# Campaign Finance



Todd Halbur scores big upset in Iowa GOP state auditor primary

The establishment candidate should have focused more on the Iowa Republican primary for state auditor.

Unofficial returns from the June 7 election show Mary Ann Hanusa received 79,875 votes (48.8 percent) to 83,843 votes (51.2 percent) for Todd Halbur. The result shocked me, since Hanusa had the public backing of the governor, most of Iowa’s Congressional delegation, and many state legislators, whereas Halbur was virtually unknown when he filed nominating papers in March.

But Hanusa did little to reach Republicans who turned out in large numbers this week, due to the many competitive legislative primaries around the state.

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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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Ten Iowa Democratic legislative primaries to watch in 2022

UPDATE: I’ve added unofficial results for each race.

Iowa Democrats have more competitive state legislative primaries in 2022 than in a typical election cycle. That’s partly because quite a few House and Senate members are retiring, and partly because the redistricting plan adopted in 2021 created some legislative districts with no incumbents.

In most of the races discussed below, the winner of the primary is very likely to prevail in November. However, a few of the districts could be targeted by one or both parties in the general election.

All data on past election performance in these districts comes from the Iowa House and Senate maps Josh Hughes created in Dave’s Redistricting App. Fundraising numbers are taken from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s database.

This post is not an exhaustive account of all contested Democratic primaries for state legislative offices. You can find the full primary candidate list here.

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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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