Culver campaign brings on new finance director

Governor Chet Culver’s campaign announced today that Peggy Huppert has signed on as finance director. From the press release:

“Peggy is an asset to our campaign and will make sure we have the resouces needed to win in November. She brings a great deal of knowledge and experience about fundraising but also about Iowa politics,” said Culver/Judge Campaign Manager Donn Stanley.

Huppert has taken a leave of absence from her role as Iowa Director of Government Relations at the American Cancer Society to join the Culver/Judge Campaign. From 1998 to 2000, she served as co-chair of the Polk County Democrats and has continued to play a key role in Des Moines politics. Prior to her work with the American Cancer Society, Huppert worked with Iowans for Sensible Priorities/Caucus4Priorities and was Chair of the Freedom Fund.

Huppert knows a lot of the major donors in Iowa Democratic and progressive circles from her past work with the Polk County Democrats, Iowans for Sensible Priorities and the Freedom Fund. If you were in Iowa during the year before the 2008 caucuses, you may recognize this graphic even if the name “Sensible Priorities” doesn’t ring a bell:

Sensible Priorities spinning wheel

The Freedom Fund is the old name for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa’s political action committee. PPGI became Planned Parenthood of the Heartland last year, and its political arm is now called the Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC. The Freedom Fund endorsed Culver before the 2006 Democratic primary and for the general election, and Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC has endorsed Culver for re-election.

It’s a bit late for the Culver campaign to bring a heavy-hitting fundraiser on board, but better late than never. A lot of the usual suspects in the Iowa Democratic donor world weren’t on Culver’s last campaign finance disclosure report. The Democratic Governors Association has already given money to Culver ($500,000 in 2009 and $750,000 in the spring of this year), and they may offer additional help. At the same time, they are defending a lot of governor’s seats and don’t have an endless supply of cash.

Terry Branstad depleted most of his campaign’s cash on hand by spending at least $2 million before the Republican primary. Even so, he should have resources to spend on the general election. Branstad has continued to advertise on television since the primary, which suggests he’s still collecting lots of individual donations and/or the Republican Governors Association cut him a big check. The RGA has about twice as much cash on hand as the DGA, in part because major Republican givers have been shunning the Republican National Committee.

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