SALT LAKE CITY -- U.S. House Speaker John Boehner wants Utah's Republicans to open up their checkbooks.
The Ohio Republican called on Utah's top GOP donors to give a little bit more at a fundraiser held for Mia Love at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Boehner noted that in Love's race every political action committee will put their dollars behind Love's opponent, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, so the Democratic party will be able to hold on to his seat in the November election.
"Even though you've already written a check, think about writing a bigger check," Boehner said. A bigger check is more than likely what Love could be looking for by having one of the top Republicans in the nation fly out to Republican-friendly Utah to stump for her. In the latest FEC campaign finance reports Love trailed Matheson by $1 million. To defeat him Love will need all the money she can get.
Attendees at the event paid at least $500 for the lunch and some may have shelled out $10,000 for the extra VIP treatment with Boehner. The whole event was an intimate affair as it only filled up one small sectioned-off area in the hotel's grand ballroom.
Besides asking for additional funds to help Love take on Matheson, Boehner also gave his commentary on Mitt Romney's newly named running mate, Paul Ryan. Boehner said he was proud of Romney's choice; Ryan once worked on Boehner's campaign staff. But Boehner noted that Romney could have taken a safer route by selecting one of the other Republican candidates. Despite taking the more dangerous route in selecting Ryan, he said he thinks the Republican presidential ticket is doing well.
"I think Paul Ryan has brought great energy to this ticket," Boehner said.
Boehner is the first of three well-known GOP names coming to town to speak and raise money for Love. Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will hold a town hall event in West Valley City on Thursday night. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will headline a Utah County event in September. Ryan held a fundraiser for Love in Park City in June.
Utah Democrats issued a statement criticizing Love for fundraisers with some of the top GOP legislators in the country. Utah Democratic Party chairman Jim Dabakis argued that Love's need to have big-name Republicans help her beat Matheson only means that should she win, she'll be beholden to those who supported her.
"She will be a pawn in the hands of the D.C. power brokers who are paying for and running her campaign," Dabakis said. "As the globs of outside money come pouring in, it is crystal clear that Mia Love is being bankrolled by Washington insiders. Of course, these insiders will expect something in return. What has Mia promised them?"
Love promised Boehner at least one thing when she introduced him at her event. Love stated that if she is elected her vote will be one that Boehner won't have to worry about going to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.