Iowa Congressional 3Q fundraising news roundup

The latest Federal Election Commission disclosure reports are out, covering money raised and spent by Congressional candidates between July 1 and September 30. Details from Iowa’s four races are after the jump, along with information on groups that have made independent expenditures in each of the districts. The latest voter registration totals in the Congressional districts are here, and I’m updating absentee ballot totals for each district on weekdays here.

Any comments about these campaigns are welcome in this thread. I’d be particularly grateful if some Bleeding Heartland reader could explain what Tom Latham has been saving his money for, and why the PAC of the Credit Union National Association is supporting both Latham in IA-03 and Christie Vilsack in IA-04.

I’m taking the Congressional districts in reverse numerical order today, because the fourth and third district figures are the most interesting.

IA-04

Five-term Republican incumbent Steve King broke his own record for the most money raised in one quarter by any Iowa candidate for the U.S. House. King’s campaign reported raising a phenomenal (by Iowa standards) $1,044,557.53 between July 1 and September 30. King raised $828,001.53 from individuals, of which $324,455.63 was unitemized small donations of less than $200. Political action committees gave another $209,400.00 during the reporting period, and political party committees chipped in $12,906.00.

King has never raised anything like this amount of money in his previous five Congressional campaigns. When his back was up against the wall, his fans and conservative interest groups delivered. The full list of itemized donations to King’s campaign is here.

King reported spending $1,243,477.11 during the third quarter. The largest expenditures were for media buys and related services. I got a laugh out of seeing around $150,000 in payments to Strategic Perception, a firm in (gasp!) Hollywood, California. I have to admit, they have helped put together some quality commercials for King. The incumbent’s campaign also spent quite a bit on direct mail during the third quarter.

As of September 30, King’s campaign had $1,037,242.14 cash on hand and no debts.

Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack also had a strong fundraising quarter, bringing in $649,818.56. That’s more during the three-month period than any Iowa incumbent besides King. Vilsack raised most of her money from individuals ($553,841.42), and like King she had a lot of small-dollar donors. Unitemized contributions accounted for $211,045.50 of her third-quarter intake from individuals. PACs gave the Vilsack campaign $101,692.76, and political party committees gave $2,284.38. The full list of Vilsack’s donations is here.

Some Iowa politics-watchers have speculated that Vilsack’s big haul from Polk County donors has hurt Representative Leonard Boswell. There may be a grain of truth to that, but I know a lot of Vilsack donors who refuse to give Boswell a dime. Not only is Vilsack better-liked than Boswell among rank and file Democrats, King is far more hated than Latham.

Vilsack’s campaign reported $1,076,584.53 in net expenditures, leaving $438,134.24 cash on hand with no debt as of September 30. Click here for details on Vilsack’s expenditures; the big-ticket items were media expenses, salaries, and consultant fees. Even though Vilsack has more cash on hand remaining than any Democratic challenger to King has ever raised during an entire two-year cycle, her opponent still has more than twice as much to spend during the final month.

More outside groups have made independent expenditures in IA-04 than in any other Iowa Congressional district. According to the latest FEC report, total outside spending in the district is about $3.4 million.

Supporting King: Club for Growth PAC (direct mail), National Rifle Association (postcard mailing), National Right to Life Political Action Committee (direct mail), Susan B. Anthony List (mailing), Safari Club International PAC (direct mail and online advertising)

Supporting Vilsack: American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (tv ads), CULAC the PAC of Credit Union National Association (direct mail, radio and online advertising), Iowans for Integrity in Leadership (voter contact phone banking), Service Employees International Union Committee On Political Education (tv ads)

Opposing King: AFSCME (tv ads), CREDO super-PAC (salary, phones, printing), Humane Society Legislative Fund (advertising and staff time), House Majority PAC (tv ads and production), NEA Fund for Children and Public Education (tv ads and production), Service Employees International Union Committee On Political Education (tv ads)

Opposing Vilsack: America’s Road Ahead Fund (tv ad), American Future Fund (voter contact mail), National Federation for Independent Business (tv ads), National Republican Congressional Committee (media buy)

IA-03

Nine-term Republican incumbent Tom Latham has outraised eight-term Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell every quarter. Latham’s latest report shows $481,331.99 raised during the third quarter. His campaign spent $1,138,477.90 during the same period, leaving $1,509,682.44 cash on hand with $124,733.81 in debt five weeks before election day.

I expected Latham to use his money to put Boswell away over the summer, but internal polling on both sides reportedly shows the IA-03 race to be a tossup. I realize that there’s only so much radio and television advertising a campaign can buy in Des Moines and Omaha, but I still wonder why Latham continues to sit on so much cash with his job on the line. He could have hired a team of field organizers in every county or sent out multiple early GOTV mass mailings.

Latham raised nearly twice as much money from PACs ($320,174.29) as from individuals ($165,857.70). To see the long list of PAC and individual donors, click here. The largest expenditures were for advertising; media buys accounted for more than $500,000 of the funds Latham for Congress spent during the third quarter and a large chunk of the outstanding debt.

Boswell reported $299,676.22 in net contributions during the third quarter. The Democrat raised more from individuals ($180,026.46) than Latham, but he brought in only $119,585.00 from PACs and $1,314.76 from political party committees. With Republicans expected to retain control of the U.S. House, it’s no surprise that more PAC money is flowing to Latham, an Appropriations subcommittee chair. Click here for details on Boswell’s contributors.

Boswell’s campaign spent $547,360.96 during the third quarter; advertising accounted for nearly $400,000 of the total. He wasn’t able to match Latham dollar for dollar on paid media, but given Latham’s huge cash on hand advantage in the summer, I expected more of an imbalance.

