# Fundraising

Iowa Congressional 1Q fundraising news roundup

While many Americans dread tax day, April 15 holds a silver lining for political junkies: the chance to read the latest federal campaign finance reports. Follow me after the jump for details on the money raised and spent by Iowa’s five U.S. House incumbents and five challengers between January 1 and March 31. Note: at this writing, Dave Loebsack’s primary challenger Joe Seng had not filed a quarterly report with the Federal Election Commission. I will update this post if one appears. He may not have raised enough money yet to trigger reporting requirements.

Click here for the latest voter registration numbers in Iowa’s four new Congressional districts.

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Newt Gingrich slowly learning about fiscal responsibility

Good news has been in short supply lately for supporters of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential candidacy. But Gingrich told Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times this week that he’s turning things around:

“The fact is a month of media barrage is painful, and it slowed a lot of things down,” [Gingrich] said, before marching in a Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. “Our numbers will not be as good as we would like, and candidly, the consultants left us in debt. But every single week since they left we’ve been cutting down the debt, and we raise more than we spend in a week.”

Way to blame on the media for your own big mouth and lazy approach to campaigning, Newt. If you’re asking people to elect you president, you should at least be able to keep your own organization’s spending in line with its revenues.

Gingrich hasn’t given up on competing in the Iowa caucuses. His new spokesman R.C. Hammond told the Des Moines Register’s Jason Clayworth that the campaign will rely on the kindness of strangers volunteers. One of the most important free laborers will be former Representative Greg Ganske. He was part of the giant Republican “Class of 1994” in the U.S. House, taking down legendary Democrat Neal Smith in what was then Iowa’s fourth district. Ganske stepped up to be Gingrich’s finance chair in Iowa and is giving the candidate some money tips:

Ganske has already advised Gingrich to stop chartering expensive private planes and to instead fly commercial airlines, preferably in coach.  He’s also advised Gingrich to skip the Ames straw poll, a major Republican presidential shindig that will be held Aug. 13th.

“It’s basically who can buy the most buses to transport people in and then throw the biggest party,” Ganske said. “Basically it’s a fundraiser for the party.”

When a campaign is flat broke, the candidate shouldn’t need to be told to stop chartering planes. Then again, Gingrich developed an expensive airplane habit in his years running the American Solutions 527 organization.

Gingrich has no choice but to skip the Ames straw poll because he couldn’t afford to put in a bid for a spot outside the venue.

Last time Ganske made Iowa campaign news, he was hosting a fundraiser for Jim Gibbons, the Congressional candidate who lost badly to State Senator Brad Zaun in the 2010 IA-03 Republican primary, despite support from power-brokers in Iowa and Washington. Ganske’s been out of office for a long time, and rightly or wrongly, many Republicans feel his flaws as a candidate cost the GOP the 2002 U.S. Senate race against Tom Harkin. But beggars can’t be choosers. Gingrich should be thankful that anyone with any clout in Iowa offered to assist his hopeless cause.

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Iowa GOP cancels Lincoln dinner fundraiser (updated)

Donald Trump’s decision not to run for president put the Republican Party of Iowa in an awkward position, because he was supposed to keynote the party’s June 10 Lincoln dinner fundraiser. While Iowa GOP officials waited to hear whether Trump would keep his promise, even WHO television reporter Dave Price (a favorite among conservatives) couldn’t get a call back seeking comment. The state party finally got the bad news today and released this statement:

Earlier today the Iowa GOP was informed that Mr. Trump will not attend and keynote the June 10 Lincoln Dinner. Citing Mr. Trump’s unique appeal and the close proximity to the event, the Iowa GOP has decided to cancel the 2011 Lincoln Dinner.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn issued the comment below following Mr. Trump’s decision to cancel his appearance at the Lincoln Dinner.

“In Iowa, your word is your bond. We are disappointed that Mr. Trump has chosen not to honor his commitment to Iowa Republicans.”

I know three weeks isn’t a lot of time, but I’m surprised party leaders couldn’t find some other well-known Republican to step up at the last minute. The Iowa GOP probably has already incurred printing and other expenses related to renting the Polk County Convention Complex for the event. Now money collected for record ticket sales will have to be refunded.

Maybe Iowa Republicans are better off not hitching their wagon to that horse, though. People with an unfavorable view of Trump greatly outnumber those who view him favorably, according to several recent national polls.

UPDATE: How bizarre.

On Friday, apparently stung by criticism from the spurned Iowans, Trump offered to travel to Iowa and speak if the Republicans would change their minds and hold the dinner.

“I promise you that my speech will be fantastic. My word is my bond,” he wrote to Matt Strawn, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. […]

The state party’s response was essentially thanks, but no thanks. […]

“Iowa Republicans have moved on,” is all party spokesman Casey Mills had to say Friday afternoon.

A Trump aide released a copy of the letter, in which the tycoon said he had thought it would be inappropriate for him to give the speech once he decided not to run for president.

“I truly believe that this honor should be given to one of the other candidates or potential candidates, who could use this invaluable opportunity to get their word out,” he wrote. “I was very surprised and saddened to read that you canceled the event, and hence, called you immediately to let you know that if you wanted me to be there, I would be ready, willing and able.”

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Report scrutinizes Tom Miller's campaign contributions

Kevin McNellis of the National Institute on Money in State Politics published a report yesterday on Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s 2010 campaign fundraising. The report connects Miller’s contributions from out-of-state law firms and people in the finance, insurance, and real estate sector with the nationwide foreclosure investigation Miller has been leading since October. Miller objects that the report “is false or misleading from the start to the finish.” More details and context are after the jump.

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IA-04: More speculation about Vilsack challenging King

Citing “several sources familiar with her thinking,” Alex Isenstadt reports at Politico today that former First Lady Christie Vilsack is leaning toward challenging five-term incumbent Steve King in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district. Isenstadt notes that Vilsack met with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel last week in Washington. Israel reportedly promised Vilsack that he would support her if she runs against King, but that he would “unequivocally” back Representative Dave Loebsack if she runs against him in the Democratic primary to represent the second Congressional district.

Isenstadt’s piece doesn’t clarify whether Israel promised the DCCC’s financial backing for Vilsack in an IA-04 race. The DCCC officially supports all Democratic nominees for the U.S. House, but usually only spends money on behalf of a few dozen candidates. The 39 counties in the new fourth district (map after the jump) are in five different media markets, although most of the population could be reached by advertising in just Des Moines, Sioux City and Mason City.

Last week the Des Moines rumor mill suggested Vilsack had been calling state legislators in the second district. According to Isenstadt, she has discussed a possible race against King with some Democrats in IA-04:

Jan Bauer, chairwoman of the Story County Democratic Party in Ames, said she spoke with the former first lady several weeks ago and that Vilsack raised the possibility of challenging the conservative congressman.

“I’d be surprised if she doesn’t do it,” Bauer said in an interview.

A campaign in IA-04 would be an uphill climb for any Democrat, although Vilsack would start the race with unparalleled name recognition and the capacity to raise significant funds. King has never been a major-league fundraiser; his latest FEC filing indicated that he had $142,610.38 in his campaign account as of March 31.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread. I think a campaign in IA-02 would give Vilsack her best chance of winning a seat in Congress and holding that seat for more than two years. On the other hand, I would enjoy seeing a serious and well-funded challenge to Iowa’s most embarrassing politician of my lifetime.

Final note on IA-02: Loebsack’s latest FEC filing showed $121,874.47 cash on hand as of March 31. Representative Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin headlined a fundraiser for Loebsack in Iowa City over the weekend. Next month, Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Senator Tom Harkin are hosting a fundraiser for Loebsack in Scott County, while Representative Leonard Boswell (IA-03) plans to hold a fundraiser for Loebsack in Jasper County.

UPDATE: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told Democratic state senators on Monday that if his wife runs for Congress, “it will be a holy war.” That suggests she is leaning toward challenging King, rather than forcing a Democratic primary in IA-02.

SECOND UPDATE: From Bret Hayworth’s blog on April 19:

This morning, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn was traveling through Northwest Iowa to talk politics, including making a stop to talk with me at the office. He was raring to talk about the possibility of a King-Vilsack matchup.

“She can try and take Steve King on, but I think that will be a great opportunity for Republicans to mobilize. A presidential year, having  a very highlighted race in Northwest Iowa, is a guarantee that we are going to be able to turn out every Republican and conservative vote that would benefit a presidential candidate, all the way down the ticket,” Strawn said.

“Not only does Mrs. Vilsack not have any natural connection whatsoever to Northwest and north central Iowa, but culturally is out of step. She’s someone that has an affiliation with some organizations that would certainly inflame a lot of the pro-life voters in this area… Congressman King has a national following as well, and he would have the ability to call in all sorts of resources to aid the fight.”

THIRD UPDATE: Matt Paul, a former staffer for Governor Tom Vilsack, told the Des Moines Register on April 19,

“I can confirm that Christie and Tom Vilsack have completed a transaction and are moving to Ames,” said Matt Paul, a Democratic strategist who was a staffer for Tom Vilsack when he was governor. […]

Paul declined to offer further details about Christie Vilsack’s political intentions, but said: “There will be an announcement very soon.”

FOURTH UPDATE: A rare moment of agreement between Governor Terry Branstad and me:

“Well, she’s never lived in northwest Iowa and it’s a heavily Republican area,” Branstad said this morning. […]

“I think in southeast Iowa she would be a pretty formidable candidate where she grew up,” Branstad said. “I think in northwest Iowa she’d be a fish out of water.”

