Iowa Congressional 3Q fundraising news roundup

October 15 was the deadline for Congressional candidates to file reports on their third-quarter fundraising with the Federal Election Commission. Follow me after the jump for highlights from the filings for incumbents and challengers in Iowa’s four new Congressional districts.

I’m covering the districts in reverse order today, because based on second-quarter filings, political junkies are most closely watching the money race in IA-04 and IA-03.

Note: for more details on money raised and spent by Congressional candidates, you can search for and download FEC reports on this page.


Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack made big news by raising more than $424,000 during the second quarter, considerably more than five-term Republican incumbent Steve King raised during the same period. I wondered whether Vilsack would be able to repeat that achievement or whether this campaign would resemble Iowa’s 2010 U.S. Senate race. Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin raised more money than Senator Chuck Grassley during her first few months in the race, but her fundraising fell behind Grassley’s for the remainder of the cycle (see here and here).

Vilsack’s FEC report shows that her campaign raised $333,719.88 during the third quarter, spent $169,911.62 and had $546,491.39 cash on hand as of September 30. Most of the money came from individual donors ($281,719.88), and she appears to have quite a few small donors, since $86,324.87 of that total came from unitemized donations (for less than $200). Vilsack also raised $52,500.00 from political action committees (PACs) during the third quarter. Her campaign took out no loans and reported no debts.

Click here to view details on the $195,395.01 in itemized donations Christie Vilsack for Iowa collected between July 1 and September 30. Quite a few donations came in through ActBlue or Emily’s List, which named Vilsack a “promising” candidate in April. As during the second quarter, various influential Congressional Democrats contributed to the campaign directly or through their PACs. Vilsack raised another $12,000 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the third quarter, plus $2,000 from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s PAC to the Future and $2,500 from House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn’s BRIDGE PAC. Senator Tom Harkin’s To Organize a Majority PAC gave Vilsack $2,500, and Senator John Kerry’s Campaign for Our Country PAC chipped in $10,000. (Then First Lady Vilsack was a high-profile Kerry endorser before the 2004 Iowa caucuses.)

Steve King raised more than his challenger during the third quarter and nearly closed the gap in cash on hand after an underwhelming second quarter. King’s latest FEC disclosure form reports $400,311.47 in contributions between July 1 and September 30, $131,634.58 in expenditures and $497,648.98 cash on hand at the end of the quarter. King raised $317,811.47 from individuals ($241,141.48 itemized, $76,669.99 unitemized) and $82,500.00 from PACs, more the double the PAC money he brought in during the second quarter. King’s campaign reported no loans or debts.

Looking at King’s detailed summary of itemized donations, a lot of big checks came in on July 29–many from donors who don’t live in King’s current district or his new district. During the last week in July, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie headlined a big fundraiser for King in West Des Moines. That event pulled in a lot of central Iowa Republican donors who might not otherwise get involved in King’s races. (Click here for background on why Christie owed King a favor.) Most of the Iowa businessmen who recruited Christie to run for president earlier this year were among the big donors to King’s campaign on July 29. King received individual donations from around the country through the Club for Growth PAC.

King’s direct contributions from PACs mostly came from the usual suspects of corporate or conservative interest groups. His campaign also collected $10,000 from the Hawkeye PAC and $5,000 from the American Future Fund PAC.


The battle between nine-term Republican incumbent Tom Latham and eight-term Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell in a politically-balanced new district will probably be the most expensive U.S. House race in Iowa next year. Latham pulled way ahead in the money race earlier this year, and third-quarter filings continue to show a big advantage for him.

Latham reported raising $337,025.00 during the third quarter and spending $90,650.75, leaving a massive (by Iowa standards) $1,727,279.60 cash on hand with only $28,579.55 in campaign debts. As is typical for Latham, he raised more from PACs ($215,900) than from individuals ($121,125). He doesn’t have much of a small-donor base; only $7,000 of his individual contributions during the third quarter were unitemized. Click here to view the long list of individual and PAC donors to Latham. It’s good to chair a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. The National Republican Congressional Committee didn’t donate to Latham’s campaign during the third quarter, but if he needs help next year, the NRCC will get involved, probably spending a substantial amount on independent media expenditures in IA-03. The NRCC has spent money against Boswell during several previous election cycles but didn’t help 2010 GOP challenger Brad Zaun in any significant way.

Meanwhile, Boswell is going to need a lot of outside help to match Latham’s campaign spending in 2012. During the third quarter, the Boswell campaign raised $142,142.03, spent $52,235.80 and had 375966.93 cash on hand as of September 30. The FEC report shows no loans or campaign debts. Like Latham, Boswell has typically raised more from PACs than from individuals, and last quarter was no exception: $46,336.02 came in from individuals ($33,775.00 itemized, $12,561.02 unitemized) and $95,750 came from PACs. Boswell’s PAC donations came mostly from corporate or organized labor groups. He also received $4,000 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the quarter. Like Vilsack, he received $2,500 from Senator Harkin’s PAC.


