Iowa Congressional fundraising news roundup

May 24 was the deadline for Iowa Congressional campaign committees to file “pre-primary” financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. Highlights from those reports are after the jump.

Bleeding Heartland covered the Congressional candidates’ first quarter FEC filings here. The pre-primary reports cover receipts and disbursements between April 1 and May 16.


Three-term incumbent Democrat Bruce Braley continues to hold a big financial advantage over his two Republican challengers. His campaign reported raising $100,913.82 since April 1: $78,407 from individuals and $22,500 from political action committees. Braley had a long list of small donors and received support from various corporate and labor PACs.

Braley’s campaign reported spending $125,442.43 during the latest period, mostly on typical campaign expenses like payroll, consulting, and fundraising. That left $804,117.99 cash on hand to spend during the last five and a half months of the campaign. Braley will have no trouble out-spending the Republican nominee. That said, the American Future Fund spent more than $1 million in negative advertising and direct mail against the IA-01 incumbent during the 2010 campaign.

The establishment favorite in the GOP primary, Ben Lange, reported raising $58,175.36 between April 1 and May 16: $55,425.36 from individuals and $2,750 from PACs. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s PAC (America’s Foundation) gave Lange $2,500, while Des Moines-based Ruan Corporation’s PACEG Committee gave $250.

Lange’s campaign spent $76,980.03 during the same period, mostly on payroll, voter calls, direct mail, consulting, and advertising expenses. Lange had $168,661.24 cash on hand as of May 16.

At this writing, I am unable to find a pre-primary report from Rod Blum’s campaign on the FEC website. He trailed Lange in previous fundraising reports. To my knowledge, Blum has not run paid advertising.

MAY 31 UPDATE: Blum’s campaign filed its pre-primary report on May 30. Between April 1 and May 16, he raised $9,270.12, all from individuals. His campaign spent $20,097.05, leaving $60,193.83 cash on hand. Blum must have some kind of last-minute advertising blitz planned before next Tuesday’s primary.


The good news for three-term Representative Dave Loebsack was that during this period, he slightly out-raised his fellow Democratic incumbents. Loebsack’s campaign reported raising $113,399.99 between April 1 and May 16. The bad news for Loebsack was that just $41,075.06 came from individuals (mostly Iowans), while $72,324.93 came from PACs. In addition to various corporate and labor PACs, committees affiliated with U.S. House Democrats Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Paul Tonko, Jerrold Nadler, and Mike Thompson all contributed to Loebsack’s campaign.

Loebsack’s campaign was extremely frugal, spending just $35,385.74 during the reporting period despite facing a Democratic primary challenger. (State Senator Joe Seng didn’t file a pre-primary FEC report, incidentally, which suggests he hasn’t been raising money.) Loebsack had $700,326.39 cash on hand as of May 16.

The two Republican challengers in IA-02 have been fairly evenly-matched in fundraising up to now. The National Republican Congressional Committee has recognized both as credible candidates. But Dan Dolan loaned his campaign another $75,000 during this reporting period to give himself an edge going into the final weeks of the primary campaign. Dolan also raised $47,416.00, all from individuals. Almost all of his itemized donors live in IA-02.

Dolan’s campaign spent $126,866.26 between April 1 and May 16, with direct mail the largest expense by far. A significant amount of money went toward on salaries, consulting, and television commercials. As of May 16, Dolan had $110,450.78 cash on hand, and I assume he’ll buy more paid advertising during the final week before the primary.

John Archer raised $37,980.78 between April 1 and May 16, all from individuals. His campaign reported spending $103,333.28 during the same period, mostly on advertising, direct mail, and consulting services provided by Davenport-based Victory Enterprises. That left $61,854.39 cash on hand as of May 16.

Archer is clearly concerned about Dolan’s self-funding. Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail blast the Archer campaign sent out late Friday afternoon. The subject heading was “Our opponent is personally bankrolling his campaign, we need your help.”

Dear Friends:

We’re sorry to bother you right before the Memorial Day weekend, but we just learned some troubling news.  Our primary opponent has put another $75,000 into his campaign, bringing his personal bankroll to over $170,000.   Our campaign relies on John’s hard work and personal contributions from hardworking people like yourself.  We desperately need your help to combat this last minute money bomb.  Will you consider making a donation right now?

