Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup

Four of Iowa’s five Congressional incumbents go into the final months of the campaign with far more cash on hand than their opponents. Details from the second quarter filings with the Federal Election Commission are after the jump.

The latest round of reports cover funds Congressional candidates raised and spent between May 17 and June 30. Bleeding Heartland covered the first-quarter FEC reports here and the “pre-primary” reports covering April 1 to May 16 here.


Three-term Democratic incumbent Bruce Braley raised as much between May 17 and June 30 as he did during the entire first quarter. His campaign reported raising $323,172.57 and spending $51,407.16, leaving $1,095,386.31 cash on hand as of June 30.

Braley’s campaign raised $194,170.75 from individuals (all but about $100 of it itemized), $5,000 from Democratic committees (fellow members of Congress), and $124,001.82 from political action committees. The PACs represent many different corporations and labor unions, plus a few progressive organizations.

Braley’s itemized contributions show quite a few donors from out of state as well as many Iowans. Republican challenger Ben Lange’s campaign seized on that point:

[Lange senior adviser Cody] Brown complained that outsiders have bankrolled 81 percent of Braley’s re-election campaign, with Iowans accounting for only 19 percent of contributions. Lange has received 88 percent of his money from Iowans, he said.

Molly Scherrman, senior adviser to Braley for Congress, responded by saying, “I’m not sure what Ben Lange is all worked up about. Bruce has more Iowa donors than he does – more than 2,700 this election alone.”

Lange’s campaign also claimed that Braley has taken about $1.4 million from lobbyists during the past several election cycles, although they appear to be counting many of the PAC contributions in that category.

Braley’s expenditure report was the typical mix of campaign expenses like salaries, supplies, travel, and consulting fees.

Although he had high name recognition from his 2010 campaign against Braley, Lange scraped by in the IA-01 GOP primary, barely beating underfunded Rod Blum with about 53 percent of the vote. However, he has raised enough money and built a strong enough organization to be named a “young gun” by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Lange’s latest FEC report showed $130,238.09 in contributions, $48,966.35 in expenditures, $249,932.98 cash on hand, and $45,856.71 in debts as of June 30. Individual donors accounted for $113,738.09 of the money Lange raised ($94,562.51 in itemized contributions and $19,175.58 unitemized). The $17,500 in PAC money came from two $5,000 gifts from the Senator Chuck Grassley’s Hawkeye PAC, $5,000 from Tom Latham’s For America’s Republican Majority PAC, and $2,500 from “The Committee for the Preservation of C” (name cut off).

Lange spent far less on radio and television advertising before the primary than either of the two Republican candidates in Iowa’s second Congressional district. (If he’d lost to Blum, he’d be kicking himself for leaving so much money in the bank.) His expenditure report was a mix of the usual expenses, including salaries, supplies, direct mail, and GOTV phone calls. Most of the campaign debt is owed to Codias, LLC, run by Lange’s adviser and 2010 campaign manager Cody Brown.

Braley will easily outspend Lange during the final months of the campaign, but I won’t be surprised if the American Future Fund 501(c)4 group spends heavily against the IA-01 incumbent again, as it did in 2010.


Three-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack hasn’t been a powerhouse fundraiser, but he is frugal. He spent little of his war chest to fight off primary challenger State Senator Joe Seng. As a result, Loebsack enjoys a large cash on hand lead going into the general election campaign. His latest FEC report shows $152,388.61 raised and $51,526.34 spent between May 17 and June 30, leaving $801,188.66 cash on hand at the end of the second quarter.

As is typical for Loebsack, he raised more from political action committees ($100,200.00) than from individuals ($52,188.61) during this reporting period. A wide range of corporate, labor, and Congressional Democrats’ PACs donated to Loebsack during the reporting period. He also received contributions from NARAL Pro-Choice America’s PAC, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC, and the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund. Loebsack’s primary opponent is anti-choice and not strong on environmental issues. Like Braley, Loebsack received support from the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” JStreet PAC.

I didn’t see anything unusual on Loebsack’s expenditure report: printing, salaries, consulting fees, and $5,000 for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Republican challenger John Archer, who is on leave from his job as senior legal counsel for the John Deere corporation, has done relatively well for a first-time candidate, raising more than $326,000 so far this election cycle. The bad news for Archer is that he had to spend almost all of that money to get through the GOP primary against self-funder Dan Dolan. Archer’s campaign reported raising $116,220.85 between May 17 and June 30 and spending $114,518.21 during the same period, leaving $63,557.03 cash on hand as of June 30.

The summary page of Archer’s FEC report indicates that almost all of his contributions came from indviduals ($93,991.85 itemized, $12,229.00 unitemized). The majority of his individual donors live in the Quad Cities area.

I’m confused that the summary page indicates just $10,000 in PAC contributions for Archer, because the detailed receipts page lists the following: $2,500 from “The Committee for the Preservation of C” (name cut off), two $5,000 contributions from Senator Chuck Grassley’s Hawkeye PAC, $5,000 from the Deere & Company PAC, $5,000 from Representative Tom Latham’s For America’s Republican Majority PAC, and $2,000 from the Wells Fargo and Company Employee PAC.

Most of the Archer campaign’s expenditures went to the Davenport-based political consulting firm Victory Enterprises for media buys, direct mail, and robocalls. Victory Enterprises also received a $10,000 bonus for helping Archer win his primary.

Archer hasn’t loaned his campaign money so far, but he may need to do so in order to compete with Loebsack during the general election. Loebsack’s 2010 opponent Mariannette Miller-Meeks loaned her campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already put Archer in the top tier of its “young gun” program, which may help him raise more money than Miller-Meeks did.


