Iowa Congressional candidates 2Q fundraising roundup

Candidates for federal offices were required to submit Federal Election Commission reports on campaign fundraising and expenditures by July 15. Those reports covered money raised and spent between May 20 and June 30. “Pre-primary” reports, which were due in late May, covered the period from April 1 through May 19.

The second quarter numbers are particularly important for challengers, who need to show that they will have the resources to wage serious district-wide or statewide campaigns. Although candidates continue to raise money during the third quarter, they typically have less time for fundraising as they spend more time campaigning. Mike Glover of the Associated Press noted, “The cash-on-hand numbers are closely watched by strategists because candidates traditionally use the summer months to build up a cash reserve that they begin spending on television advertisements around Labor Day.”

Follow me after the jump for the second quarter numbers.  

Let’s start with Iowa’s U.S. Senate race. Roxanne Conlin had a decent quarter but couldn’t keep pace with Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley’s pre-primary report showed over $273,000 in individual contributions and another $150,000 from other political committees (PACs). I couldn’t find Grassley’s July 15 filing on the FEC site yet, but he reported raising another $630,460 between May 20 and June 30 (no details yet on the breakdown between individual and PAC donations). Grassley’s campaign had about $5.7 million cash on hand at the end of the second quarter.

Conlin’s pre-primary filing can be found here, and her campaign e-mailed a pdf file of the  July 15 disclosure document, which isn’t on the FEC site yet. Between April 1 and May 19, Conlin raised a little more than $188,000, all in individual contributions. Between May 20 and June 30, her campaign raised $205,720 in individual contributions. Conlin loaned her campaign another $250,000 during that period. Including that loan, the Conlin campaign banked $643,895 during the second quarter, leaving $851,014 cash on hand as of June 30. Conlin’s campaign also reported that it has surpassed 5,000 individual donors for the campaign, that 81 percent of the donations were from Iowans and that 81 percent of the donations were for $100 or less.

Both Grassley and Conlin spent quite a bit between May 20 to June 30; $499,821 for Grassley’s campaign, $472,559 for Conlin’s. Facing two opponents in the June 8 Democratic primary, Conlin started running statewide television ads in May, and Grassley followed suit.

Conlin has raised far more money than any other challenger Grassley’s ever had, but she would be in a stronger financial position if she hadn’t decided early on not to take PAC money. Grassley’s cash on hand advantage will allow him to saturate this state with television ads for the final months of the campaign. Conlin will be able to advertise statewide but for fewer weeks and probably at a lower intensity. She will also have to rely more on a ground game than Grassley.

To view or download the reports for U.S. House candidates, go to this page on the FEC’s website and search for “Iowa.” In the first district, two-term incumbent Bruce Braley raised about $94,000 between April 1 and May 19 (over $73,000 from individuals and the rest from PACs). Braley’s FEC disclosure form covering May 20 to June 30 showed over $106,000 in total contributions (over $37,000 from individuals and $64,500 from political committees).

Braley’s Republican challenger Ben Lange raised only $25,222 between April 1 and May 19, all from individuals. During the latter part of the second quarter, he actually out-raised Braley, bringing in more than $108,000, nearly all from individuals. (Lange had only about $1,520 in committee donations.) Braley still has a large cash on hand advantage: $632,385 to just under $110,300 for Lange. It’s unlikely Lange will be able to raise his name recognition enough to compete with Braley in this Democratic-leaning district.

In the second district, I’m confused about the fundraising totals for Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Her campaign press release indicated that she “has raised over $318,000 for the cycle,” including $190,000 between May 20 and June 30. I see different numbers on the FEC website, and I’m not sure where the error occurred. Miller-Meeks’ pre-primary filing reported nearly $36,000 in donations, mostly from individuals, and her July 15 filing showed $66,361 in donations between May 20 and June 30. About $48,000 of that total came from individuals, while $12,500 came from political committees. Miller-Meeks reported $100,672 on hand at the end of the quarter. The July 15 disclosure form shows $194,280 in contributions for the “cycle-to-date,” so I wonder if the campaign press release was confusing that number with the amount raised between May 20 and June 30. I will update this post if I get clarification from the Miller-Meeks campaign.

In any event, I’m impressed that Miller-Meeks managed not to fully deplete her campaign account while crushing the opposition in the IA-02 primary. She won that four-way race with over 50 percent of the vote despite being the only candidate not to advertise at all on television.