Anything you can give; $5, $20, $75 or $250 will help us fight back against this last minute surprise.

Gee, if a Democrat disparaged a big-spending rich guy by contrasting him with “hardworking people like yourself,” conservative Republicans would scream “class warfare.” What’s your beef with the “personal bankroll” of a fellow “job creator,” Mr. Archer?


In Iowa’s only Congressional race featuring two incumbents, nine-term Republican Tom Latham continues to widen his money lead over eight-term Democrat Leonard Boswell. Latham raised $142,680.97 during the reporting period: $60,835.12 from individuals, $300 from Republican party committees, and $80,750.00 from PACs. Click here to view the full list of Latham donors on this report. Most of his PAC supporters are repeat donors. When you chair a House Appropriations subcommittee, everyone wants to be your friend.

Latham’s campaign spent $152,712.66, including salaries, travel, consulting, and fundraising expenses along with nearly $50,000 on radio and cable television advertising. I’ve heard Latham’s radio commercials several times in the Des Moines market. The tv buy seems to be small for now.  

Latham had a staggering $1,978,080.63 cash on hand as of May 16. Latham ran only one television commercial during his low-key 2010 re-election campaign, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s on the air continuously from now to November.

Boswell reported raising $96,555.59 between April 1 and May 16: $59,555.59 from individuals and $37,000 from political committees and PACs. It was the usual mixture of corporate and labor political action committees, with fellow House Democrats Paul Tonko, Jerrold Nadler, and Bennie Thompson each chipping in $1,000 through their own PACs. Boswell’s campaign spent $432,960.48 during the period, including $394,020 to the Media Strategies firm for advertising. Presumably most of that buy is for commercials that will run closer to election day. Still, Iowa Democrats won’t be happy that Boswell’s cash on hand is down from $644,086.83 on April 1 to only $307,826.68 on May 16.


Several things caught my eye in five-term Republican Steve King’s pre-primary filing. First, he raised a lot of money: $372,651.85 in six weeks. That’s more than any other Congressional incumbent or challenger in Iowa. Second, about 90 percent of that money came from individual donors. King received only $34,000 from PACs and $1,500 from political party committees. Third, just $173,399.75 of King’s individual donations were itemized, while contributions totaling $163,752.10 were unitemized. Candidates are not required to itemize donations below $200, but it would be interesting to see where all of those small donors are coming from. King’s itemized donations came mostly from Iowans, and the PAC money came from a variety of corporate-backed committees.

King’s campaign reported spending $155,180.21 between April 1 and May 16, mostly on payroll, direct mail, and fundraising. Incidentally, the Congressman’s son Jeff King is listed as campaign chairman, but King hired Jake Ketzner as campaign manager. That’s the first time he has hired someone other than his son to manage his re-election campaign. Ketzner worked on Terry Branstad’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Jimmy Centers left Governor Branstad’s communications shop to become communications director for King’s campaign.

King had $1,033,164.92 cash on hand as of May 16, more than any Iowa incumbent besides Latham.

Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack continues to excel on the fundraising front. Her campaign reported raising $231,321.13 during the latest period, more than twice as much as any of Iowa’s three Democratic incumbents. Unfortunately for the 16-year member of Congress Boswell, a lot of Vilsack’s major donors live in the greater Des Moines area (IA-03).

Vilsack raised $220,740.03 from individuals, $3,760 from political party committees (mostly from the IA-04 Democratic Central Committee), and $10,561.10 from nine different PACs.

Vilsack’s campaign spent a little more than it raised during this reporting period, $248,132.03 total on salaries, consulting, travel, and other routine expenses. That left the challenger with $888,665.25 cash on hand, not quite on pace with King but enough to run a strong district-wide effort in IA-04.

UPDATE: King’s campaign sent out this memo “to interested parties” on May 29.