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Follow-up on Iowa Republican fundraising for legislative races

Last week I discussed the strangely low fundraising numbers reported by some Republican candidates in battleground Iowa House and Senate districts. Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican blog is worried about the “lackluster fundraising numbers of the House Republicans,” not so much by candidates running in the open seats but by the GOP leaders:

Obviously, party leaders will always prefer candidates who can raise money to fund their campaigns, but very few candidates actually raise enough money to be self-sufficient.

This means that the leadership team in both chambers must raise money to help win or protect seats. House Republicans are not hitting on all cylinders in this area. […]

At this time in 2008, [Chris] Rants’ five-person leadership team had raised over $437,000. [Kraig] Paulsen’s seven-person team has raised significantly less, bringing in $364,000.

Another problem for the House Republican effort is that two of the seven-member leadership team are facing stiff competition this fall. Representatives Renee Schulte and Dave Deyoe both occupy seats that are very expensive in which to campaign, and both will have to use every dollar that they raise on their own races instead of helping others. If Schulte and Deyoe’s fundraising totals are subtracted from the leadership team’s total, it means that Paulsen’s team has really only raised $298,000. […]

In total, the 2008 leadership team for the House Republicans raised $785,000. That means that, at this point in the 2008 election cycle, Rants’ leadership team had raised 56% of the total funds they would raise that year. If Paulsen’s crew raises only what was raised in 2008, then they are only 46% of the way there if you include Schulte’s and Deyoe’s contributions, and they are a disappointing 38% of the way there if [Schulte] and Deyoe are excluded because they have their own races to worry about.

If House Republicans want to wrestle control away from the Democrats, they need to get serious about fundraising. Legislative campaigns are expensive. The average cost of a rural House seat is $200,000, while an urban house seat can easily cost $400,000 or more. […]

Robinson also posted a table comparing Iowa House Republican leaders’ fundraising from 2008 and the current election cycle, which you can find after the jump. House district 37 (map here) is one of Iowa Democrats’ best pickup opportunities. It contains a large part of northern Cedar Rapids, ending where the suburbs Hiawatha and Marion begin. Schulte defeated first-term State Representative Art Staed by just 13 votes in 2008. Even after recent Republican gains in voter registration, registered Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans in district 37 (no-party voters have a plurality). Robinson is right: Schulte won’t be able to afford to share her campaign funds with other House Republicans, because her Democratic opponent Mark Seidl is pounding the pavement.

Deyoe’s House district 10 (map) covers most of Story County outside Ames as well as the eastern part of Hamilton County. Compared to House district 37, this is slightly more favorable terrain for the GOP, as registered Republicans outnumber Democrats. But as in many Iowa legislative districts, no-party voters comprise the largest group of registrants. Moreover, Deyoe has a more experienced opponent in Selden Spencer, who was the 2006 Democratic nominee against Tom Latham in the fourth Congressional district. Both Spencer and Deyoe have just under $26,000 cash on hand, according to the July 19 disclosure reports.

I hadn’t realized before reading Robinson’s post that Iowa House GOP leaders were not keeping up with the party’s fundraising pace in 2008, but that’s not surprising. Ask any professional working in the development field: the recent recession and stock market declines make it more challenging to raise money now than in 2008. In addition, Republican statehouse leaders had much less competition for donors two years ago. The statewide offices weren’t on the ballot, and John McCain had a small donor pool here, having mostly bypassed the Iowa caucuses. Now Terry Branstad and to a lesser extent Brenna Findley are raising big money from the same people Paulsen needs to tap for the House races.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread. If you can afford to do so, please donate to one or more Democrats running for Iowa House. You can give online through ActBlue or the candidates’ official websites.

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The case of the missing Republican fundraising

Last week Democratic and Republican candidates for the Iowa legislature filed disclosure reports on their campaign contributions and expenditures. For most candidates, those reports covered the period from June 2 through July 14. For the few candidates who didn’t file reports on the Friday preceding the June primary, the July 19 reports covered campaign fundraising and expenses between May 15 and July 14.

John Deeth posted cash-on-hand totals for candidates in most of the Iowa House and Senate battleground districts. The numbers are encouraging for Democrats, because our candidates lead their opponents in cash on hand in most of the targeted districts.

As I read through the July 19 contribution reports, I noticed something strange. Republican candidates in various targeted Iowa House and Senate districts reported improbably low fundraising numbers. As a general rule, candidates strive for impressive fundraising to demonstrate their viability, and cash on hand in July indicates which candidate will have more resources during crunch time. However, I got the impression that several of the Republican Iowa House and Senate candidates made little effort to obtain campaign contributions during the latest reporting period. Follow me after the jump for some examples and possible explanations.  

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NRCC looks unlikely to get involved in Iowa races

The National Republican Congressional Committee has put all three Iowa GOP Congressional challengers “on the radar,” the bottom rung of the three-tier Young Guns program. Challengers who appear better positioned to win may be bumped up later this year to “contender” or “young gun” status. Only the “young guns” are likely to get significant financial help from the NRCC.

If I were running Brad Zaun’s campaign, I’d start implementing “plan B,” assuming he’s on his own in his race against Representative Leonard Boswell. Iowa’s third district is rated “lean Democratic” by most analysts of the House races, while Iowa’s first and second districts are in the “safe Democratic” column. This spring the NRCC gave Zaun’s primary opponent Jim Gibbons “contender” status. Although the Iowa primary results were in a sense humiliating for the NRCC, I would have expected House Republican leaders to signal in some way that IA-03 (with a partisan voting index of D+1) is a more competitive district than IA-01 (D+5) or IA-02 (D+7). Instead, they give Zaun the same status as Bruce Braley’s challenger Ben Lange and Dave Loebsack’s repeat rival Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

Looking solely at fundraising numbers, which seems to be the NRCC’s main benchmark for candidates, Zaun belongs at the same level as Lange and Miller-Meeks. All three Republicans finished the second quarter with a little more than $100,000 cash on hand, and all face incumbents with much more money in the bank. Iowa politics-watchers generally consider Boswell more vulnerable than Loebsack or Braley, and on paper Zaun is a good candidate. He is an experienced campaigner and has a base in the population center of the district. However, it’s far from clear Zaun will have the resources he needs to be successful. Boswell’s campaign is about to hold its biggest fundraiser yet, featuring President Bill Clinton.

The tough reality for Zaun (and Lange and Miller-Meeks) is that the NRCC doesn’t have a bottomless pit of money to spend on every potentially competitive race. The latest FEC reports from party committees show the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with $33.8 million cash on hand compared to just $17 million for the NRCC. That’s not even enough to make a serious play in the 40 districts where Republican challengers already have full “young gun” status. Even worse for Iowa’s Republicans, the 14 candidates who got “contender” status this week are also ahead of Zaun, Lange and Miller-Meeks in line for help from the NRCC.

I doubt the NRCC will play much of a role in Iowa until 2012, when at least one of our four newly-drawn Congressional districts may be highly competitive.

Share any thoughts about Iowa’s U.S. House races in this thread.

UPDATE: Get a load of the ridiculous spin from Zaun: “The NRCC has identified our race as a top 30 race in the country.” Sorry, no: there are 40 candidates in the top tier, where the best pickup opportunities lie. Then come the “contenders” (second tier), and finally Zaun and the rest of the “on the radar” bunch.

THURDSAY UPDATE: Reid Wilson of Hotline on Call reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is buying tv air time in 17 districts held by Democratic incumbents, including IA-03.

Iowa statewide candidate fundraising roundup

The latest round of statewide and state legislative candidate financial reports are available on the website of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. For most candidates, these reports cover money raised and spent between June 2 and July 14. Some of the candidates didn’t file a June 4 disclosure report, and in those cases the latest filing covers the period from May 15 to July 14.

Fundraising numbers for Democratic and Republican candidates for statewide offices are after the jump. In addition to money raised and spent and cash on hand figures, I’ve listed the largest donors for each candidate. I am working on a post about the noteworthy fundraising figures from Iowa House and Senate candidates. John Deeth hit some highlights at the Des Moines Register blog. It’s important to remember that leadership committees for both parties will also spend a lot of money in the battleground legislative districts.

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Culver campaign brings on new finance director

Governor Chet Culver’s campaign announced today that Peggy Huppert has signed on as finance director. From the press release:

“Peggy is an asset to our campaign and will make sure we have the resouces needed to win in November. She brings a great deal of knowledge and experience about fundraising but also about Iowa politics,” said Culver/Judge Campaign Manager Donn Stanley.

Huppert has taken a leave of absence from her role as Iowa Director of Government Relations at the American Cancer Society to join the Culver/Judge Campaign. From 1998 to 2000, she served as co-chair of the Polk County Democrats and has continued to play a key role in Des Moines politics. Prior to her work with the American Cancer Society, Huppert worked with Iowans for Sensible Priorities/Caucus4Priorities and was Chair of the Freedom Fund.

