IA-03: Staci Appel has fundraising head start on GOP field

What a difference a retirement makes. If Staci Appel were still running against ten-term incumbent Representative Tom Latham, she would have ended the year at a big disadvantage in campaign cash. Now she is poised to come out of the Democratic primary with a money lead over the eventual Republican nominee in IA-03.

Details from the candidates’ year-end Federal Election Commission reports are after the jump.

Appel for Iowa reported raising $260,697.66 during the fourth quarter, including $226,947.66 from individuals and $33,750.00 from various political action committees (click here for itemized receipts). Appel’s campaign reported spending $90,876.19 on typical campaign costs during the last three months of the year, leaving $369,490.35 cash on hand as of December 31.

In a press release I’ve enclosed below, Appel’s campaign noted more than $500,000 in total receipts from 4,226 donors during 2013, as well as endorsements from more than a dozen labor or progressive organizations.

Probably for those reasons, no new Democrat has entered the race during the six weeks since Latham announced plans to retire. Although someone else could file for seat before the March deadline, I didn’t see any new candidate petitions at the Democratic Party precinct caucuses last month. Democrats who have ruled out running in IA-03 include State Senator Matt McCoy, one of the few who could have quickly raised enough money to complete with Appel.

On the FEC’s website I could not find any report filed by Gabriel De La Cerda, the other Democrat running in IA-03. He did speak to Democrats at the precinct caucuses and addressed a State of the Union viewing party in Des Moines last week. De La Cerda has a new twitter handle and recently launched a new campaign website, so I assume he will stay in the race through the primary.

Retiring incumbent Latham reported $124,521.47 in net contributions during the fourth quarter. As is typical for him, most of the money ($89,724.47) came from PACs. Almost all of the donations were dated on or before December 17, when Latham revealed he would not seek re-election. Looking through Latham’s campaign expenditures during the fourth quarter, I surmise that he was seriously considering another re-election bid. He was still spending quite a bit on fundraising consultants and even paid The Tarrance Group $12,011 for polling toward the end of the year. The largest single disbursement was $25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee after Latham had ruled out running in 2014. The NRCC will probably get a lot more where that came from, because Latham’s campaign ended 2013 with $854,739.63 cash on hand.

Six Republicans have announced candidacies in IA-03, but since they were not raising or spending money for this race during the fourth quarter, most did not have to file an FEC year-end report. The exception was State Senator Brad Zaun, who still has the committee established for his 2010 Congressional campaign. His report showed no activity during the fourth quarter of 2013 and no cash on hand as of December 31. Zaun for Congress reported $22,987.69 in debts and obligations, mostly owed to Victory Enterprises, lead consultant on his 2010 campaign. He also still owes $3,000 in rent for an office in Urbandale.

David Young had an active account for his U.S. Senate campaign before switching to the IA-03 race. However, I found only a statement of candidacy in IA-03. The year-end report for his Senate campaign does not appear to be online yet, but Young had $124,052.27 cash on hand as of September 30.

Incidentally, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz cannot transfer the $43,010.98 cash on hand from his secretary of state’s campaign to a Congressional campaign.

Whoever emerges from the crowded Republican primary will likely have to spend most of his campaign cash getting the nomination. Of the group, Robert Cramer seems most likely to be in a position to self-fund if necessary.

Any comments about the IA-03 race are welcome in this thread.

Appel for Iowa press release, January 31:

APPEL ANNOUNCES ANOTHER STRONG QUARTER

Democratic frontrunner has raised half a million to date

DES MOINES – Staci Appel (D-Ackworth) today announced her campaign will be filing with its 2013, 4th quarter campaign finance report with the FEC having raised $500,038 for the election, including $260,697 this quarter and has $369,490 cash on hand.  

“I’m so thankful to the 4,226 donors who have been so generous in their support of our campaign,” said Appel. “From Ankeny to Council Bluffs, from Atlantic to Creston and all across Iowa, we are building an organization that is ready to win in November.”

Appel announced her campaign for Congress in July of 2013. Since her announcement, the campaign has secured the endorsements of dozens of local and national organizations, including AFSCME Council 61, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Great Plains Laborers District Council.

“Staci has the campaign and the profile that will unite Democrats across the 3rd district,” said former Lt. Governor Sally Pederson. “Iowa’s middle class families need a problem solver in Congress, and Staci is the candidate who will get things done and fix a broken Washington.”

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BACKGROUND: Appel for Iowa has been endorsed by Teamsters Local 90, Mailhandlers Local 333, AFSCME Iowa Council 61, Communications Workers of America Iowa State Council, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Women’s Campaign Fund, EMILY’s List, UFCW, IBEW Iowa State Conference, Laborers Great Plains District Council, Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades, Tri-State Max Out Women and the Human Rights Campaign. Appel has also been named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) Jumpstart list.

About Staci: Born and raised in Iowa, married for 17 years, mother to six kids and a former financial consultant, Staci Appel calls rural Ackworth, Iowa home. Staci took her deep Iowa roots, and her equally deep commitment to Iowa families to the State Senate in 2006 where she fought for Iowa’s backbone – middle-class families, farmers and small-business owners. During Staci’s time in the Iowa Senate, legislators took notice of her steadfast commitment to the people she served. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said, “I have never seen a freshman legislator come down to the capital and work as hard as Staci Appel.” That work included leadership on legislation like Iowa’s statewide smoking ban, pre-school for every 4 year old and championing the bill making Iowa the first state in the nation to require equal pay for equal work.

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