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Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup, with a few surprises

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 13:24:37 PM CDT

With all four U.S. House districts in Iowa targeted by one or both parties this year, and competitive primaries happening in three of the four races, I was eager to see where the nominees stood at the end of the second quarter.

Highlights from the Federal Election Commission filings are after the jump. After lackluster fundraising the last three quarters, six-term Representative Steve King finally managed to out-raise his Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer, but to my surprise, Mowrer retained a big advantage over King in cash on hand as of June 30.  

desmoinesdem :: Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup, with a few surprises
Note: the second-quarter campaign finance details appear in two separate reports, the "pre-primary" report covering April 1 through May 14, and the July quarterly covering May 15 through June 30.


Both parties had contested primaries for this open seat, but the five-way Democratic primary was much more competitive than the Republican race, and it showed in the FEC filings.

Democratic front-runner Pat Murphy raised $60,537.37 according to the pre-primary report ($47,037.37 from individuals and $13,500 from political action committees, mostly representing labor unions). Click here for itemized receipts. Murphy's campaign spent $226,003.89 between April 1 and May 14, with broadcast media air time, media production, and direct mail the largest expenditures by far. As of May 14, Murphy's campaign had just $67,037.56 cash on hand.

Murphy's campaign raised much more between May 15 and June 30: $237,794.03 to be precise, $93,734.53 from individuals and $145,571.50 from PACs. Most of that money came in after the Democratic primary.

Murphy's campaign spent $174,092.76 during the second half of the second quarter, with broadcast media time, media production, direct mail before the primary making up the largest expenses on the itemized list. Murphy's campaign also spent $4,000 for the Iowa Democratic Party's voter file before the primary and transferred more than $7,000 to the state party after the primary. As of June 30, Murphy's campaign had just $130,738.83 cash on hand.

Republican candidate Rod Blum has never been a strong fundraiser, but he benefited from having little serious competition for the GOP nomination in IA-01. Blum's pre-primary FEC filing showed $31,408.84 in contributions, including $16,606.03 from individuals, $2,000 from the National Association for Gun Rights PAC, and $12,802.81 from the candidate himself.

Blum's campaign spent $73,450.39 during the first half of the second quarter, leaving $168,725.67 cash on hand as of May 14. Blum's largest expenses were direct mail and television and radio advertising, but those costs were much lower than what Murphy needed to spend against four well-financed Democratic rivals.

Between May 15 and June 30, Blum raised $148,611.79, including $120,663.10 from individuals, $17,500 from PACs and $12,048.69 from the candidate himself. The itemized contributions show that almost all the money came in after the June 3 primary. Blum doesn't have many small donors. Most of his cash came from contributions of $250 or more.

Blum's campaign spent just $55,620.13 between May 15 and June 30, including small television and radio buys. As of June 30, he reported $261,717.33 cash on hand.

Throughout this election cycle, Murphy has raised more than $730,000. Blum managed less than $500,000, with more than 20 percent of that haul coming from the candidate himself. Nevertheless, Blum was able to take a cash advantage into the general election. Given how narrowly the former Iowa House speaker exceeded the 35 percent threshold on June 3, it's hard to argue that Murphy overspent during the primary campaign. But even in a Democratic-leaning seat, he's going to need to raise a lot more money this summer to fund district-wide communications after Labor Day. IA-01 has a partisan voting index of D+5, and most forecasters have Democrats favored to hold this seat, but it's not a gimme.


Four-term Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack had a typical fundraising quarter for him. He raised more than he spent, but not an overwhelming amount for an incumbent. Also, more of his campaign cash came from PACs than from individuals. The pre-primary report shows $94,654.12 in total contributions between April 1 and May 14, including $34,154.12 from individuals and $60,500 from a range of labor, progressive, and corporate PACs. Loebsack's campaign spent $48,627.65 during the reporting period, leaving $617,188.17 cash on hand as of May 14.

The July quarterly report shows $153,150.78 in contributions to Loebsack's campaign: $75,650.78 from individuals, $2,500.00 from the second district of the Iowa Democratic Party, and $75,000 from PACs and political committees of fellow House Democrats. Looking through the itemized list of contributions, I wondered whether Loebsack is the only member of Congress to receive $1,000 from the Sierra Club's Political Committee and $5,000 from Monsanto's PAC in the same month.

Having no Democratic primary opposition, Loebsack spent just $60,917.20 between May 15 and the end of the quarter, leaving $709,421.75 cash on hand as of June 30. That's a good head start on a general election campaign, which he needs, as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee does not currently plan to spend any money in IA-02.

Republican nominee Mariannette Miller-Meeks had two primary rivals, but neither of them raised enough money to pose a serious challenge. Her pre-primary FEC filing showed $80,674.61 in contributions, of which all but $5,000 came from individuals. The Miller-Meeks campaign spent only $44,587.13 between April 1 and May 14, with just a small amount of social media advertising. As of May 14, her campaign reported $160,414.11 cash on hand.