Huppert knows a lot of the major donors in Iowa Democratic and progressive circles from her past work with the Polk County Democrats, Iowans for Sensible Priorities and the Freedom Fund. If you were in Iowa during the year before the 2008 caucuses, you may recognize this graphic even if the name “Sensible Priorities” doesn’t ring a bell:

Sensible Priorities spinning wheel

The Freedom Fund is the old name for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa’s political action committee. PPGI became Planned Parenthood of the Heartland last year, and its political arm is now called the Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC. The Freedom Fund endorsed Culver before the 2006 Democratic primary and for the general election, and Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC has endorsed Culver for re-election.

It’s a bit late for the Culver campaign to bring a heavy-hitting fundraiser on board, but better late than never. A lot of the usual suspects in the Iowa Democratic donor world weren’t on Culver’s last campaign finance disclosure report. The Democratic Governors Association has already given money to Culver ($500,000 in 2009 and $750,000 in the spring of this year), and they may offer additional help. At the same time, they are defending a lot of governor’s seats and don’t have an endless supply of cash.

Terry Branstad depleted most of his campaign’s cash on hand by spending at least $2 million before the Republican primary. Even so, he should have resources to spend on the general election. Branstad has continued to advertise on television since the primary, which suggests he’s still collecting lots of individual donations and/or the Republican Governors Association cut him a big check. The RGA has about twice as much cash on hand as the DGA, in part because major Republican givers have been shunning the Republican National Committee.

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Republicans still raising money with fake census forms

A month after the House and Senate unanimously approved a bill restricting direct-mail pieces designed to look like census documents, the Republican National Committee is at it again:

An RNC mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker bears the words “Census Document” and, in all caps, “DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT,” on the outside of the envelope. In smaller letters, it says: “This is not a U.S. government document.” The new law requires, among other things, that such mailers state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope — something the RNC’s missive doesn’t appear to do. Inside, a letter from RNC chair Michael Steele, dated April 12, asks recipients to fill out a questionnaire about their political views, and solicits donations of as much as $500 or more. (See the mailer here.)

Last month, in response to virtually identical RNC mailers, members of both parties cried foul, raising the concern that the mailers could reduce the response rate for the actual Census — which was mailed to Americans last month — by confusing some voters. […] Congress quickly passed a law — the House vote was 416-0 — requiring that mailers marked “census” state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope, and contain an unambiguous disclaimer making clear that the mailer is not affiliated with the government.

Based on a PDF image, the mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker does not appear to state the sender’s name and address on the outside. And the words “DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT” would appear to make the disclaimer that it’s not a government document less than unambiguous.

The RNC’s fundraising efforts have taken a hit this year, and Chairman Michael Steele is under pressure to turn things around, so I can’t say I’m surprised by this desperate act.

On a related note, census mail-back rates exceeded expectations this year, which will save the U.S. Census Bureau hundreds of millions of dollars. Iowa’s census participation rate is 77 percent so far, tied for third with Indiana and just behind Wisconsin and Minnesota. Many communities in Polk County have participation rates over 80 percent.  

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NRCC casts its vote for Gettemy in IA-02, Gibbons in IA-03

The National Republican Campaign Committee added Rob Gettemy to its list of “on the radar” candidates today. Gettemy is one of four Republicans running against Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s second Congressional district.

“The NRCC is committed to working with Rob Gettemy as he continues to meet the rigorous goals of the Young Guns program,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions. “Rob is an accomplished, independent leader who will fight to create jobs and rein in government spending. I am confident that Republicans will wage a strong fight against Dave Loebsack, a loyal Democrat who has repeatedly put his partisan agenda before a healthy economy.”

They’ll have to do more than that to convince me that this D+7 district will be competitive in the fall. The real reason for putting Gettemy “on the radar” is to signal to Republican donors that he’s the guy to support in this race. It’s a slap in the face to 2008 nominee Mariannette Miller-Meeks, not to mention the other two Republicans running in IA-02 (Steve Rathje and Chris Reed). Gettemy joined the race last but has the most cash on hand thanks to a $100,000 loan he made to his own campaign.

If no candidate wins 35 percent in the June 8 primary, NRCC support could help Gettemy at the district convention that would decide the Republican nominee. Gettemy already has backing from many prominent Linn County Republicans.

In the NRCC’s three-tiered system for candidates in supposedly competitive races, the next step up from “on the radar” is “contender.” Jim Gibbons’ campaign announced today that the NRCC has elevated him to that level. Gibbons became an “on the radar” candidate in February. If Gibbons can meet certain benchmarks, the NRCC may later elevate him to the top “Young Gun” level, for candidates deemed to have the best chances of winning Democratic-held House seats.

Getting a pat on the back from the NRCC will help Gibbons raise money, particularly from out-of-district donors who don’t know the political terrain in Iowa’s third district. Gibbons outraised the other Republican candidates in IA-03 by a substantial margin in the first quarter, and being a “contender” will probably help him extend that financial advantage in the second quarter. The Gibbons campaign press release is not subtle:

By achieving ‘Contender’ status, Gibbons has already proven his ability to build a successful campaign structure and achieve vital fundraising goals.

Gibbons added, “This recognition shows that our campaign is ready to take down Leonard Boswell in the fall.  I am the only candidate in this race that has shown the financial heft and organization structure to compete and win in November.  I am running for Congress to bring Iowa values back to Congress,” said Jim Gibbons.

I have to laugh to see Gibbons bragging about support from Washington party leaders a week after he tried to attack incumbent Leonard Boswell for getting help from the head of the DCCC.

Many people on the ground in IA-03 expect State Senator Brad Zaun to win the Republican nomination. Zaun appears to have an early advantage in name recognition as well as a base in vote-rich Urbandale. On the other hand, Zaun has raised only a little more than $80,000 for his Congressional campaign, about $50,000 of that in the first quarter. It may not be enough for strong district-wide advertising and direct mail before the June 8 primary. A majority of Republican voters haven’t yet decided on a candidate, according to a recent poll commissioned by Zaun’s campaign.

If no candidate wins 35 percent in the primary, Zaun could be well-positioned to win the nomination at a district convention, having much more background in Republican politics. But Gibbons could point to the NRCC’s backing as an argument in his favor. Party leaders in Washington are less likely to commit resources to this district if Zaun is the candidate.

A final word on Zaun’s meager fundraising. His defenders claim that his fundraising has lagged because he was tied up in the state legislature from January through March. I’m not buying it. Zaun announced his candidacy against Boswell in early December, more than a month before the 2010 legislative session began. If Rod Roberts could raise more than $50,000 in the kickoff event for his gubernatorial campaign, Zaun should have been able to raise much more at his kickoff event in late December (before the legislative session began). Zaun is a former mayor of Urbandale, a community with much more wealth and more Republicans than the Carroll area Roberts has represented in the Iowa House. Zaun should have a large pool of major donors to tap.

Share any thoughts about Congressional races in Iowa in this thread.

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40 Days Until Sestak-Specter and Halter-Lincoln

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

40 days from today – on May 18 – we will see two HUGE primaries for U.S. Senate.  Even though these races aren’t in Iowa, they impact Democrats across the country and, well, the entire country as a whole.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak will try to upset Republican-for-decades Arlen Specter.

In Arkansas, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter will try to upset corporate lackey Blanche Lincoln.

These two races are tremendously important to defining who and what the Democratic Party is and what we will be fighting for.

If you can volunteer for these candidates (or encourage friends and family in Pennsylvania and Arkansas to do so), that would be amazing.

Of course, if you can help with a contribution to either or both via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page as soon as possible, it will make a big impact.

Expand the Map! ActBlue page
Joe Sestak

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Bill Halter

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Polling shows that both Specter and Lincoln are at risk of – if not likely to – hand these Senate seats over to far-right-wing Republicans. (And, even if these two retain the seats, that’s not much better on many key issues.)

Congressman Sestak and Lieutenant Governor Halter winning these primaries are critical to keeping these seats in truly Democratic hands. Your support can help make that happen!  Please hop over to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page right away to make a contribution – an investment in the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party to pull out an old expression – and show your support.

Thanks SO much for any support you can provide. 40 Days.

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High-ranking departures point to "full-scale bloodletting" at RNC

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has been under pressure lately. Since he took over in January 2009, the RNC has spent far more than it has raised, and the latest numbers show the Democratic National Committee ahead of the RNC in cash of hand (which is highly unusual). Major Republican donors have been fleeing the RNC for various reasons, including staffers’ embarrassing fundraising proposals and massive overspending on luxury hotels, limos and nightclubs. Today RNC Chief of Staff Ken McKay resigned, prompting one of Steele’s advisers to leave in what Jonathan Martin described as “a full-scale bloodletting”:

“Leadership requires that I can safely assure you, our donors, and the American people that our mission is what drives every dollar we spend, every phone call we make, every email we send and every event we organize,” Steele wrote in the email [sent to RNC members and donors on Monday], obtained by POLITICO. “Recent events have called that assurance into question and the buck stops with me. That is why I have made this change in my management team and why I am confident about going forward to November with renewed focus and energy.”

McKay didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

But his apparent firing has roiled the close-knit world of GOP operatives and Monday night longtime Republican strategist and Steele adviser Curt Anderson said his consulting firm would no longer be working with the RNC.

“Ken McKay’s departure is a huge loss for the Republican Party,” Anderson said in a statement to POLITICO. “Ken steered the party through very successful elections last fall that have given us tremendous momentum. He’s a great talent. Given our firm’s commitments to campaigns all over the country we have concluded it is best for us to step away from our advisory role at the RNC. We have high personal regard for the Chairman and always have; we wish him well.”

