp said.

Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Helena Bottemiller Evich contributed to this report.

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