IA-04: Jim Mowrer out-raises Steve King for third straight quarter

If this has ever happened before in an Iowa Congressional race, I’m not aware of the precedent: Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer has raised more money than incumbent Representative Steve King for the third straight quarter in Iowa’s fourth district. Not only that, during the first three months of 2014, Mowrer’s fundraising eclipsed King’s by even more than we saw during the third and fourth quarters of 2013.

Details from the reports both candidates filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission are after the jump.

UPDATE: The Iowa .Gif-t Shop weighs in. I really did laugh out loud.

Mowrer’s FEC filing shows $351,107.30 in total contributions between January 1 and March 31. While King’s last opponent, former First Lady Christie Vilsack, managed to raise more money than that in a few quarters, it’s still a robust haul for a first-time candidate in a tough district. During the first quarter, Mowrer reported $294,824.28 from individuals and $56,283.02 in contributions from political action committees, but if I’m reading the itemized contribution report correctly, almost all of that $56,283.02 reflects individual donations as well. I believe the FEC considers money earmarked through ActBlue (the online clearinghouse for Democratic candidates) as coming from a PAC.

Mowrer’s campaign reported spending $106,575.95 during the first quarter, leaving a remarkable $450,899.84 cash on hand as of March 30. For an incumbent, that wouldn’t be considered a large war chest, but it’s a strong showing for Mowrer. Most of King’s previous challengers didn’t manage to raise that much money during the entire election cycle, with the exception of Christie Vilsack, who had many years of involvement in her husband’s campaigns and was getting national attention as a Congressional candidate.

Mowrer’s largest campaign expenses during the last quarter were for staffer salaries, fundraising, and media production. I got a kick out of the line reporting $7,500 to the Iowa Democratic Party for “Rental of Moving Van.” That would be a very expensive moving van! No doubt the contribution was for access to the VAN database of Democratic voters.

Last month the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee flagged Mowrer as an “emerging” candidate, a sign that he is building a strong campaign organization. The latest FEC report validates that judgment.

King’s latest FEC filing shows just $121,041.08 in total contributions, more than he raised during the third quarter of 2013 but less than he raised in the fourth quarter. Between January 1 and March 30, King brought in $104,294.09 from individuals, $500 from political party committees, and $16,246.99 from PACs. Click here for the full list of contributions.

King raised far more money when he was facing Vilsack in a redrawn district during a presidential election year. I remain convinced that he simply doesn’t take Mowrer’s challenge seriously. IA-04 is challenging territory for any Democrat. According to the latest official figures, the district contains 174,274 active registered Republicans, 123,288 Democrats, and 173,808 no-party voters.

King’s campaign reported spending $72,917.84 during the first quarter. Click here for the itemized disbursements. Nothing jumped out at me as unusual. For now, King’s son and daughter-in-law are the campaign staffers, as has been the case during most of his re-election bids. In contrast, King brought in campaign professionals to run his 2012 race against Vilsack.

As of March 30, King’s campaign had $187,551.73 cash on hand. At the same point in his 2012 race, he reported more than $800,000 cash on hand.

Any comments about the IA-04 campaign are welcome in this thread.

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