It’s hard to see how the turmoil at the RNC won’t end with Steele’s departure, although Josh Marshall argued today that Steele

can’t be fired, in significant measure, because he’s black. Because canning Steele now would only drive home the reality that Republicans were trying to paper over, fairly clumsily, when they hired him in the first place. So Republicans are stuck with his myriad goofs and #pressfails and incompetent management and all the rest because of a set of circumstances entirely of their own making.

Hey, don’t blame Iowa’s RNC members; they voted for Katon Dawson over Steele in January 2009. But I must say I doubt a guy who became a Republican because the government desegregated his high school, and more recently belonged to an all-white country club, would have been the right man to rebuild the GOP’s image.

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Both parties raising big money for governor's races

With 37 governor’s races coming up this November, the Republican Governor’s Association and the Democratic Governor’s Association are pulling in big money. The RGA “raised $9 million in the first quarter of 2010 and has $31 million cash on hand,” CNN reported yesterday. The DGA raised $8 million during the first quarter, setting a new record for the organization, and has $22 million on hand. A DGA press release noted that first-quarter receipts in 2010 exceeded the organization’s fundraising during the first six months of 2006.

The RGA and DGA set fundraising records in 2009, with the Republican organization bringing in $30 million and its Democratic counterpart raising $23 million during the off-year. I expect both groups to spend money in Iowa this year.

I’m pleasantly surprised that the DGA has been able to stay so competitive with the RGA’s fundraising in 2010. The first couple of months of the year were rocky for Democrats, and many major Republican donors have been fleeing the Republican National Committee for various reasons, including RNC staffers’ embarrassing fundraising plans and massive overspending on luxury hotels, limos and nightclubs. I suspect a lot of contributions that would have gone to the RNC in other years are flowing to the RGA.

Yesterday’s press release from the DGA noted:

Since 2006, the DGA has compiled an impressive winning record on targeted races. In the six races where both governors committees have spent at least $500,000, DGA has won four.  […]

The strong first quarter fundraising piggybacks on two consecutive record-breaking years for the DGA and builds on what was already the largest cash-on-hand in organizational history. With $22 million already in the bank, the DGA will spend more on races in 2010 than it spent in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. Grassroots donors are fired up about the GOP’s redistricting takeover plan and they boosted the DGA tothe $8 million mark with a surge of contributions in the final days of the first quarter.

“Even as we’re raising more than ever before, we’re spending that money wisely,” said Nathan Daschle, the DGA’s executive director. “We’ve trimmed our operating expenses significantly so that we can put more resources where it matters – into the races on the ground – and our burn rate is the lowest it’s ever been. We are committed to spending every dollar wisely because the stakes are so high – Republicans are planning to win so many governorships that they can redistrict themselves back to power.”

Some of the key redistricting states with competitive gubernatorial elections include California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Iowa will lose a Congressional district after the 2010 census, but our state’s governor has little influence over the redistricting process.

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Hastert fundraiser could become liability for Gibbons

Last night former House Speaker Dennis Hastert headlined a fundraiser for Jim Gibbons, the candidate in the third Congressional district favored by beltway Republicans. Gibbons raised the most money by far in the fourth quarter of 2009, and Hastert’s appearance should help him out-raise his five or six Republican rivals in the current fundraising period too.  

By the same token, Hastert’s trip to Des Moines will provide fodder for Gibbons’ opponents. Tea Party favorite Dave Funk is pushing this message:

As a pilot, I know if you don’t chart a clear course and stay ever vigilant, you’re going to lose your direction and get lost. I hate to say it, but that happened under Dennis Hastert’s watch. The House Republican caucus lost its way with excessive spending and policies that didn’t represent the values and ideals of our party or the majority of American voters.

To be honest, Dennis Hastert was the “earmark king” of the Republican Party.  And now Jim Gibbons has aligned himself with Dennis Hastert and the very philosophy and actions that resulted in our party losing control of Congress, the Senate and the White House.

How can we in Iowa’s Third District expect real leadership from Jim Gibbons, when he is joining forces with the leader who led the House Republicans on the spending spree with taxpayers money that cost conservatives their reputations as fiscally responsible small government leaders?

State Senator Brad Zaun took a subtle swipe at Gibbons in a press release that was mostly about Zaun submitting his nominating papers:

“While some of the candidates in this primary are worried about earning the favor of the powerbrokers on Capitol Hill, I’ve been focused on serving my constituents and listening to the voters across the 3rd Congressional District. I look forward to ramping up our efforts in April and May after the legislative session adjourns,” concluded Zaun.

Former Representative Greg Ganske hosted the Hastert event for Gibbons. He represented Polk County when it was part of Iowa’s fourth Congressional district from 1995-2003. Ganske isn’t universally popular with the Republican base, though. He nearly lost the 2002 U.S. Senate primary to wingnut extraordinaire Bill Salier, and some Republicans believe (foolishly in my opinion) that being too moderate cost Ganske that year’s election against Tom Harkin.  

The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement yesterday on Hastert’s visit:  

More than two years after leaving public office to become a lobbyist, former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert continues to receive nearly $40,000 a month in taxpayer funded perks including an office, cell phone, staff, and an SUV.  

“Keeping Former Speaker Dennis Hastert on the taxpayer dime while he works as a lobbyist is hardly what Iowans believe is a good use of their hard earned money,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan. “Republican Jim Gibbons should know he is only as good as the company he keeps, and by choosing to embrace Dennis Hastert his calls for fiscal restraint ring [hollow].”


[…] Former Speaker Hastert maintains an office at taxpayer expense in Yorkville, Illinois.  The perks that Speaker Hastert accepted include an office, cell phone, staff, and a leased SUV. All told, Hastert receives nearly $40,000 a month in benefits from the federal government. These taxpayer-funded benefits are entirely legal as long as Hastert does not make use of them in the course of his lobbying work. [Politico, 12/21/09]

To my mind, Hastert’s current lobbying is less offensive than the fact that he sold real estate for nearly $2 million in profits after he secured federal earmarks to construct the Prairie Parkway near land he owned. I wonder what Gibbons thinks about that deal.

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GOP should return money raised from deceptive census mailings

Yesterday the House of Representatives unanimously approved HR 4261, the Prevent Deceptive Census Look-Alike Mailings Act. The short bill would ban fundraising letters like those the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee sent last month, which gave the appearance of being official census documents. Those mailings were legal because they did not “use the full name of the U.S. Census Bureau or the seal of any government agency.” However, even Republicans have admitted that the tactic crosses a line, and no one in the House GOP caucus wanted to go on record opposing the bill yesterday.

On the other hand, it costs Congressional Republicans nothing to vote for this bill. Their committees are already cashing checks from this year’s deception, and the next census won’t roll around for ten years. If Republicans truly believe it’s wrong to raise money with a fake census letter, they should return all contributions from suckers they’ve duped this year.  

Latest Republican fundraising trick: fake census forms

The Republican National Committee had its “worst election-year cash flow this decade” in 2009. RNC Chairman Michael Steele started the year with about $22 million cash on hand and ended the year with less than $9 million in the bank. Fortunately for him, the GOP may make up the lost ground with an innovative scam fundraising tool: fake census forms.

The fundraising letter comes in the form of a “survey,” a frequently used device for partisan fundraising, but this one has a twist: Calling itself the “Congressional District Census,” the letter comes in an envelope starkly printed with the words, “DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT” and describes itself, on the outside of the envelope, as a “census document.”

“Strengthening our party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America,” Steele writes in a letter that blends official-sounding language, partisan calls to arms, and requests for between $25 and $500. “That is why I have authorized a census to be conducted for every congressional district in the country.”

Representative Dave Loebsack recently warned constituents in Iowa’s second district about the RNC’s appeal: “This fundraising letter even calls itself a ‘Census survey’ and asks people to pay for the cost of processing the census form.” Iowa Independent posted a link to a scanned version of the mailing in this piece by Lynda Waddington. She notes, “The mailing includes a ‘census tracking code’ as well as a deadline to respond.”

Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York introduced legislation this week to “prevent deceptive census lookalike mailings.” Earlier, she and Representative William Clay of Missouri wrote the U.S. Postmaster General, charging the RNC was breaking federal law by sending out an “attempt to mislead recipients.” Even if Maloney’s bill moved forward, it would come too late to stop this fundraising drive.

Apparently the RNC’s mailing is legal, according to the postal service, because “it doesn’t use the full name of the U.S. Census Bureau or the seal of any government agency.” But Ben Smith writes at Politico,

Even some who have been involved with the program, however, acknowledged that it walks the line.

“Of course, duping people is the point. … That’s one of the reasons why it works so well,” said one Republican operative familiar with the program, who said it’s among the RNC’s most lucrative fundraising initiatives. “They will likely mail millions this year [with] incredible targeting.”


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Iowa political fundraising roundup

Financial reports for the end of 2009 were due with the Federal Election Commission on January 31. Here are some highlights.

The Iowa Democratic Party announced yesterday that it raised about $2.47 million across all accounts in 2009, while the Republican Party of Iowa raised $1.46 million. IDP chair Michael Kiernan said the party had met its goal of securing “the resources needed to win this November.” Details:

IDP filed $1.23 million in the state report. RPI filed $450,137 in the same report.

Filed 19 January 2010. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.