Fundraising has never been three-term Democrat Dave Loebsack’s strong suit. Of the $150,252 his campaign reported raising during the third quarter, only about a third ($52,902) came from individuals, while $97,250 came from PACs. Loebsack’s campaign spent a very modest $30,602.45 during the quarter and had $336,601.41 cash on hand as of September 30. Like Boswell, Loebsack collected donations from quite a few corporate and labor PACs. Loebsack also received $4,000 during the third quarter from Nancy Pelosi for Congress and $3,000 from Pelosi’s PAC to the Future. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gave Loebsack $1,000, and the We the People PAC of DCCC vice chair Allyson Schwartz gave another $1,000.

Three Republicans have expressed interest in running against Loebsack. I was surprised not to see an FEC report for John Archer, who filed paperwork declaring his candidacy in early July. I also didn’t see any FEC report from Dan Dolan, but compared to Archer, he sounded less committed to running for Congress this summer. UPDATE: Dolan has filed organizational paperwork with the FEC and just gave an interview to The Iowa Republican blog about why he’s running in IA-02. Both Dolan and Archer are from Scott County, the most populous county in the new district and one that Loebsack has never represented before.

LATE UPDATE: Dolan and Archer both filed FEC reports several days after the deadline. Dolan reported only one contribution of $20,100 from the candidate himself. His campaign spent $3,923.18 during the reporting period, leaving $16,176.82 cash on hand as of September 30.

Archer raised $65,680.00 between July 1 and September 30. Almost all of that came from individual donors with the exception of $1,000 from the Lathrop & Gage LLP political action committee. Archer’s campaign reported spending $2,407.42, leaving $63,060.96 cash on hand at the end of the third quarter. In a press release, the Archer campaign proudly announced raising three times as much money as his closest rival in the Republican primary. The statement noted, “Archer also outraised Congressman Loebsack when you look at contributions from individuals during the 3rd Quarter. Congressman Loebsack raised $52,902 from individuals while Archer raised $64,680.”

Tea party activist Richard Gates of Keokuk filed an FEC report showing $326 raised between July 1 and September 30. Gates4Iowa spent $392.64 during the third quarter and reported negative $66.64 cash on hand at the end of the period. It’s safe to assume that fear of Gates didn’t inspire the recent DCCC contributions to Loebsack’s campaign.


Three-term incumbent Bruce Braley raised more money during the third quarter than either of his fellow Democratic House incumbents from Iowa, but less than Vilsack raised for her race in IA-04. Braley’s campaign reported raising $275,772.10 during the quarter and spending $126,719.73, leaving $453,182.01 cash on hand with just $1,585.14 in unpaid bills. Braley raised much more from individuals ($223,910.34) than from PACs ($54,125.00) during the third quarter. He itemized all of his individual donations, including lots of small donors; click here to view all the Braley donations for the quarter. The DCCC gave him $2,500, and $3,991.73 came in from Democratic National Committee-Travel.

Braley’s 2010 challenger Ben Lange announced last week that he’s exploring another Congressional bid in IA-01. He didn’t report raising any money for that campaign during the third quarter.

Linn County business owner Steve Rathje declared his candidacy against Braley in May. Rathje didn’t file an FEC report for the second quarter, but his recent filing covers the period from April 28 through September 30. Rathje raised $76,402.00 and spent only $655.23, leaving $79,629.01 cash on hand at the end of the third quarter. The candidate donated $3,871.92, and other members of the Rathje family donated a total of $20,000 to the campaign. Rathje received no PAC or political party contributions.

Any comments about the 2012 Congressional races in Iowa are welcome in this thread.

Final note: individuals giving more than $200 are supposed to list their occupations and employers. Some Iowans are a little behind the curve in that department. Boswell’s FEC report included a donation from Staci Appel, whose occupation was listed as state senator, even though she lost her re-election bid in 2010. King’s report included a donation from Brenna Findley. She was listed as a U.S. House of Representatives chief of staff, even though she quit that job in early 2010 to run for Iowa attorney general. Findley has been legal counsel on Governor Terry Branstad’s staff since he was inaugurated in January 2011.

UPDATE: Iowa Independent notes that Loebsack’s former opponent Mariannette Miller-Meeks carries about $500,000 in debt from her 2010 Congressional race. That debt comes from three loans the candidate made to her own campaign. It’s common for such loans not to be repaid.

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