Culver's campaign needs to watch that burn rate

Governor Chet Culver’s re-election campaign is having a big fundraiser in Des Moines on June 11, and he told Iowa recently that there will be more to come:

“We are gearing up,” Culver said. “You’ll see a lot of movement in terms of fundraising efforts. […].”

Asked if he had more than the $1.5 million in the bank than his campaign finance reports showed he had in January, Culver said: “We’re doing extremely well on fundraising. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive. It’s been very gratifying to know that so many of my supporters across the state continue to have complete confidence in my ability to lead this state.”

The Des Moines Register reported on June 3,

“I am going to be cranking up our political operation,” Culver said recently. “I’m excited about it. I love campaigning.”

Culver brought John Kirincich, a national policy and political aide, into the governor’s office as its chief operating officer. The former chief of staff in the U.S. House is expected to play a key role in Culver’s campaign. […]

He also plans to move his campaign operation by early July from the small office at 13th and Locust streets in Des Moines, occupied by his campaign finance and political staff now, into larger space closer to the Capitol.

“We’re going to have a very capable team,” Culver said. “I’m already assembling that team of talented political advisers. We’re going to be renting office space and raising money to run a very competitive re-election campaign.”

I’m all for hiring good staffers and giving them a decent office, but I hope the governor’s campaign will not spend too much money this year. In 2008 Culver’s campaign raised about $1 million but spent $550,000.

Some of the potential Republican challengers to Culver, such as former State Senator Jeff Lamberti, have the potential to raise large amounts of money. In addition, the Republican nominee may receive lots of out-of-state contributions from opponents of same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, organized labor interests probably will not give Culver as much money next year as they did during his 2006 campaign, because of lingering bad feelings over the governor’s veto of a collective-bargaining bill in 2008.

I still think the governor’s in a strong position going into his re-election campaign, but I would hate to see him burn through lots of money in 2009 and then face a Republican who’s able to match his spending.

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  • Nope to Culver

    I cannot in good conscience vote for Culver next year. His desires to eliminate federal deductibility is atrocious. Very regressive.

    I will see who the Republicans nominate in 2010.  

    • wow, I'm so surprised

      that a Bleeding Heartland commenter who’s never had anything good to say about Culver has ruled out voting for him next year.

      Who would you like to see Republicans nominate?

      Don’t worry–if Iowa reforms the tax system to remove its “archaic holdover”, you can always move to Alabama or Louisiana to enjoy the fine quality of life in the only states that still have federal deductibility.

  • Hmm...

    The cynic in me would call this just another budget that Culver can’t handle…

    • American007

      Are you aware that Iowa’s budget difficulties are relatively minor compared to what the majority of states are dealing with mow?

      Check out the first table in this review of state fiscal stress by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

      • Amen, Sister....

        As Jon Stewart said last night, Cali’s either gonna have to raise taxes, or LEGALIZE “it” so “it” can get taxed.

      • You've made that argument before...

        …and I’m having none of it. We should be happy that our FY 2010 projected deficit is only 12.2% of the total general fund?

        For comparison, Michigan of all places clocks in at 6.9%. Nebraska next door is at 4.3% South Dakota less still at 2.7%.

        California is an outlier, done in more by endless ill-informed ballot issues than anything else. It shouldn’t even figure into the discussion. I’m not saying that some budget overrun isn’t inevitable. But look at South Dakota! They’re running a 2.2% FY 2009 deficit and a 2.7% FY 2010 deficit–and that with no state income tax! And when it comes to creating jobs and growing the state, they’re eating our lunch!

        I support Culver on a lot of things, but I just don’t see how you can defend his handling of the budget.

        • would you want

          to have been educated in South Dakota schools, or have Iowa roads in the overall condition of South Dakota roads?

          I don’t think so.

          Most states have almost depleted their rainy day funds by now. Iowa is in reasonable shape.