NRCC casts its vote for Gettemy in IA-02, Gibbons in IA-03

The National Republican Campaign Committee added Rob Gettemy to its list of “on the radar” candidates today. Gettemy is one of four Republicans running against Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s second Congressional district.

“The NRCC is committed to working with Rob Gettemy as he continues to meet the rigorous goals of the Young Guns program,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. “Rob is an accomplished, independent leader who will fight to create jobs and rein in government spending. I am confident that Republicans will wage a strong fight against Dave Loebsack, a loyal Democrat who has repeatedly put his partisan agenda before a healthy economy.”

They’ll have to do more than that to convince me that this D+7 district will be competitive in the fall. The real reason for putting Gettemy “on the radar” is to signal to Republican donors that he’s the guy to support in this race. It’s a slap in the face to 2008 nominee Mariannette Miller-Meeks, not to mention the other two Republicans running in IA-02 (Steve Rathje and Chris Reed). Gettemy joined the race last but has the most cash on hand thanks to a $100,000 loan he made to his own campaign.

If no candidate wins 35 percent in the June 8 primary, NRCC support could help Gettemy at the district convention that would decide the Republican nominee. Gettemy already has backing from many prominent Linn County Republicans.

In the NRCC’s three-tiered system for candidates in supposedly competitive races, the next step up from “on the radar” is “contender.” Jim Gibbons’ campaign announced today that the NRCC has elevated him to that level. Gibbons became an “on the radar” candidate in February. If Gibbons can meet certain benchmarks, the NRCC may later elevate him to the top “Young Gun” level, for candidates deemed to have the best chances of winning Democratic-held House seats.

Getting a pat on the back from the NRCC will help Gibbons raise money, particularly from out-of-district donors who don’t know the political terrain in Iowa’s third district. Gibbons outraised the other Republican candidates in IA-03 by a substantial margin in the first quarter, and being a “contender” will probably help him extend that financial advantage in the second quarter. The Gibbons campaign press release is not subtle:

By achieving ‘Contender’ status, Gibbons has already proven his ability to build a successful campaign structure and achieve vital fundraising goals.

Gibbons added, “This recognition shows that our campaign is ready to take down Leonard Boswell in the fall.  I am the only candidate in this race that has shown the financial heft and organization structure to compete and win in November.  I am running for Congress to bring Iowa values back to Congress,” said Jim Gibbons.

I have to laugh to see Gibbons bragging about support from Washington party leaders a week after he tried to attack incumbent Leonard Boswell for getting help from the head of the DCCC.

Many people on the ground in IA-03 expect State Senator Brad Zaun to win the Republican nomination. Zaun appears to have an early advantage in name recognition as well as a base in vote-rich Urbandale. On the other hand, Zaun has raised only a little more than $80,000 for his Congressional campaign, about $50,000 of that in the first quarter. It may not be enough for strong district-wide advertising and direct mail before the June 8 primary. A majority of Republican voters haven’t yet decided on a candidate, according to a recent poll commissioned by Zaun’s campaign.

If no candidate wins 35 percent in the primary, Zaun could be well-positioned to win the nomination at a district convention, having much more background in Republican politics. But Gibbons could point to the NRCC’s backing as an argument in his favor. Party leaders in Washington are less likely to commit resources to this district if Zaun is the candidate.

A final word on Zaun’s meager fundraising. His defenders claim that his fundraising has lagged because he was tied up in the state legislature from January through March. I’m not buying it. Zaun announced his candidacy against Boswell in early December, more than a month before the 2010 legislative session began. If Rod Roberts could raise more than $50,000 in the kickoff event for his gubernatorial campaign, Zaun should have been able to raise much more at his kickoff event in late December (before the legislative session began). Zaun is a former mayor of Urbandale, a community with much more wealth and more Republicans than the Carroll area Roberts has represented in the Iowa House. Zaun should have a large pool of major donors to tap.

Share any thoughts about Congressional races in Iowa in this thread.

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  • I still think MMM is the most reasonable in IA-2

    She’s had to take a dive to the right, but she did speak in favor of women using Plan B on right wing radio if they wanted to.  Really 2012 may be a better year to run though depending upon how the map is redrawn.  Lowbsack will probably just be made safer regardless.  I was hoping Dave might take the Cornell President’s gig, but I know it was a foolish dream.  

    • you and your strange antipathy

      for Loebsack. It baffles me.

      MMM should have run for the Iowa House or Senate. She’s smart, but I can’t see any way she could win a district with such a strong D lean.

    • 2012

      2012 might be a better year to run, I agree. But I don’t think the district is going to get any safer for Lobesack.

      The district is going to have to absorb some of the rural south central counties like Mahaska, Keokuk and Marion. Those voters added to the district will probably move the district down some D points the next time the district is rated.

  • Too liberal

    Anyone who votes with their party that much is a tool who needs to be in a parliamentary system.  We need a more moderate voice like Dennis Cardoza or Mike Ross (:  Corporate hack, so on, so forth heard the arguments before.  Loebsack talks down to people as well.  He thinks he’s hot shit.  

    • most members of Congress

      vote with their parties most of the time. What do you have against the particular bills the House has passed, with Loebsack’s support, during the past year? If anything, they haven’t been liberal enough.

      It would be ridiculous for a D+7 district like IA-02 to be represented by a Blue Dog.

      The so-called moderates are often NOT voting their constituents’ interests, by the way.

      • Moderates do vote the interests of their constituents

        I’m aware that most members do vote with their party most of the time.  Blue Dogs and people like Chris Shays are/ were some of the few people out there who still believe in a representative democracy, they have to have a fairly moderate record.  I don’t want a parliamentary system where we just automatically vote with their party, it smells of fascism.  il

        Corporations are not evil Dnd, lobbyists are not necessarily evil the government is involved in so much, why wouldn’t you lobby the son of the guns.  Getting paid for lobbying is better than being on the unemployment line.  

        Like I said in a previous post when you or Rachel Maddow calls someone a conservadem says to me that these people actually have to think before they vote and may consider both sides of the coin.

        The same can be said for Craig Robinson and his ilk screaming RINO.  The Club for Growth is cancerous as is something like the Daily Kos.  

        I hate political parties and the only reason I stay in one is because the goons will other shut me out of the process.  

    • I would also bet

      that a solid majority of the members of Congress tend toward the arrogant side. So what?  

      • You don't talk down to constituents

        Loebsack does it all of the time, I don’t blame him he’s a smart guy, but he just comes across as a prick who just uses his story of being poor in his youth to seem like one of us.  

  • Clarification

    If Dave Loebsack wants to vote the way he does if he was representing Donna Edwards district or Pete Stark’s it would be fine.  The only large swath of people who are extremely comfortable with  Loebsack’s voting record are within Iowa City itself.  This district isn’t that liberal.  We just get stuck with a bunch of nuts on the other side.  It is the lesser of two evils.