IDP filed $148,574 in State Party Building Fund Report. RPI filed $177,365.

Filed 28 January 2010. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.


IDP filed $1.09 million filed in Federal Year-End Report. RPI filed $837,406.

Filed 31 January 2010. Federal Elections Commission.


The money reported in the federal year-end report can be used to support any candidates and campaigns. The money in the state fund can be used on statewide races or Iowa House and Senate races. The State Party Building Fund money can’t be used on candidates or campaigns, but only on expenses for the building where the party headquarters is located (such as equipment or maintenance).

The Iowa GOP responded that it entered 2010 with about $100,000 more cash on hand than Iowa Democrats, but I don’t know whether its cash is in restricted or unrestricted accounts. (UPDATE: The Iowa Democratic Party disputes this claim. Adding the amounts from all three reports filed, the IDP has $449,334.94 on hand, while “RPI has $265,281.06 on hand between all three reports filed.”)

As for the federal races, Senator Chuck Grassley raised about $810,000 in the fourth quarter of 2009, spent about $156,000 and ended the year with about $5 million cash on hand. That’s about ten times as much as Democrat Roxanne Conlin has on hand for her campaign. Democrats Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen reported approximately $3,500 and $400 on hand, respectively.

IowaPolitics.com posted numbers for the Congressional candidates here. I was most interested in the numbers from the second and third districts. In IA-02, two-term incumbent Dave Loebsack raised $94,479 in the fourth quarter, spent $36,572 and ended the year with $336,311 cash on hand.

Surprisingly, Steve Rathje led the money race on the Republican side, raising $59,130 in the fourth quarter, spending $12,648 and ending with $46,242 cash on hand. The 2008 GOP nominee, Mariannnette Miller-Meeks, raised $20,660 (including $4,000 she gave herself), spent $39 and had $20,620 on hand. IowaPolitics.com didn’t mention numbers for Chris Reed, but The Iowa Republican blog reported that Reed raised “a miniscule $2,833.75 in the last quarter of 2009,” ending the year with “just over $2000 cash on hand.”

In the third district, seven-term incumbent Leonard Boswell raised $169,377 in the fourth quarter, spent $50,643 and had $462,193 cash on hand. Most of his money came from political action committee contributions.

Jim Gibbons led the crowded Republican field, thanks to support from heavy-hitters like Bruce Rastetter as well as a number of political action committees. Gibbons raised $207,310, spent $2,240 and ended the year with $205,069 on hand and $2,686 in debts owed. Craig Robinson of the Iowa Republican blog is ready to declare victory for Gibbons in the primary already, based on these numbers. However, Bleeding Heartland user mirage (a supporter of State Senator Brad Zaun) noted in the same thread, “About $51,000 of Gibbons funds will be restricted (meaning they can’t be used against Zaun in a primary), and about $130,000 came from outside the 3rd district.”

Speaking of Zaun, he raised $30,600, spent $93 and ended 2009 with $30,507 on hand. Presumably he has raised more money since January 1, because he made a television ad buy last week. But as Robinson noted triumphantly, “Even if [Dave] Funk or Zaun raised $1000 everyday between now and the primary, they still wouldn’t match what Gibbons currently has in his campaign account.”

Funk, the IA-03 candidate favored by the Tea Party crowd, raised $22,685 in the fourth quarter, spent $19,553 and ended the year with $16,507 on hand. According to mirage, much of Funk’s remaining money is restricted for use after the primary. I don’t think he’ll be needing that.

Mark Rees, who is running as a more moderate Republican, raised $3,100 and loaned his own campaign $52,647. He spent $3,247 and ended the year with $52,500 and $52,647 in debts owed to himself. I don’t know how much of a moderate GOP base is left in the Des Moines suburbs, but if conservatives divide their support among three or four candidates, Rees could slip through.

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Roxanne Conlin releases fundraising numbers

Roxanne Conlin’s campaign for U.S. Senate released partial fundraising numbers today, and they are impressive:

Total cash raised (Nov. 2 – Dec. 31):


Cash on hand:


Total individual donors:  1,649 (1,395 Iowans/85% Iowans)

Online supporters signed up:  Over 31,000

Donations $100 and under: 1,332

Donations $250 and under: 1,433

All of Conlin’s campaign contributions came from individual supporters, because she has pledged not to accept contributions from federal lobbyists or PACs. (I wouldn’t have advised her to take that stance, because there are PACs and lobbyists fighting for good things as well as those working against the public interest.) In any event, she has shown that she can raise enough money to staff and run a statewide campaign. Conlin is about a third of the way through a 99-county tour she began earlier this month.

I haven’t seen year-end fundraising numbers from Senator Chuck Grassley yet. At the end of the third quarter of 2009, he had more than $4.4 million cash on hand, so clearly he will still be way ahead in the money race. During the third quarter, when Grassley played a high-profile role in health care reform negotiations, he raised $864,622 total, of which $364,295 came from political action committees.

In other words, Conlin raised more from individual donors in two months than Grassley raised from individuals during the third quarter. That’s a strong pace, and it suggests a lot of Iowans are motivated to take the fight to Grassley. Conlin has already raised nearly five times as much as Democrat Art Small spent during his entire 2004 campaign against Iowa’s senior senator.

I don’t have new fundraising numbers from the other Democrats running against Grassley. Bob Krause raised $7,430 during the third quarter, ending with $3,493 on hand. Tom Fiegen raised $3,781 during the third quarter, ending with $519 on hand. I like many of the statements I’ve heard from Krause and Fiegen, but they have yet to show that they will be able to run a statewide campaign, and therefore appear to be extreme underdogs leading up to the Democratic primary in June. Neither Krause nor Fiegen seems likely to drop out of this race, however. On the contrary, Fiegen called on Conlin to quit the race last month, saying Republican attacks on her would divert attention from Grassley and the “needs of working families.” Yesterday Krause criticized one of Conlin’s tax credit proposals.

Grassley will be very tough to beat. His approval rating has fallen but is still above 50 percent, and he has set a goal of raising $9 million for this race. Even if Democrats don’t manage to defeat Grassley, giving him a spirited challenge is well worth the effort. Driving up turnout among Democrats whom Grassley has alienated can only help our candidates down-ticket.

UPDATE: Rasmussen conducted a one-day poll of this race on January 26. Grassley leads Conlin 59 to 31, Krause 59 to 26 and Fiegen 61 to 25 (margin of error 4.5 percent).

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Chris Rants walks a lonely road

Four years ago, Chris Rants was one of Iowa’s most powerful political figures. He won an Iowa House seat in his 20s and rose to the position of speaker in his mid-30s. But politics can be a tough business, as Rants learned when the Republican House caucus lost its majority in 2006 and replaced him as leader after losing more seats in 2008.

Since launching his gubernatorial bid last summer, Rants has logged more than 45,000 miles and discussed policies in more depth than anyone else in the field. However, the powers that be in the Iowa GOP don’t reward effort or substance. This week Rants announced that his campaign raised just $78,000 in 2009 and had $6,400 on hand at the end of December. Even State Representative Rod Roberts ended the year in a stronger financial position despite having a lower profile and entering the race later.

Rants knows how to raise money, as you can see from the Rants for State House Committee filings from the last five years (enter “Rants” in this search engine). During October 2008, ethanol baron Bruce Rastetter wrote Rants checks for $30,000 and $70,000. In other words, one major donor gave the then House minority leader more money in one month than Rants managed to raise in half a year for his gubernatorial campaign. Speaking to IowaPolitics.com,

Rants said fundraising froze and pledges never came through after [Terry] Branstad got into the race in mid-October. “The donor community just clammed up,” he said. “We couldn’t compete.”

Rants said most of his campaign finance money was spent on staff, research, Web development and just keeping his campaign going since last spring. The only ads he placed were online.

“The reality is Terry Branstad will raise more money,” Rants said. “But we will raise more issues. …If issues matter, we’ll have a good spring.”

Rants insists he is in the governor’s race for the duration and won’t seek re-election to the Iowa House. On one level I admire him for not packing it in like Christian Fong did after the money dried up. He is also correct to highlight the many contrasts between Branstad’s current campaign rhetoric and his record as governor.

But Rants’ experience underscores the importance of treating people well. As House speaker, Rants had a reputation for being a bully (or “intense,” driven and “abrupt,” as some of his friends have put it). When you’re up, maybe it works to be feared rather than loved. But when you’re down, people won’t be there for you. After all his years of service in the legislature, Rants has not found a single current or former Iowa House member to endorse his gubernatorial campaign, to my knowledge. Even Republicans will admit that Branstad isn’t too sharp and was a mediocre governor, but he is amiable and connects well with people on a personal level.

Ambitious pols everywhere, take note.

LATE UPDATE: Rants discussed his money problems with The Iowa Republican:

Rants admitted that, once former Governor Terry Branstad entered the race, his ability to raise funds ceased. He said a number of pledges to his campaign never came in, his phone calls were not returned, and raising funds became nearly impossible. When describing his fundraising situation, Rants told TheIowaRepublican.com, “If you are looking for loyalty, get a dog.” He contends that Branstad’s entrance into the race hurt him more than any other candidate in the race.

While Rants lacks the necessary funds to wage much of a traditional campaign, Rants gave no indication that he was about to get out of the race. When asked about how much money is in his campaign account, Rants knew the amount to the penny. “It’s enough to keep gas in the car,” Rants said.