Two-term incumbent Dave Loebsack has a big money lead on Miller-Meeks. He reported $52,734 in contributions on his pre-primary disclosure (about half from individuals, half from PACs). He reported $115,690 in contributions between May 20 and June 30, of which $68,000 came from political committees and the rest from individuals. He had a little more than $524,000 cash on hand at the end of the quarter.

The Miller-Meeks campaign spin is that she is ahead of Loebsack’s fundraising pace during his first Congressional campaign (as a little-heralded challenger to Jim Leach in 2006). But IA-02 has the strongest Democratic lean of this state’s five Congressional districts (D+7). Not only was Loebsack a first-time candidate during a Democratic wave year, he also had the partisan lean of the district working for him. Another difference is that Leach wasn’t a powerhouse fundraiser and didn’t accept PAC donations, so he didn’t have a huge war chest during the 2006 campaign. Finally, some conservatives who favored other Republican candidates consider Miller-Meeks too moderate; in contrast, Loebsack didn’t have any trouble uniting the Democratic base in 2006.

I wouldn’t advise Loebsack to take this race for granted, because Miller-Meeks is a strong and high-energy campaigner. She also has good name recognition for a challenger because of her 2008 Congressional campaign. But even if Miller-Meeks improves on her general election performance of two years ago (she fell below 40 percent of the vote), Loebsack should be able to win again.

Iowa’s third Congressional district is generally considered to be the one most likely to change hands this year. Brad Zaun crushed the competition in the seven-way Republican primary, so I expected strong fundraising numbers from him. Instead, he raised just $37,422 between April 1 and May 19 and $119,663 during the latter part of the second quarter. Most of Zaun’s contributions came from individuals; only $12,500 came from PACs. His total intake for the second quarter was much improved on his performance during the first three months of the year, but he should have been able to raise a lot more than $157,000. I realize that Zaun was busy campaigning during much of the reporting period, but he’s in the district with the greatest concentration of Republican wealth, and where the GOP has the best shot at winning. Even so, he didn’t raise much more than Lange did. (UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Zaun reported $100,400.42 in cash on hand as of June 30.)

Seven-term incumbent Leonard Boswell reported $81,602 in contributions on his pre-primary disclosure (about $29,000 from individuals, the rest from PACs), and just under $161,000 in receipts between May 20 and June 30, of which $94,400 came from PACs and about $65,640 from individuals. Boswell has nearly $734,000 cash on hand and will add to that advantage when former President Bill Clinton headlines a fundraiser for him later this month. I just don’t see how Zaun can win this race staring at a 7-1 cash on hand disadvantage. The National Republican Congressional Committee is cash-poor and unlikely to come to his aid.

Eight-term Republican incumbent Tom Latham reported $148509 in contributions between April 1 and May 19 ($81,000 from PACs, the rest from individuals), and raised a little more than $126,000 between May 20 and June 30, with about two-thirds of the contributions coming from PACs. He has nearly $756,000 cash on hand. Latham’s Democratic challenger Bill Maske reported $17,548 on his pre-primary disclosure, which included about $3,000 from the candidate and $5,000 from political party committees. Maske raised just under $16,000 between May 20 and June 30 and had about $16,329 cash on hand at the end of the second quarter. It’s not enough to wage a strong campaign in 28 counties.

Republican Steve King raised less during the second quarter than any other Iowa Congressional incumbent. King’s pre-primary FEC disclosure reported $68,403 in donations between April 1 and May 19, mostly from individuals aside from $12,500 from PACs. Between May 20 and June 30, King reported  about $71,414 in contributions, $27,500 from PACs and just under $44,000 from individuals. King also has far less cash on hand than any of Iowa’s other incumbents, $309,154 at the close of the second quarter. Unfortunately, that’s enough to give him a big money advantage over his Democratic opponent. Matt Campbell raised only $8,380 between April 1 and May 19, when he was busy campaigning for a contested Democratic primary. Campbell reported about $45,647 in contributions on his July 15 disclosure form; approximately 80 percent of that total came from individuals. Campbell has under $23,000 cash on hand and will have to run his general election campaign on a shoestring budget. The fifth district is Iowa’s largest geographically, covering 32 counties.

Post your reaction to any of the above numbers in this thread.

  • oops

    You forgot to put in a pitch for public financing of these elections.  He who pays the piper calls the tune.  We want the public to call the tune after the election.

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