Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup

Yesterday was the deadline for Congressional candidates to submit second-quarter financial reports to the Federal Election Commission. Highlights from the reports in Iowa’s four U.S. House districts are after the jump.

Bleeding Heartland will cover the U.S. Senate candidates’ financial reports in a separate post.

Speaking of the Federal Election Commission, did you know that Republican commissioners are trying to make it more difficult for professional staff to report campaign finance violations to federal prosecutors? Republicans are all about “law and order” except when laws inconvenience big-money interests.


Incumbent Bruce Braley is running for the U.S. Senate next year. Five Democrats are either already seeking the U.S. House seat or likely to run, but State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic and former State Senator Swati Dandekar are still in the exploratory phase, while Dave O’Brien only just launched his campaign last week. That leaves two Democrats who filed second-quarter reports in IA-01.

Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy raised more money than he did in the first quarter, reporting $81,923 raised from between April 1 and June 30. Of that total, $77,923 came from individuals, $500 came from the LKQ Corporation Employee political action committee, and $3,500 came from Murphy himself. You can view the whole list of individual donors here; notable names include Iowa House Democrats Roger Thomas, John Forbes, Mark Smith, Scott Ourth, Curt Hanson, former Iowa House Democrats Polly Bukta and Janet Petersen, State Senator Dick Dearden, and former State Senators Jack Kibbie and Roger Stewart.

Murphy’s campaign reported spending $17,739.21 during the second quarter on routine expenses such as payroll, printing, postage, and voter files from the Iowa Democratic Party. That left $124,039.13 cash on hand as of June 30. Not an intimidating pile of cash, but enough to fund some district-wide direct mail and advertising before the primary.

Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon raised more money than Murphy during the second quarter despite launching her campaign less than a month before the FEC deadline. Vernon’s campaign reported $103,687 in contributions, all from individuals. Most of Vernon’s donors live in Linn or Johnson counties. One name jumped out at me from the list: former State Senator Jean Lloyd-Jones, who gave $1,000. Lloyd-Jones was the Iowa Democratic Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate against Chuck Grassley in 1992. Vernon gave her own campaign a total of $5,200 in donations. UPDATE: Thanks to the alert Bleeding Heartland reader who pointed out that longtime Iowa Democratic campaign veterans Teresa Vilmain and Jeani Murray have also donated to Vernon.

Vernon’s campaign reported spending $4,344.80 on printing and postage, leaving $99,342.20 cash on hand as of June 30. Like Murphy, Vernon has a solid start and will be able to finance a credible district-wide campaign before the primary.

On the Republican side, repeat candidate Rod Blum didn’t file an FEC report for the first quarter. His campaign raised $103,107.92 between April 1 and June 30, of which $30,923 came from the candidate and $72,184.92 came from other individuals. Almost $19,000 of that total came from Blum’s relatives, several of whom have already maxed out.

Blum’s 2012 campaign fundraising reflected the same pattern; a heavy reliance on friends and family who maxed out before the primary. He wasn’t able to broaden his base substantially in subsequent quarters.

Blum reported spending $4,859.57 during the second quarter on travel costs, consulting and event-related expenses. That left $98248.35 cash on hand as of June 30, but several of Blum’s donors gave more than the $2,600 maximum contribution for a primary campaign. As a result, approximately $10,000 of Blum’s cash on hand is restricted for use during the general election campaign–provided that he wins the GOP primary.

Third-time Republican candidate Steve Rathje raised roughly the same amount in the second quarter as in the first. His campaign reported $52,616.55 in contributions between April 1 and June 30, all from individuals. Four of those people maxed out with $5,200 in total donations, of which only $2,600 can be used during the primary campaign. In other words, $10,400 of what Rathje raised during the second quarter can only be spent during the general election campaign if he wins next year’s GOP primary. During the first three months of the year, Rathje raised $15,600 in funds that are restricted for use during the general as well.

Rathje reported spending $18,317.59 during the second quarter, just a bit less than his first-quarter expenditures. The itemized disbursement page doesn’t provide the usual details about the expenses. Rathje’s campaign had $65,450.95 cash on hand as of June 30, but about $26,000 of that total can’t be used before the primary. At his current burn rate, Rathje is in danger of running out of money before next June unless he self-funds.

I expect at least one other Republican to join the field in IA-01, most likely Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen or State Representative Walt Rogers. Either could quickly surpass Blum and Rathje in the fundraising department.


Four-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack had a typical fundraising quarter for him. He raised a respectable but not intimidating amount of money, more from political action committees than from individuals. Specifically, Loebsack for Congress raised $147,430.97 during the quarter, $61,330.97 from individuals and $86,100 from a mix of corporate, labor, and progressive PACs.

Loebsack’s campaign reported spending $27,443.10 during the second quarter. Click here for details on the expenditures, a mix of typical campaign-related costs. Incidentally, the key staffer on Loebsack’s re-election campaign is Sara Sedlacek, who was the Democratic nominee in Iowa House district 88 in 2012. As of June 30, Loebsack had $220,698.66 cash on hand.

Loebsack’s only declared Republican opponent, State Representative Mark Lofgren, announced his campaign during the last week of June. His FEC filing for the second quarter showed just $150 in unitemized contributions and no expenditures. The third-quarter report, due in mid-October, will be the first sign of Lofgren’s ability to finance a district-wide campaign.  


Ten-term Republican incumbent Tom Latham chairs a House Appropriations Subcommittee and is a close friend of House Speaker John Boehner. Not surprisingly, money pours into his campaign, especially from political action committees. Latham’s campaign reported raising $254,630 during the second quarter, of which just $72,130 came from individuals and $182,500 came from a long list of corporate PACs.

Latham’s campaign reported spending on typical expenses, leaving $493,005.16 cash on hand with $13,416.69 in debts as of June 30.

Latham has two Democratic opponents, former State Senator Staci Appel and Gabriel De La Cerda. Both filed organizing papers with the FEC earlier this month, so will not submit their first quarterly financial report until October.


Six-term Republican incumbent Steve King has a large following, and it shows in his FEC report. King’s campaign reported raising $138,765.62 during the second quarter, of which $118,065.62 came from individuals and only $20,700 from PACs.

I was surprised to see that King’s campaign spent $121,586.40 between April 1 and June 30. Big-ticket items included $20,000 for polling, around $35,000 for fundraising-related expenses, and more than $16,000 for marketing or consulting services. I assume that a large share of that spending was related to the U.S. Senate bid that King considered but ruled out in early May.

King’s Democratic opponent Jim Mowrer just launched his campaign, so he won’t file a quarterly FEC report until October.

Any comments about next year’s Congressional races in Iowa are welcome in this thread.

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