The mega-money won by the largest wine store chain in America will go to the Republican party.
In a rare move, the mega-store, which has a deep and passionate customer base, will pay $338 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National GOP, and two of its members, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, according to an agreement announced Thursday.
“The NRCC is a big part of our American history, and this win is a testament to our success as a political party,” said NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers.
“We have a strong commitment to our values, and the millions we have won from wine stores across the country, including this one, will be spent by our members in 2018 to elect Republicans to Congress.”
The $338.5 million was distributed to the RNC and the NRCC in February by a deal reached between the NRCCC and wine stores.
In addition to the winnings, the NRCD has agreed to give $1 million to a nonprofit that helps local groups build their networks.
“As the nation’s largest wine retailer, our loyalty program is a critical part of NRCC’s outreach efforts, including our win distribution program, and our leadership role in state and local election campaigns,” said Rep. Brooks, a former House member.
“It is also a great way for NRCC to thank our loyal customers for their continued support of our party and for helping us win the House majority in 2016.”
A former campaign staffer said that although it was a big deal for a wine store, it was not as significant as some would have expected.
“I think a lot of people were going to be surprised to learn that there was a win from this win store,” said the campaign staffer, who declined to be identified.
The winnings will go directly to the NRDC and the two other groups, according the NRLC’s filing.
“Our members across the nation have shown that they are passionate about their candidates and want to make sure they have a voice in Washington, D.C.,” said Rep Smith, a moderate Republican from Minnesota who represents a district in southern Minnesota.
“While it is true that our win percentage has been higher than the national average in the last four elections, it is clear that our candidates are doing a better job than the average voter in the districts they represent.”
The NRCC and the RNC declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, but said it was part of a larger effort to win over the conservative and independent voters that make up the party base.
“To reach these voters, our party must work to recruit them, not just to win them, but to build a stronger coalition and build a coalition that is open to them, too,” said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for the NRNC.
The NRLC and the Republican National Committee, which are co-sponsoring the bill, are working to recruit and reach out to the GOP base, as they have done for several elections.
“This is a win for our party, a win that helps grow the party and gives us the best chance of winning in 2018,” said Michael Caputo, the president and CEO of the NRRC.
“In addition to our win at the National Wine Store, the GOP will now have more winnings to donate to its candidates in 2018.”