10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – Inland Rep. Jerry Lewis is sparing no expense as he looks to help push Republicans into the majority and snare a key position for himself in the next Congress.

In the current election cycle, Lewis, R-Redlands, had given $937,500 in contributions to the national party and directly to GOP candidates through the end of September, new campaign finance reports show.

A combination of donations made since then and Lewis’ participation in Republican fundraising efforts involving multiple lawmakers places his overall contribution in excess of $1 million, National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Joanna Burgos said.

“Congressman Lewis has gone above and beyond this cycle to help the NRCC work toward our goal of retiring (Democratic House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi,” Burgos said. “Mr. Lewis’ great amount of support has been instrumental for candidates across the country.”

Most of the Lewis largesse comes from his personal campaign account, which contributed $798,500 to the national party and $29,000 to individual candidates — most of whom are locked in tough races. His Future Leaders Political Action Committee gave an additional $110,000, $65,000 to candidates and $45,000 to the NRCC, according to the reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission.

Lewis spokesman Jim Specht noted that the veteran lawmaker has been a prolific fundraiser for the party for decades.

“He has always believed that to be part of his responsibility as a member of the Republican conference,” Specht said.

As in the last several election cycles, Lewis is heavily favored to win re-election and thus can spread much of his campaign cash around. Even after his contributions, Lewis had roughly $600,000 left in his personal campaign account and $60,000 in his political action committee, while Democratic challenger Pat Meagher had less than $30,000, according to the reports.

Lewis has been especially generous in the current election cycle. The roughly $1 million he has doled out to House Republicans and the GOP itself is almost four times the $267,000 Lewis gave in the last election cycle.

The difference this year: Republicans have a chance to pick up the 39 seats needed to win control of the House. With political analysts and polls showing a transfer of power is as likely as not, Lewis believes every dollar he gives could make a difference, Specht said.

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