Sounds like he will stay in to the end.

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Vander Plaats releases fundraising numbers

Bob Vander Plaats had a little more than $200,000 on hand for his gubernatorial campaign at the end of 2009, according to a campaign press release Kathie Obradovich posted at the Des Moines Register’s blog today. Excerpt:

“By all accounts, we had a great year,” Vander Plaats said.  “The fact is, we received the strongest financial support after Terry Branstad said in September that he was likely to get into the race. The financial backing this campaign has received is a clear indication that people see the GOP primary as a two-man contest and that a solid number of Iowans want a new face to lead the Republican Party forward.”

The campaign reported cash contributions of $595,740.13 and in-kind contributions of $61,999.87 for a total of $657,740.00 in contributions. It reported expenditures totaling $392,630.67 during 12 months in operation. Its cash on hand was $203,109.46 at year’s end.

Vander Plaats said the campaign report shows more than 1,200 individual contributions, indicating a broad and solid supporter base as the primary campaign enters its most active phase.

Raising more than $650,000 is not bad at all, but that burn rate seems high. Going into the final five months of the campaign, Terry Branstad had nearly seven times as much cash on hand as Vander Plaats.

Vander Plaats was by far the most active campaigner in the Republican field during 2009, holding numerous events around the state. Still, I wonder what he spent nearly $400,000 on last year. It’s possible that he has pre-paid some media or consulting expenses, and we’ll see the results from that later. I remember that Congressman Steve King’s campaign seemed to have little cash on hand during 2008, but it turned out that he had paid in advance for lots of television and radio ads which ran during the final two months.

By the same token, if Vander Plaats spent most of his money on things like staff salaries or fundraising, he could find it difficult to compete with Branstad down the stretch. If I were running his campaign, I’d try to figure out a way to become the next darling for national conservatives, like the activists who have propelled Marco Rubio to a likely victory over Florida Governor Charlie Crist in that state’s Senate primary. Right now Vander Plaats isn’t that far ahead of Rod Roberts in terms of cash on hand.

Speaking of Roberts, he’s launching statewide radio ads this week. No word yet on Chris Rants’ fundraising numbers.

UPDATE: In the comments, thisweekiniowapolitics posted more details from the Vander Plaats filing. The bulk of the expenditures were payroll related. If he wants to run any paid media before June, he’ll need to cut back on staffing or raise a lot more money. The conservative netroots helped Scott Brown raise a ton of money in Massachusetts; if they decide to get involved in this race, they can help Vander Plaats.

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Rod Roberts reports respectable fundraising numbers (updated)

State Representative Rod Roberts has about $102,000 on hand for his gubernatorial campaign, Tom Beaumont reported at the Des Moines Register today, citing the campaign’s Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board filing. (His post contains a pdf link to the summary page.)

Roberts raised just over $100,000 last year and loaned his campaign $13,000 while spending only about $22,000. More than half of all the money he raised came from his kick-off fundraiser in Carroll, the town Roberts has represented in the Iowa House for the last decade.

I have been expecting Roberts to drop out of the governor’s race so that he can run for re-election in Iowa House district 51, but his low burn rate indicates that he has enough money to go all the way to the June primary. He won’t be able to match the front-runners’ spending; Terry Branstad has 13 times Roberts’ cash on hand. But he can position himself as a unifying figure in the GOP, which may bear fruit if Branstad and Vander Plaats stumble or drive each other’s negatives way up.

Carroll-based journalist Douglas Burns makes the case here for Roberts as a successful dark horse candidate. I don’t see it, but stranger things have happened.

UPDATE: Roberts is going up with statewide radio ads this week. You can listen to them at his campaign website.

Branstad and Culver release partial fundraising numbers

Yesterday Terry Branstad’s campaign released some information about its fundraising during the last three months of 2009. As I’d feared, they reported big numbers: nearly $1.55 million raised, with $1.36 million cash on hand left at the end of 2009. You can make a lot of contacts in four terms as governor, and Branstad’s campaign had 3,044 individual contributors, representing all of Iowa’s 99 counties. The campaign also noted that 94 percent of the money raised came from Iowans, and 96 percent came from individuals.

Governor Chet Culver’s campaign responded by announcing that it has $2.59 million on hand:

That total is over $1 million more than any incumbent governor has had at a similar point in their reelection cycle. […]

Over the past 12 months, the campaign received contributions from well over 1,000 donors, 85% of which are Iowa residents.  Additionally, more than half the contributions made to the campaign were for $250 or less.

Culver campaign manager Abby Curran told me that the total amount raised during 2009 was $2.145 million. She declined to tell me how much the campaign spent during the year, but it’s not hard to arrive at a ballpark figure. Last January, Culver’s campaign reported having about $1.5 million on hand. Adding $2.145 million to that and subtracting the $2.59 million the campaign has on hand now suggests that the governor’s campaign spent a little more than $1 million during the past year.

I’ve been concerned about the Culver campaign’s burn rate for a while. It appears that as in 2008, the campaign spent roughly half of what it took in during 2009. Presumably a lot of that money went toward running this statewide television ad in October and this one in November. I liked the ads, especially the second one, and I understand why they wanted to spread a positive message when the governor was going through a rough political stretch. But Culver and Jim Nussle raised about $15 million combined during the 2006 campaign, and this year’s race will be more expensive. The Democratic and Republican governors’ associations are likely to spend substantial money here (both organizations have a lot of money in the bank). Even so, Culver needs to raise a lot more money.

Another point of concern is that Branstad has more individual donors. If half of Culver’s donations were for $250 or less, then the overwhelming majority of his money came from donors giving several thousand dollars. Iowa has no campaign contribution limits, so there’s no reason these people couldn’t give again, but Culver has a smaller pool of past donors to tap. In my opinion this reflects the governor’s failure to build strong coalitions and deliver on various issues of importance to Democratic activists who supported Ed Fallon or Mike Blouin in the 2006 primary. The friction between him and organized labor hasn’t helped either.

The good news for Culver is that he can continue to build his war chest while Branstad is forced to spend a lot of money during the Republican primary.

Speaking of which, the other Republican candidates for governor haven’t released their fundraising numbers yet. They must file reports with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board by January 19, so we’ll know more next week. I assume State Representatives Chris Rants and Rod Roberts will have very little cash on hand, and Bob Vander Plaats won’t have nearly as much as Branstad reported. But Vander Plaats should be able to announce a credible number. At this point in the 2006 election cycle he had raised nearly a million dollars. Thanks to the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, Vander Plaats received much more publicity among social conservatives nationwide last year than he had in 2005.

Any thoughts about the Iowa governor’s race are welcome in this thread.

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Democratic Governors Association raised big money in 2009

Democratic incumbents are facing some tough governor’s races in 2010, but fortunately the Democratic Governors Association will be in a position to help in key states:

The Democratic Governors Association raised $23.1 million in 2009, more than ever before in the organization’s history, and will start the 2010 election cycle with nearly 12 times as much cash on hand as 2006, the last equivalent election cycle, Chairman Gov. Jack Markell announced today. […]

The DGA’s 2009 fundraising marks the second year in a row and the first off-year in which the DGA raised more than $20 million. Fourth quarter fundraising was by far the strongest, with more than $7 million in contributions received during the period. December contributions alone totaled nearly $4 million.

The record-breaking fundraising means that the DGA begins 2010, the most critical gubernatorial cycle in a generation, with $17.5 million on hand. In the equivalent election cycle in 2006, the DGA carried over $1.5 million and spent less than $14 million on races that year.

The Republican Governors Association has historically outraised the DGA by wide margins. In spite of the fundraising gap, since 2007, the DGA has won twice as many targeted governors races as the RGA. The DGA’s strong cash-on-hand position means that it will be able to spend at a competitive level with the RGA in this critical cycle.

Losing the governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia was painful enough; I am glad to know that those campaigns didn’t deplete the DGA’s cash reserves.

Here in Iowa, Governor Chet Culver may need the DGA’s help to keep pace with Republican expenditures. Culver held lots of fundraisers during the fall, but he also spent money running a couple of television commercials statewide. Terry Branstad probably pulled in big numbers during the fourth quarter, although he will have to spend a lot of cash before the Republican primary in June. At least one other Republican candidate, Bob Vander Plaats, has enough resources to run a strong primary campaign.

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Culver's campaign needs to watch that burn rate

Governor Chet Culver’s re-election campaign is having a big fundraiser in Des Moines on June 11, and he told Iowa Politics.com recently that there will be more to come:

“We are gearing up,” Culver said. “You’ll see a lot of movement in terms of fundraising efforts. […].”

Asked if he had more than the $1.5 million in the bank than his campaign finance reports showed he had in January, Culver said: “We’re doing extremely well on fundraising. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive. It’s been very gratifying to know that so many of my supporters across the state continue to have complete confidence in my ability to lead this state.”

The Des Moines Register reported on June 3,

“I am going to be cranking up our political operation,” Culver said recently. “I’m excited about it. I love campaigning.”

Culver brought John Kirincich, a national policy and political aide, into the governor’s office as its chief operating officer. The former chief of staff in the U.S. House is expected to play a key role in Culver’s campaign. […]

He also plans to move his campaign operation by early July from the small office at 13th and Locust streets in Des Moines, occupied by his campaign finance and political staff now, into larger space closer to the Capitol.

