As 2009 comes to a close, gubernatorial and congressional candidates are trying to find last minute contributions to make their end of the year fundraising reports look impressive. Gubernatorial candidates will disclose how much money they raised in the past year when they file their reports with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board in the middle of next month. Congressional candidates will disclose how much they were able to raise during the last quarter of the year. Those reports will be filed at the end of January.
Raising money at the end of the year is always tricky. Most people are busy with holiday plans, meaning politics takes a back seat. It’s also difficult to contact donors as many people travel out of state for the holidays or might be attending college football bowl games. Still, the candidates do their best to raise as much money as they can before the end of the year deadline.
The fundraising reports will provide a glimpse of how the candidates stack up against one another. With Republican primaries up and down the ballot this year, these fundraising numbers will help people determine if a candidate for a particular office has the financial support needed to be a contender in the general election.
In Iowa, the focus will be on the gubernatorial race. How much will Governor Chet Culver raise? People in the media and Democratic operatives have said that Culver is a prolific fundraiser. In a few weeks we will know whether or not they are shooting straight. Culver needs a good fundraising haul. With bleak economic numbers and even worse polling results, the Governor needs some good news at the start of the new year.
On the Republican side, former Governor Terry Branstad has high expectations. Will Branstad be able to raise a comparable amount of money compared to Culver or will he have his hands full in trying to outdo Bob Vander Plaats. Unlike in previous campaigns, Vander Plaats has had some influential friends help him raise money for his campaign this time around. They questions remains, will he have the financial resources to be able to go toe-to-toe with Branstad in the primary? If he does, he will have a good chance of winning the Republican nominations.
The other two Republican candidates, Chris Rants and Rod Roberts, also need to post respectful numbers. Both have done a tremendous job traveling the state to talk to voters, but to be competitive they must have the resources available to get their message out as the primary draws near.
Another race to keep your eye on is the 3rd Congressional District. With five candidates now in the race having the necessary fund will be critical in building a winning campaign. Both Jim Gibbons and Brad Zaun held large fundraising events in the last couple of weeks. While both candidates have only been in the race for a little over a month, early fundraising success is crucial in building a winning campaign.
Dave Funk, another candidate in the 3rd district, was the first candidate to enter the race and will be making his second filing with the FEC. Funk raised just over $16,000 in his last report. For him to remain a serious candidate in the race he will have to progress in the fundraising department.
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