Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup

Congressional candidates were required to file quarterly campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission by the end of July 15. Three of Iowa's four incumbents have no declared challengers yet, so most of the action was in the first district, where Monica Vernon's filing removed all doubt that Washington, DC Democrats want her to face first-term Representative Rod Blum, considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress.

Follow me after the jump for details from all of the Iowans' FEC reports. As happened during the first quarter, one would-be Congressional challenger out-raised each of the four incumbents for the reporting period.


Representative Rod Blum loaned his Congressional campaign $500,000 earlier this year but relied on others in raising $191,284.77 during the second quarter. Of that total, $112,084.77 came from individual donors and $79,200.00 from a range of mostly corporate PACs.

I got a kick out of seeing Representative Jim Jordan's Congressional committee as a $2,000 donor to Blum. Jordan voted to re-elect John Boehner as speaker in January, but two GOP dissidents voted for Jordan as speaker instead. Blum voted for a different alternative to Boehner at that time, putting him on the outs with the National Republican Congressional Committee. Apparently Jordan has no hard feelings, though.

Blum's campaign reported spending just $16,329.40 during the second quarter, leaving $819,328.37 cash on hand as of June 30. I assume Blum will loan his campaign more money if need be to fund a district-wide re-election effort, since he's not in the House GOP incumbent protection program.

Monica Vernon's campaign reported raising $184,302.41 during the second quarter, $151,361.41 from individuals and $33,000.00 from political action committees. The candidate also loaned her campaign an additional $15,800.00 in an apparent attempt to push total receipts above $200,000 for the quarter. She has loaned $125,800.00 to the campaign since the beginning of the year.

Notable PAC contributions included $5,000 from EMILY's List and the following donations from committees associated with members of Congress:

$2,000 from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's campaign committee

$2,000 from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's campaign committee

$5,000 from Hoyer's AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America

$10,000 from the Off the Sidelines PAC associated with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

$2,000 from Representative Dave Loebsack's I-PAC

$2,000 from the Jobs, Opportunities and Education PAC associated with Representative Joseph Crowley of New York

$1,000 from the Progressive Choices PAC affiliated with Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois

$1,000 from the Shore PAC affiliated with Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey

The Stanley Consultants PAC based in Muscatine, Iowa kicked in $500; that PAC has donated to candidates from both parties.

The Tri-State Maxed-Out Women PAC, which supports Democratic women running for the U.S. House or Senate, gave $2,500.

Vernon's campaign reported spending $66,234.15 during the second three months of the year. Nothing struck me as unusual on the itemized expenditure list.

As of June 30, Vernon's campaign had $423,844.69 cash on hand. Because some of her donors have given more than the $2,700 maximum contribution for a primary campaign, about $15,000 of Vernon's cash is restricted for use during the 2016 general election. She will have to refund that money if she doesn't win next year's Democratic primary.

UPDATE: On July 16, Vernon's campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail blast. The name "Stop Rod Blum" appears in the sender line. Excerpt:

Friend: we had to share this right away:

FIRST: Rod Blum AGREES with Donald Trump's hateful comments on immigration

THEN: the Federal Election Commission reported a primary MAX OUT contribution from the Koch brothers PAC to Blum's campaign

NOW: We need your help to fight back.

From Donald Trump to the Koch brothers, Rod Blum is aligning himself with some of the most extreme members of the tea party.

We need to make sure Monica has the resources to fight back against Rod Blum and his tea party backers.

Ravi Patel's monster fundraising was the story of the first-quarter campaign finance reports from Iowa. He had already taken in another $226,145.70 in donations, all but $5,000 from individuals, before he dropped out of the race last month. Amazingly, Patel topped all four of Iowa's Congressional incumbents in fundraising for the second quarter, as he did during the first three months of the year.

Patel has said he will refund contributions to his campaign. His FEC filing shows only $3,300 in refunded individual donations so far, but he quit the race just a week before the end of the reporting period. Patel for Iowa spent $124,571.91 during the second quarter and still had $599,714.62 cash on hand as of June 30.

Gary Kroeger will have to run a low-budget campaign, judging by his first quarterly report. Since announcing his candidacy in April, Kroeger raised $40,500.86, all from individuals. Most of his donors live in Iowa, but a few show business friends also contributed to the Saturday Night Live alum's Congressional effort. Kroeger's campaign received $2,000 from film and television actor Alan Ruck and $1,000 from former SNL executive producer Dick Ebersol.

Kroeger's campaign spent modestly, just $21,566.04 for the quarter, but had only $18,934.82 cash on hand as of June 30. He'll need much more money than that to raise his name recognition outside the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.

Pat Murphy, the Democratic nominee in IA-01, appears ready to enter this race soon. His campaign reported no contributions and only a few minor expenditures during the second quarter, with $44,365.17 cash on hand as of June 30.


The lone Democrat left in Iowa's Congressional delegation had a fundraising quarter much like the previous one. Representative Dave Loebsack's latest FEC filing shows $183,273.04 in contributions. Individuals gave his campaign $69,403.08, while a mix of corporate and progressive PACs gave $113,869.96.

Loebsack's campaign reported spending $63,526.12, leaving $288,308.47 cash on hand as of June 30. Although that's not an intimidating amount for a five-term incumbent, Loebsack shouldn't need a ton of money for next year's race. He just survived another Republican wave year and is unlikely to have much trouble winning re-election during a presidential cycle. The district has a partisan voting index of D+4 and a voter registration advantage of about 24,000 for Democrats.

Republican State Senator Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa is rumored to be considering a challenge to Loebsack but has not filed organizational papers yet with the Federal Election Commission. Chelgren was just re-elected to a second four-year term in 2014, so he could run for Congress without giving up his Iowa Senate seat.

I am not aware of any other prospective GOP candidates in the second district.


First-term Representative David Young's fundraising dropped off quite a bit from his last FEC filing. The latest report shows $215,835.00 in donations to Young for Iowa during the second quarter. Of that amount, $89,085.00 came from individuals, $1000 from the Ringgold County GOP Central Committee, and $125,750 from a long list of mostly corporate PACs.

Young's campaign reported $46,715.69 in expenditures for the second quarter and $521,708.69 cash on hand as of June 30, with $58,150 in unpaid bills. He'll need a healthy campaign bank account, since Iowa's third district is the most competitive in terms of party registrations.

Young's campaign still owes $250,000 on loans the candidate made during 2013 and 2014.

No Democratic candidate has formally announced plans to run in IA-03. Desmund Adams filed organizational papers with the FEC this month and has a Congressional campaign website under construction.

State Senator Matt McCoy and several other Democrats are rumored to be considering the race. One of those is Jim Mowrer, the 2014 Democratic nominee in Iowa's fourth Congressional district. Mowrer now lives in Des Moines. Unlike Pat Murphy, he has virtually no money (to be precise, $109.32) in his campaign account.


I wonder whether any seven-term House incumbent raised less money during the second quarter than Representative Steve King. His FEC filing showed just $90,692.49 in contributions: $79,192.49 from individuals, $11,500.00 from PACs.

King's campaign spent more money than it took in during the second quarter. The $111,107.78 in reported expenditures didn't contain anything unusual. King's son and daughter-in-law are among his three campaign staffers. They have been the key employees of most of his re-election bids, with the exception of his high-profile 2012 race against Christie Vilsack in a substantially redrawn district. King brought in heavy-hitter campaign professionals for that one.

While King's $73,600.99 cash on hand is surprisingly low for an entrenched incumbent, the sad truth is he doesn't need much money to keep getting re-elected in this heavily Republican district.

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

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