“We’re going to have a very capable team,” Culver said. “I’m already assembling that team of talented political advisers. We’re going to be renting office space and raising money to run a very competitive re-election campaign.”

I’m all for hiring good staffers and giving them a decent office, but I hope the governor’s campaign will not spend too much money this year. In 2008 Culver’s campaign raised about $1 million but spent $550,000.

Some of the potential Republican challengers to Culver, such as former State Senator Jeff Lamberti, have the potential to raise large amounts of money. In addition, the Republican nominee may receive lots of out-of-state contributions from opponents of same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, organized labor interests probably will not give Culver as much money next year as they did during his 2006 campaign, because of lingering bad feelings over the governor’s veto of a collective-bargaining bill in 2008.

I still think the governor’s in a strong position going into his re-election campaign, but I would hate to see him burn through lots of money in 2009 and then face a Republican who’s able to match his spending.

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Next cycle, donate strategically--not emotionally

Last October, Representative Michele “Crazy as Steve King” Bachmann (MN-06) disgraced herself on “Hardball” and sparked a ridiculously successful fundraising drive for her Democratic opponent, El Tinklenberg. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and kicked in a few bucks for Tinklenberg myself, but I was dismayed to see bloggers continue to help him raise money even after he’d raised more than $750,000 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had promised to spend an additional $1 million in his district. Within a few days of Bachmann’s notorious comments, Tinklenberg had more money than he needed to run a solid media and GOTV campaign during the final two weeks before the election.

Since most Congressional races against incumbents are longshots, I wanted to see the netroots expand the field by raising $50,000 or more for a large number of unheralded challengers.

A fellow Iowa blogger sent me this piece from CQ Politics about how Tinklenberg’s campaign committee was the largest donor to the DCCC in March, giving a total of $250,000:

You may recall that his Republican opponent was Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose mid-October comment that Obama “may have anti-American views” angered Democrats nationwide and spawned an avalanche of contributions to Tinklenberg in the waning days of a campaign that Bachmann won by 46 percent to 43 percent, with a third-party candidate taking 10 percent.

Apparently the money was coming in too fast for Tinklenberg to spend completely: he raised $3 million for his campaign, of which $1.9 million came in after October 15, and had $453,000 in leftover campaign funds at the end of 2008 and $184,000 at the end of March.

I’m not saying it wasn’t worth getting behind Tinklenberg. Bachmann is among the worst Republicans in Congress, and this district rightly seemed winnable. However, the netroots clearly funneled way more money to Tinklenberg than he could spend effectively.

What if a million of the dollars we sent to the MN-06 race had been spread around 10 or 20 other districts? A bunch of the candidates I wanted to support as part of an expanded field got blown out by large margins, but an extra $50,000 could have made the difference for Josh Segall in AL-03, or for several candidates who weren’t on my radar, such as Bill Hedrick in CA-44.

The netroots rally for Tinklenberg started out as a good cause but took on a momentum of its own. It didn’t help that Tinklenberg sent fundraising e-mails to his new donors every day or two during the home stretch, even after he had more than enough money to close out the campaign.

Maybe the majority of blog readers who gave $10 or $20 or $50 to Tinklenberg wouldn’t have given to some other longshot Congressional challenger. Maybe people need an emotional trigger before they are willing to open their wallets. But in future election cycles, we need to be smarter about how we focus our energy and our fundraising efforts during the final weeks of a campaign. There’s no shortage of wingnuts worth targeting. Also, a fair number of good incumbent Democrats will probably need our help in 2010, depending on how the economy looks 18 months from now.

Any ideas or suggestions on how to raise money effectively during the next cycle would be welcome in this thread.

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Bleeding Heartland Year in Review: Iowa politics in 2008

Last year at this time I was scrambling to make as many phone calls and knock on as many doors as I could before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

This week I had a little more time to reflect on the year that just ended.

After the jump I’ve linked to Bleeding Heartland highlights in 2008. Most of the links relate to Iowa politics, but some also covered issues or strategy of national importance.

I only linked to a few posts about the presidential race. I’ll do a review of Bleeding Heartland’s 2008 presidential election coverage later this month.

You can use the search engine on the left side of the screen to look for past Bleeding Heartland diaries about any person or issue.

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$30 million used to be a lot of money

But last week the Wall Street Journal made a big deal about how Barack Obama supposedly “only” raised $30 million in June.

Today Obama’s campaign revealed that it raised $52 million in June, and the Democratic National Committee raised $22 million the same month. Obama apparently has about $72 million in cash on hand, while the DNC has about $20 million in cash on hand.

At Open Left, tremayne graphed Obama’s fundraising per month this year. February was his best month; he raised $55 million then.

John McCain raised about $22 million in June, but the Republican National Committee has crushed the DNC in fundraising this year, so if you combine the RNC and McCain numbers, their side has slightly more cash on hand.

But guess what? The average donation for Obama in June was $68. That means he has a ton of small donors who are not maxed out. In fact, only $2 million of the $52 million he raised is for the general election (in other words, came from people who had already maxed out at $2,300 for the primary).

I found this analysis by Jerome Armstrong intriguing:

I believe that Obama could have raised $100M in June if that’s what they wanted to do. In fact, there may have been plans to do just that too, but they changed. Notice that just $2M was raised for the GE by Obama, they certainly could have raised a ton more money there if they had wanted, for the GE, at least $20-30M, and combined with the $74M that was raised between Obama and DNC, over $100M.

So, either the Obama camp isn’t as committed to self-funding for the GE, and might still go the route of taking the $84M in public financing (unlikely); or they are holding off their donors to give for the GE later (there are accounts of projecting a $100M month in Sept); or the Obama camp will use July and August to raise big numbers for the GE, as the decision to opt-out was made on June 19th, late in the month for fundraising plans. It could be either of these last two it seems.

Certainly Obama will not take public financing for the general. But could his campaign be deliberately holding big general-election donations off until later this summer?

Reporting a $100 million haul this fall, at the height of the campaign, could hurt Republican morale and drive a lot of media coverage about the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans.

Maybe McCain will be forced to pick Mitt Romney for a running mate. He’s disliked by the Christian right but excellent at bringing in cash. Romney-skeptic Jeff Angelo is re-thinking the wisdom of this course for the GOP nominee.

Put your thoughts and suppositions about the presidential candidates’ fundraising in the comment thread.

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Something I never thought I'd see

The Republican presidential candidate is at a big financial disadvantage compared to the likely Democratic nominee.

John Kerry raised over $40 million in March 2004 after clinching the Democratic nomination. He was still far behind George W. Bush in the money race, because the president had not had to compete in the primaries and could devote a lot of time to big-ticket fundraisers.

John McCain clinched the Republican nomination on February 5 and formally won enough delegates to be the nominee on March 4. But he only managed to raise $15 million in March. According to Marc Ambinder, Mitt Romney has promised to help McCain raise another $15 million or so from Romney supporters.

To put that in perspective, Barack Obama raised more than $40 million in March, and Hillary Clinton, who is quite the longshot for the Democratic nomination, managed to raise about $20 million that month.

At MyDD, Jonathan Singer noted that Obama raised more money in March alone than McCain raised in the entire first quarter.

I know a lot of you are worried about the continuing Democratic contest, but I think we should relax and let the rest of the primaries play out. The likelihood is that after Puerto Rico votes on June 7, Obama will be far enough ahead that the superdelegates will move decisively in his direction.

Meanwhile, McCain isn’t going to be building any kind of warchest that Obama can’t match.

Surge in Edwards' online fundraising

UPDATE (3:40 PM): I just got a fundraising email from Joe Trippi on behalf of the Edwards campaign.  Seems like they’re going to keep piling on the money today. -Chris

I’m not one big on making releases front-page material here on BH, but I’ll try to condense this release from the Edwards Campaign to something we can talk about, with the full release available here:

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to Sen. Edwards’ strong finish in Iowa,” said Edwards’ senior strategist Joe Trippi. “We’re on track for our best online fundraising day ever, since www.JohnEdwards.com went up a year ago – and half of the contributions we’re seeing are from new donors to the campaign. That speaks volumes to the strength of John Edwards’ message of standing up and fighting for the middle class.”

The campaign first saw an uptick in online fundraising late last night, as the results from Iowa’s first-in-the-nation contest began rolling in. The surge continued overnight, and by 8:45am ET this morning the campaign’s online contributions had already topped the previous day’s day-long total. Between the hours of 10:00am and 11:00am ET today, the campaign experienced its best online fundraising hour ever.”

I’m not sure what this means in the grand scheme of online fundraising for the top-tier Democrats, or even the Edwards campaign itself since there aren’t really specific numbers and totals.  However, I think it will be really interesting to see what Obama and Clinton are seeing in terms of their own online fundraising and I hope they put out some information about those numbers soon.

A couple other quick facts from the Edwards campaign:

  • Half of those who have contributed are first-time donors to the campaign
  • More than ninety percent (92.6%) of today’s online contributions are for amounts less than $100

Those are some pretty impressive figures.  Let me know if you hear of any more numbers or interesting stories.

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$1 Democracy

Topic- Campaign finance reform

Purpose- To persuade all Americans that a $1 contribution from any U.S. citizen is all that is necessary to fund a responsible political campaign and more than what’s necessary corrupts and excludes most American voters.