How bad were the latest set of FEC filings for eight-term Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell? Bad enough for Senator Tom Harkin to warn journalists not to assume this race is over.

Harkin, in his weekly conference call with Iowa reporters, said Boswell, 78, is “absolutely not” finished.

Looking at past races, there have been predictions of Boswell’s demise on two or three prior occasions, Harkin said.

“He always manages to win. Leonard is a fighter. I mean, his whole record is one of overcoming great odds. He has done it many times in the past. He is healthy. He is vibrant. I think he is conducting a very good campaign,” Harkin said.

“We always knew that Congressman Latham would have more money, but don’t go counting Leonard Boswell out. I will tell you that. He has won tough races before and I am convinced he can win this one,” Harkin said.

Boswell’s campaign reported raising $201,497.69 and spending $37,113.36 between May 17 and June 30, leaving $472,249.91 cash on hand at the end of the quarter. His fellow House Democrats Braley and Loebsack have far more to spend down the home stretch, partly because they’ve raised more and partly because Boswell ran some radio and television commercials earlier this year.

Boswell did raise more money from individuals ($109,997.69) than from PACs ($91,500.00) during this period. A wide range of labor and corporate PACs donated to Boswell’s campaign, and quite a few other House Democrats chipped in from their committees. Nothing jumped out at me on Boswell’s expenditure report.

Latham easily out-raised Boswell, as he did during the first quarter and pre-primary reporting periods. The latest FEC filing from Latham’s campaign shows $345,175.49 in contributions, $183,759.78 in expenditures, and $2,145,580.64 cash on hand with $43,076.66 in debts as of June 30. That’s the largest war chest by far among Iowa’s five U.S. House members.

The nine-term Republican incumbent raised more from PACs ($194,250.00) than from individuals ($148,615.97) during the period. The long list of PAC donors are mostly tied to corporations.

Latham spent nearly $100,000 on radio and television advertising between May 17 and June 30, along with various other routine campaign expenditures. (No wonder I saw and heard so many of his commercials in the Des Moines market.) Most of the Latham campaign’s debts are related to fundraising expenses.

From the first time I saw Iowa’s new map of Congressional boundaries, I had a bad feeling about a likely Boswell-Latham matchup in the third district. The new IA-03 reminded me of Iowa’s fourth district during the 1990s, where Greg Ganske defeated legendary Representative Neal Smith in 1994. Boswell is not in as strong position as Smith, who chaired the House Appropriations Committee for years. He also doesn’t have an obvious line of attack against Latham, who’s not a lightning rod like Steve King, despite his far-right voting record. Finally, Boswell has never raised a ton of money, whereas Latham chairs a House Appropriations Subcommittee and is a close “buddy” of House Speaker John Boehner. The National Journal reported last week,

Boswell has a structural advantage in this matchup between two sitting members; he brings 121,000 Obama voters from the Des Moines area from his old district. But even though Latham has to introduce himself to more new voters, he has the money and the help from outside allies to do so, while his Democratic opponent has been reduced to complaining that Speaker John Boehner has pressured PACs into shutting off Boswell’s fundraising. Boswell has a habit of surviving difficult situations, but this is a really tight spot.

The latest voter registration numbers in IA-03 appear to give Latham a structural advantage, although GOP ranks are somewhat inflated by the greater number of competitive Republican primaries on June 5.


Latham can no longer claim to be the U.S. representative from Iowa who has raised the most money during a three-month period. Five-term Republican Steve King turned on the gas and raised $475,383.65 between May 17 and June 30. Adding that to the $372,651.85 he raised between April 1 and May 16, King brought in close to $850,000 during the second quarter, nearly double his first-quarter haul.

Even more remarkable, individual donors contributed $402,118.65 to King’s campaign in roughly six weeks ($245,465.67 itemized, $156,652.98 unitemized). It helps to be a tea party favorite and frequent guest on national television programs. King raised just $69,350.00 from PACs and $3,950 from party committees during the latest period. The PAC money came from a mixture of corporate and conservative ideological PACs, including $4,000 from the KOCH Industries PAC (which has given King a total of $10,000 this election cycle). Several other Congressional Republicans donated to King too.

King’s campaign reported spending $243,386.85, with direct mail as the largest expense, followed by advertising and other costs like salaries, supplies, and fundraising.

King’s challenger and former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack raised more than any of the three Iowa Democratic incumbents in the U.S. House, as she did during the first quarter and the pre-primary period. Vilsack’s latest FEC filing shows $277,395.70 in contributions, $319,969.22 in expenditures, and $846,205.01 cash on hand as of June 30.

Among Iowa’s four Democratic Congressional candidates, Vilsack continues to raise the largest share of her money from individuals. Her campaign reported $217,795.70 from individuals ($179,795.84 itemized, $37,999.86 unitemized) between May 17 and June 30. Political party committees donated $4,000, and PACs accounted for $63,350.00. The itemized contributions are here. Quite a few PACs run by Congressional Democrats donated to Vilsack’s campaign, as did various PACs linked to labor, women’s or progressive issue groups.

The largest campaign expenditures on Vilsack’s latest report are for direct mail, postage, paid media, and consulting.

Bottom line: Vilsack has raised more than $2 million during this election cycle, nearly as much as King has. But she has spent a lot more so far than her opponent. As a result, she trails him in cash on hand by about $380,000 going into the final four months of the campaign–which wouldn’t be as big a hurdle if she didn’t also face a daunting Republican voter registration advantage in IA-04.

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

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