Boswell reported $226,276.94 cash on hand and no campaign debt as of September 30. That’s enough for some district-wide advertising and direct mail during the last month of the race, combined with whatever President Bill Clinton helped bring in for a Boswell fundraiser in Des Moines on October 12.

Outside groups have spent about $3.4 million in IA-03 at this writing, very close to the level of independent expenditures in IA-04. However, fewer groups have gotten involved in this race, largely because King inspires more passionate fans and detractors than Latham does. The outside money spent in IA-03 has been either supporting Latham or attacking Boswell. From the FEC independent expenditure report:

Supporting Latham: CULAC the PAC of Credit Union National Association (radio advertising), National Federation of Independent Business (online advertising), National Association of Realtors Congressional Fund (nearly a million dollars, mostly on direct mail and tv ads, plus some polling and online video production), National Right to Life Political Action Committee (small mailing), Political Action Committee of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (radio ads)

Opposing Latham: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (mostly media buys and production for tv ads); House Majority PAC (tv ads and production), Patriot Majority USA (tv ads and production)

Opposing Boswell: National Republican Congressional Committee (media buys and survey research), Center for Individual Freedom (tv ads), Crossroads GPS (tv ads)

The television commercials in the IA-03 race have been dire, with cheap shots on both sides. In light of Latham’s fundraising and the outside spending stacked in his favor, it’s a moral victory for Boswell that he’s still got a chance to win.

IA-02

Three-term Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack isn’t a particularly strong fundraiser, and this quarter he was out-raised by his GOP opponent. Loebsack’s campaign reported raising $312,223.86 during the third quarter, $148,684.65 from individuals and $163,539.21 from PACs. Click here for the full list of Loebsack’s donors during this reporting period.

The incumbent’s campaign spent $445,287.88 between July 1 and September 30, leaving $668,124.64 cash on hand with no debt. The 24 counties in IA-02 span several media markets, and advertising buys consumed the lion’s share of third-quarter expenditures. Loebsack’s cash on hand should be sufficient for paid media throughout the district during the last few weeks of the campaign.

Republican candidate John Archer had to spend most of his campaign funds to get through the primary against Dan Dolan, leaving him well behind Loebsack financially as of June 30. Archer made up some ground in the third quarter, raising $413,204.84. He raised more from individuals ($295,004.84) than Loebsack did, but a bit less from PACs ($116,300.00). Click here for the details on Archer’s contributions. Many Republican members of Congress donated through either their campaign funds or their PACs.

Archer’s campaign reported spending $337,372.08 during the third quarter, mostly on media buys, consulting, salaries, and other routine expenses. That left only $143,189.13 cash on hand as of September 30.

In 2010, GOP candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks put about a half-million dollars of her own money into her second race against Loebsack. Archer hasn’t followed suit.

Of the Iowa Congressional races, IA-02 has seen the least spending by outside groups. During the general election campaign, the National Rifle Association has spent a small amount on postcards supporting Archer, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent more than $700,000 on media opposing Loebsack, as well as more than $50,000 on survey research in the district.

Although the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put Loebsack on its “Frontline” list of vulnerable incumbents, neither the DCCC nor other Democratic-aligned groups have made independent expenditures supporting Loebsack. So while Loebsack has nearly five times as much cash on hand as Archer going into the final month, the NRCC’s spending in IA-02 levels the playing field quite a bit. Bleeding Heartland reviewed the recent advertising in this district here.

IA-01

Three-term Democratic incumbent Bruce Braley reported raising $476,803.31 during the third quarter. Most of his contributions ($330,393.00) came from individuals; PACs donated $143,652.34 and political party committees $3,757.97 during the same period. Click here for the full list of Braley contributors during the third quarter.

Braley’s campaign spent $1,000,495.06 during the reporting period, more than half of it on media buys and associated consulting fees. That left $574,784.56 cash on hand with no debt as of September 30. That’s plenty of money for district-wide paid media and direct mail during the final push.

Ben Lange has raised far more money this year than he did during his first challenge to Braley in 2010. His campaign reported $413,484.62 in net contributions during the third quarter. Lange raised $297,834.62 from individuals and $115,650.00 from PACs, quite a bit for a challenger. The full list of Lange’s donors is here; many Republican members of Congress donated from their campaign funds or PACs.

Lange’s campaign spent $470,793.67 during the third quarter, leaving $200,292.90 cash on hand and $20,632.71 in debt as of September 30. About half of the expenditures went toward media production or advertising buys. Unpaid consulting fees accounted for most of the debt; there were also some unreimbursed travel expenses and credit card charges.

A few outside groups have spent money in IA-01. From the latest Federal Election Commission independent disclosure report for IA-01:

Supporting Lange: National Right to Life Action (direct mail), the National Federation for Independent Business (internet advertising), National Rifle Association (postcards and postage for mailing)

Supporting Braley: American Hospital Association PAC (television advertising), Iowa Credit Union League (direct mail), American College of Radiology Association PAC (direct mail)

Opposing Lange: House Majority PAC (television ads)

Opposing Braley: the National Republican Congressional Committee (television ads), American Future Fund (about $30,000 on direct mail; the same group spent more than $1 million attacking Braley during the 2010 campaign)

Bleeding Heartland reviewed the recent television advertising in IA-01 here.

  • 3Q fundraising reports

    Justin Arnold from The Conservative Reader: Iowa here, just wanted to check in and say great job and commentary on the 3Q fundraising reports.  Keep up the good work…just don’t go persuading any voters to vote Democrat this cycle!…just kidding…actually totally serious.

    Take Care,

    Justin

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