Perhaps no statewide Republican candidate has energized the base of the party like Brenna Findley has with her campaign for Attorney General. The enthusiasm towards her campaign was on display at the Republican state convention a month ago when people eagerly grabbed her yard signs and waited to speak to the fresh-faced candidate.
Another sign of the strength of Findley’s campaign has been her ability to raise money. To date, Findley has raised almost $220,000 for her campaign and has shown no signs of slowing down. Findley’s fundraising total is already $20,000 more than what current Secretary of State Mike Mauro raised when he won the Secretary of State’s office four years ago.
Findley has accomplished a lot as a candidate since announcing her campaign in the spring, but unseating a 31-year incumbent will be no easy task. Tom Miller first served as the state’s Attorney General from 1979 until 1991. After an unsuccessful campaign for Governor, he then successfully sought the Attorney General’s post again in 1994 and has been in the office ever since.
The latest TheIowaRepublican.com Battleground Poll shows that Findley has a lot of work to do if she wants to force Attorney General Tom Miller into retirement. The poll shows that Findley trails Miller by 15 points.
Findley garnered 26% of the vote, while Miller was supported by 41% of respondents. The poll also showed that 31% of those surveyed have not made up their minds on the race. The large segment of undecided voters means that there is plenty of room for Findley to grow her number throughout the summer and fall.
“I know I have a lot of work to do, but I’ve got the right message: I will clean up State government. I will fight to bring jobs back to Iowa. And I stand up to protect our citizens,” Findley noted.
Findley’s fundraising prowess means that she will have the resources at her disposal to run the type of campaign that will raise her name ID and standing in the polls throughout the fall campaign. She has also proven to be a relentless campaigner and looks for every opportunity to take issue with her better-known opponent.
For a 31-year incumbent to be well below the 50% threshold should be alarming for Miller.
The atmosphere in Iowa does not favor incumbents, and especially those at the highest level of State government. Culver and Miller are both viewed with disdain by Iowa voters.
Findley also has other advantages that other challengers don’t have. Even during the primary, Terry Branstad took every opportunity to promote Findley at events around the state. She has also endeared herself to the supporters of former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, making her a unique candidate that appeals to the entire Republican Party in Iowa.
At 26%, Findley is not even earning the support of all Republicans that were surveyed. The reason for her lack of support in the poll isn’t because they don’t like her as a candidate; it’s because they don’t know who she is yet. Since Findley didn’t have a primary opponent, she has yet to run any radio or television ads that would increase her name ID across the state.
For Findley to increase her name ID, and her ballot test, she will need to get on the air, stay on the air, and deliver an aggressive GOTV effort.
With ample resources, there is no doubt that Findley will be able to run a credible campaign against Miller this fall. The combination of a favorable political environment for Republicans along with an incredible set of issues at her disposal means that she has a great opportunity against Miller this fall.
About the Poll
TheIowaRepublican.com Battleground Poll was commissioned in conjunction with Concordia Group LLC, a Des Moines based public relations firm. The poll was conducted from July 25-28 by Voter/Consumer Research, a highly regarded polling firm based in Houston, Texas.
The poll has a sample size of 500 and a margin of error of +/- 4.39%.
For more information about the poll, click here.
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