Miller-Meeks didn't need to spend heavily in the final run-up to the June 3 primary. Her July quarterly report shows $166,136.66 in receipts between May 15 and June 30, $52,952.76 in expenditures, and $273,598.01 cash on hand at the end of the second quarter, with a little more than $10,000 in unpaid bills. The itemized receipts show that most of the high-dollar donations, including several from conservative PACs, came after Miller-Meeks won the GOP primary. Her campaign spent money on direct mail but not on radio or television advertising before the primary.

Loebsack's cash advantage going into the general election may be less significant than it appears, as Miller-Meeks loaned $500,000 to her 2010 Congressional campaign. She hasn't made any loans to this year's campaign yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her do so later this summer or fall.


Democratic candidate Staci Appel was fortunate to be running in an uncontested primary while six Republicans duked it out for the GOP nomination. She extended that natural advantage during the second quarter.  

Appel's pre-primary report showed her campaign spending about as much as it took in. $100,894.64 raised, with $104,750.04 in expenditures leaving $466,564.65 cash on hand as of May 14. Payroll and other routine expenses made up much of the spending, and Appel's campaign spent $22,500 on polling as well as $8,000 on Iowa Democratic Party databases.

During the second half of the second quarter, Appel's campaign cranked up the fundraising and spent considerably less. Between May 15 and June 30, she raised $190,554.08 from individuals and $126,280.00 from PACs for a total of $316,834.08 in contributions. (Click here for itemized receipts.) Meanwhile, operating expenditures dropped to $57,168.45, with a few contribution refunds bringing total disbursements up to $61,195.12. That left Appel for Iowa with $725,612.11 cash on hand as of June 30.

Republican David Young's campaign filed three FEC reports covering the second-quarter fundraising: the pre-primary, a pre-convention report covering May 15 to June 1, and a July quarterly covering June 2 through June 30.

The pre-primary report shows $19,987.00 in contributions to the Young campaign, including $14,487 from individuals and $5,500 from PACs. The candidate also loaned his campaign another $100,000. Meanwhile, costs associated with television advertising were the largest expenses as Young's campaign spent $212,535.92 between April 1 and May 14. That left just $40,296.96 cash on hand for the final run-up to the primary, where Young faced several well-financed competitors.

Between May 15 and June 1, Young's campaign raised just $9,725, all from individuals. It wasn't enough to keep funding the direct mail and broadcast media Young needed before the primary, so he loaned his campaign another $100,000, bringing total loans from the candidate up to $250,000. Young's campaign spent $87,658.13 according to the pre-convention report, leaving $62,363.83 cash on hand as of June 1.

Predictably, Young's fundraising picked up after his surprise win at the June 21 GOP district convention. The latest FEC filing shows $120,049.72 raised between June 2 and the end of the month, including $68,220.00 from individuals, $45,500 from political committees and PACs, and $6,329.72 from the candidate. But Young's campaign finished the quarter in the red, reporting $97,342.76 in expenditures and $87,567.39 cash on hand as of June 30, with $122,801.55 in unpaid bills for various campaign services. That's on top of the $250,000 owed to Young himself.

I expect lots of Republican and corporate money to flow to Young, since IA-03 is basically a toss-up race. He'll likely need outside help to make up for Appel's financial advantage.


It looks like Steve King finally decided to take first-time candidate Jim Mowrer seriously. He raised $120,015.19 between April 1 and May 14, including $95,515.19 from individuals and $24,500.00 from PACs. King's campaign spent $84,035.94 during that period. Leading expenses included direct mail and salary payments to Jeff and Lindsay King. In contrast to 2012, when King hired seasoned professionals to run his re-election effort against Christie Vilsack, he is content to let his son and daughter-in-law run this year's campaign. As of May 14, King's campaign had $223,530.98 cash on hand, a surprisingly low number for an entrenched incumbent.

King ramped up his fundraising during the second half of the second quarter and brought in $325,147.48 between May 15 and June 30, of which $234,947.48 came from individuals and $90,000 came from PACs. The $106,116.62 in operating expenditures during the period left King's campaign with $442,672.92 cash on hand at the end of the second quarter.

Mowrer continues to do extremely well on the fundraising front. Not only is he a knowledgeable candidate with a good biography and deep roots in the district, he's running against a Republican deeply disliked by many Democrats, not only in Iowa. Those factors helped Mowrer bring in $150,477.89 in contributions between April 1 and May 14 ($126,308.54 from individuals and $24,169.35 from PACs). The Democrat's campaign spent $86,746.86 during the period, leaving $514,630.87 cash on hand as of May 14.

Mowrer didn't quite match King in fundraising during the next period, raising $270,728.80 between May 15 and June 30. Again, he raised much more from individuals ($216,313.04) than from PACs ($54,215.76). After spending $71,210.15, Mowrer's campaign reported $714,149.52 cash on hand with no debts at the end of the second quarter.

You read that correctly: with a little more than four months remaining before election day, Mowrer had more than a quarter of a million dollars more cash on hand than King, in a district generally considered to be an uphill battle for a Democrat.

Any comments about the Iowa Congressional races are welcome in this thread.

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