 MEMO: Tuesday Takeaways: King takes fundraising lead; Vilsack Campaign spends more than it takes in

From: Jake Ketzner, King for Congress Campaign Manager

To: Interested Parties

While Congressman Steve King’s campaign continues to gain momentum, grassroots volunteers, and financial support, Christie Vilsack’s Pre-Primary FEC disclosure filed on May 24th shows a campaign losing momentum.  The FEC pre-primary disclosure for both candidates reveals four key items

Christie Vilsack’s disclosure reveals she broke her own campaign’s fundraising promise as Iowans learn more about her extreme liberal views and her Iowa support erodes.

Just a few months ago the Vilsack campaign had almost $250,000 more cash on hand than King for Congress. That monetary advantage has evaporated as King now has more financial support in terms of donors and cash on hand.

The Vilsack campaign has spent more money than it took in from April 1st to May 16th and continues to rely on liberal supporters from New York, California and Chicago to stay competitive.

King for Congress reported raising $372,651.85 and has $1,033,164.92 cash on hand, while the Vilsack campaign reported raising $231,321.13 and has $888,665.25 cash on hand.

Christie Vilsack’s disclosure reveals she broke her own campaign’s fundraising pledge. In fact, she broke a campaign promise she, and her husband, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, made.

Christie Vilsack’s campaign asked Washington D.C. PACs to refrain from giving to her campaign if they did business with the USDA. On a D.C. fundraising flier the Vilsack campaign stated, “To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Christie Vilsack for Iowa respectfully declines contributions from political action committees whose company has a regulatory relationship with, directly lobbies, or directly receives funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, or from an individual federal lobbyist who lobbies the Department.”

Remember, Sec. Vilsack said his wife’s campaign isn’t accepting money from contributors who have done business with the USDA.

While the King Campaign encourages her efforts to eliminate conflicts of interest with her husband’s agency, the Vilsack campaign’s change of course is troubling.

In her last campaign report, Vilsack accepted a $500 check from the Council on Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH). CARH’s Web site states, “CARH represents the views and concerns of its members before Congress and appropriate officials at the Department of Agriculture (USDA)…”

This is a clear violation of her own campaign’s pledge.

Over the past few weeks, Vilsack has held events in Washington, D.C., had Dr. Jill Biden as a special guest for a fundraiser, and now Former President Bill Clinton will try and bail her poor fundraising numbers out with a fundraiser in New York City tomorrow.

This comes as no surprise as Iowans become aware of Christie Vilsack’s support of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s failed policies, which include the $831 billion Economic Stimulus Package, ObamaCare and her opposition to a common-sense Balanced Budget Amendment to reign in Washington’s out-of-control spending. Iowans know you can’t spend your way out of a $16 trillion debt and government can’t create jobs with massive bailouts and onerous regulations.

As her most recent report shows, Vilsack has received surprisingly little financial support from Iowans for her electoral bid. She has been forced to rely increasingly on outside support from unions and coastal liberal elites to fill her campaign war chest in her effort to oust King, a lifelong resident of the 4th district who has received 80% of his individual contributions from Iowans.

We’re not surprised Christie Vilsack is running to left-wing sympathizers in New York City and Washington, D.C. and breaking her own rules to remain competitive.  After all, in the first six weeks of the second quarter this year Steve King raised nearly $150,000 more than Vilsack and has almost $225,000 more cash on hand.

Iowans are smart enough to see through Christie Vilsack’s game of ducking questions, hiding from 4th District voters by spending time in liberal hotbeds and broken campaign promises.

While Christie Vilsack hobnobs with liberal elites at ritzy out-of-state fundraisers, Congressman King will continue working to restore our American dream.

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

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  • Great job/

    Great write up.  I suspect that a small amount of money that is currently going to Christie Vilsack would go to Boswell, but its probably minimal.  

    I wish Christie was the one rumored to be running for Governor in 2014.  I like Tom Vilsack a lot overall and would welcome his return, but I don’t think a Vilsack/Branstad matchup would exactly have people giddy with any exciting narratives or back stories.

    I think Tom Vilsack would probably get through a Democratic primary quite easily as well, but there would still be noise from his left.

    • could be right

      that a lot of the Des Moines area donors wouldn’t be giving to Boswell even if Vilsack weren’t running.

      I don’t have a good sense of how a Vilsack/Branstad race would shape up. I would not be excited about Vilsack, but some parts of the Democratic base would be.