• Thesis- Large campaign contributions have always corrupted American politics and excluded the voices of most Americans. If we allow for only $1 campaign contributions all Americans can become equally invested in our political system and at the same time reduce political corruption.

Goal- Less money more votes

Free speech is not enough;
a democracy that speaks for everyone requires equal speech as much as it requires free speech.  Freedom without equality corrupts and corrodes democracy.  When we give or take more than other Americans can give we discriminate against and exclude these Americans, we corrupt our democracy and corrode their trust and confidence in the American dream.
To exclude any American is to oppress them; exclusion is oppression, whether by neglect or intent.  When there is no equality between votes and money democracy is corrupted.  “For our democracy to survive and thrive, we need to bring more people, particularly low- and moderate-income people, into the democratic process.”(Raby, 1992) By allowing for only $1 contributions to each political campaign all Americans can become equally invested, included and engaged in our political system and at the same time end this corrupting, corrosive and exclusionary oppression.

1. To introduce and help support this goal I developed a fundraising web site called $1 Democracy on ActBlue for John Edwards and other candidates who also support campaign finance reform and believe that large contributions are corrupting the political process. On the Web site I will be asking for $1 contributions from everyone, but I will not accept more than a $1 contribution from anyone.
A. The focus of the fundraiser is that a $1 contribution from each of us is all that is necessary to fund a responsible political campaign, and more than what’s necessary corrupts and excludes.

2. Why am I asking for only $1? Dillman (1999) reveals that in survey studies where participants were paid only $1, compared to others who were paid $10 and $25, had a much higher completion rate.
A. The higher paid participants would quit after they felt they had done $10 or $25 dollars worth of work, expressing a financial contract between themselves and those paying for the survey. Whereas, those paid only $1 felt no financial contract, but rather a stronger more personal social contract with those paying for the surveys. The participants felt they gave their word, which for most people is stronger or worth more than $10 or $25 or just money in general, this is what motivated them to finish the survey.
B. The accepted $1 was only a symbol of their personal commitment, their word, not a financial contract, leading them to become more personally invested in the project. This is one of the reasons why I want all of us to give $1 and no more than $1, why we should all begin asking others to give or take no more than $1 in any political campaign. We all must work towards a more personal less financial commitment between political candidates and contributors.

3. To help this fundraising project get off the ground I will need to find and target likely supporters. According to Zandl (1992), targeting likely supporters is important in developing any organization or offering a novel product.
A. For this reason I am going to run my fundraising campaign on the internet where past fundraising campaigns have been successful. Past fundraising activities have highlighted and brought in many new political contributors who are looking for both campaign and political reform.  
B. I believe my campaign finance reform message will appeal to these voters/contributors, give them a plan of action they can participate in right now and a concrete, specific campaign finance reform objective to work towards in the future.

4. Let’s now look at how unequal campaign contributions are. According to Weiss (2002), less than 0.1% of the U.S. population gave 83% of all itemized campaign contributions for the 2002 elections. During the 2000 presidential election cycle just over 600,000 people 0.37% of the population gave itemized contributions, indicating contributions of $200 or more. Of the $872 million raised in that election year $728 million came from those giving $1,000 or more.
A. This shows that the vast majority of Americans are excluded from any meaningful financial investment in our current political system.
B. To exclude any American is to oppress them; exclusion is oppression, whether by neglect or intent and is a form of political discrimination.

The plan of action
is for all Americans interested in campaign finance reform to contribute $1, and no more than $1, to the John Edwards for President Campaign to support his fight against powerful financial interests that are corrupting American politics. If you support another candidate I encourage you to contribute $1 to that candidate, but no more than $1, and express to this candidate that you believe $1 from any American is all that is necessary and more than what’s necessary corrupts and excludes. I want all Americans to join together in the belief that when we contribute $1 to our candidate of choice we create a stronger more personal social contract with that candidate than when we contribute more than $1, which leads to a weaker less personal financial contract. In addition, I want each of us to contribute $1 so we feel equally invested, engaged and included in the political process; it is this connection that provides the energy necessary to achieve social and political change. The US census Bureau (2004) shows the majority of people who register to vote actually vote, showing that once people get themselves included in the political process they will consistently participate within it.

So what’s the best thing about contributing $1 to the John Edwards for President Campaign? You get change back from your dollar.

Please contribute $1 to the candidate(s) of your choice.
Please leave a tip for ActBlue so they can continue their fundraising work.
Less money more votes is the answer to campaign finance reform.

Weiss, S. (2002, December). Big-time donors small in number. (Online), 11/23/07. www.opensecrets.org
(2004). Reported rates of voting and registration: 1996 to 2004. (Online), 11/23/07. www.uscensusbureau.gov
Dillman, D. (1999, December). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method. New York: Wiley
Zandl, I. (1992). Targeting the trendsetting consumer: How to market your product or service to influential buyers. Homewood, ILL: Business One Irwin
Raby, A. (1992). Bringing voting to the people. In K.M. Arrington, & W.L. Taylor (Eds.), Voting rights in america (pp. 195-204). Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

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A respectful question for John Edwards...

As an Edwards fan of sorts (he's my second choice), I wouldn't be crushed if he won the caucus.  I'm not trolling here by any means, or looking for a fight, but I pose this as a serious question in search of an answer to our party's potential nominee.

I'm sure this question has been answered before, but maybe some Edwards supporters can clarify this for me here. 

How will it possible for him to: 1) Beat Hillary (or Obama) in other states with only $17 mil to spend until the convention, and 2) defend himself with negligable funds after the primary season is over from attacks? 

I only ask this, because I really wish that Edwards had foregone federal matching funds and just opened up his deep wallet, sold his house, etc., for this campaign.  Perhaps with his recent fundraising prowess, he could have remained competetive with Obama or Hillary through fundraising rather than relying on public funds.

Blogosphere Day 2007: Support Act Blue and Democratic Infrastructure


Happy Blogosphere Day!

Blogosphere Day started three years ago today after Rep. Jim Greenwood announced that he would not be returning to Congress and the netroots started raising money for the Democratic candidate in PA-08, Ginny Schrader.  You can find Mr. Liberal’s recounting of the original post that started it all here on Daily Kos.

In 2005, the netroots rallied behind OH-02 candidate Paul Hackett as he competed in a special election.

In 2006, the netroots rallied behind Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary.  Lamont won the primary, but unfortunately lost the general election to Cryin’ Joe Lieberman.

All of the fundraising the netroots did was done online, via the Democratic fundraising clearinghouse known as Act Blue.

So, let’s help Act Blue!

While the previous candidates of choice for Blogosphere Day donations haven’t achieved lots of success, we’ve seen the liberal activist online rally behind causes and candidates in a way that hasn’t really ever been done online.  And Act Blue has been the focal point of that effort on the past three blogosphere days.  Today is our chance to support Act Blue and help them raise money to expand and improve their services, and as a way to say thank you for their years of support and work for Democratic candidates.

To get just an idea of what the netroots are doing on this blogosphere day in support of Act Blue, check out these posts:

Today is a day about supporting Democratic infrastructure and a way to build it through fundraising and organizing at the local, state, and national level.  In the past three years, ActBlue has sent $25 million to 1700 Democratic candidates, from over 200,000 contributors, and helped channel the rising tide of grassroots energy and commitment to retake Congress in 2006.

ActBlue is on the road to raising $100 million this election cycle. But that won’t happen if we wait to support their work.  It’s a 16-month journey to November 2008, and if we wait until we only have a year, or six months left left, we won’t reach our destination.  Please support ActBlue today.

Iowa’s Democratic infrastructure can be helped via fundraising on Act Blue as well and Common Iowan has already set up a page for Iowa bloggers as well.  Senator Tom Harkin’s campaign will be doing their fundraising online solely through Act Blue.  So, Act Blue is helping us.  Let’s help them.

As of 1:30 PM Central Time 169 contributors have given $8,715.  Let’s get it to 200 contributors and $10,000 by 3 PM.  We can do it with your help!

Show the DC Bigwigs Selden Spencer is the Real Deal

After winning the 1st and 2nd Districts in 2006, Iowa Democrats have their sights set on Tom Latham's seat in Iowa's 4th District.

Dr. Selden Spencer is committed to running again in the 4th district, a district Gov. Culver won with 59% of the vote. In 2006, Dr. Spencer had a winning message, but he entered the race late and was fighting an uphill battle. He is starting early this time around and has been busy raising money. 

This week Dr. Spencer sent this email out to supporters …

“This may be the most important date of this election for taking back the 4th District for the people of Iowa. June 30, 2007 is the second quarter filing deadline for the Federal Election Commission. On this day, all federal campaign committees must report their donations. Together, we can elevate this race to the national level. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and other national groups, will be looking at this quarter to find the candidates and campaigns to target to win in 2008…and they want to help our race here in Iowa. We need to show support in the district now. I am fully committed to winning in 2008, but my commitment is not enough. It takes more than one person to create change. I am asking you to match your previous donation of $ or send $25, $50, or $100 to show Washington we are serious about 2008. It may seem early, and like I mentioned before, this is a big quarter to show support. Your contribution now means more support from the national committees who will elevate this race to the most competitive level in 2008.

Every dollar you can send will show the DC bigwigs that Dr. Spencer is the real deal. Every dollar you can send has the chance of turning into more money for the Spencer campaign down the road. Please help out Selden Spencer's campaign by donating whatever you can before Saturday's deadline.

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