# Advertising



What went right for Mike Franken and wrong for Abby Finkenauer

Retired Admiral Mike Franken decisively won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on June 7, taking about 55 percent of the vote to 40 percent for former U.S. Representative Abby Finkenauer and just under 5 percent for Dr. Glenn Hurst.

The nominee will face Senator Chuck Grassley, who defeated GOP challenger Jim Carlin by 73.5 percent to 26.5 percent.

While Franken appeared to have momentum in recent weeks, Iowa politics watchers weren’t expecting this margin of victory in the Senate race. Several factors were working in the winner’s favor and against Finkenauer as the primary approached.

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Smith outraising Fitzgerald in treasurer's race. Will it matter?

State Senator Roby Smith is on track to outspend State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, if the latest reports filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board are any guide.

A news release from the Republican’s campaign boasted that its donations, totaling $213,391.15 so far this election cycle, “have set an all-time record” for a candidate for Iowa state treasurer. Smith raised substantially more than Fitzgerald during the latest reporting period and had nearly three times as much cash on hand.

But it would be premature to conclude, as Smith’s news release asserted, “Our historic fundraising number and Fitzgerald’s lack of support shows Iowans are clearly ready for change.”

Each candidate takes advantages into what could be Iowa’s most competitive state treasurer’s race in four decades.

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Van Lancker highlights early voting in first ad

Iowa Democrats have only two competitive statewide primaries this year: for U.S. Senate and for secretary of state. Both Democrats running for the latter office are long-serving county auditors who are not widely known outside their home counties (Linn County for Joel Miller and Clinton County for Eric Van Lancker).

Van Lancker began introducing himself to a wider circle of voters this week with his first digital ad. The 60-second spot highlights the benefits of early voting. According to an April 5 news release, the campaign will release a 30-second version of this ad for television in May. Under a law Republicans enacted last year, Iowa’s early voting period will begin on May 18, just 20 days before the June 7 primary.

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Exclusive: Governor was comped state building for SOTU response

Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union from a government building terrace that is currently closed for rentals, and her office paid nothing to use the space.

The governor’s spokesperson Alex Murphy confirmed on March 2 that Reynolds gave the speech from the State Historical Building terrace. Five days and several emails later, Murphy confirmed the building “did not charge a fee for the Governor’s use of the space.”

Communications staff for the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs did not respond to messages over the past week seeking to clarify who approved the unusual arrangement for the governor.

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EMILY's List to play in Iowa; won't commit to positive Senate race

One of the leading Democratic-aligned political action committees endorsed three Iowa candidates this week. EMILY’s List, which backs pro-choice Democratic women seeking federal, state, or local offices, endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer on December 15 and U.S. House candidates Christina Bohannan and Liz Mathis in the new first and second Congressional districts on December 16.

The PAC endorsed U.S. Representative Cindy Axne for re-election in the third district in March.

This week’s announcements were no surprise, since EMILY’s List supported Axne and Finkenauer in their 2018 and 2020 U.S. House campaigns, and said in April that Senator Chuck Grassley was one of three Republicans the group planned to target in 2022 Senate races.

Backing from EMILY’s List helps candidates raise money through the organization’s large network of donors. Perhaps more important, it indicates the group is prepared to pay for advertising on behalf of endorsed candidates or against their opponents.

The big question is whether EMILY’s List will keep its messages positive before the June 2022 Senate primary, or also target Democratic rivals. I couldn’t get an answer from the group yesterday.

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