Former Governor turned gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad released his fundraising totals yesterday. Branstad entered the Republican primary race in October and reported that he has raised $1,546,198.93 in the closing months of 2009, and has over $1.3 million cash on hand.
According to a press release, the Branstad campaign collected contributions from 3,044 people, and 94 percent of them were from Iowa. The campaign also noted that it received contributions from all 99 Iowa counties.
Branstad’s fundraising totals are impressive for a candidate who didn’t start raising money until the middle of October. His $1.5 million raised tops what Bob Vander Plaats has raised in the same reporting period during his previous campaigns. In 2002, Vander Plaats raised just under $300,000 in the year leading up to the primary. In 2006, Vander Plaats raised slightly over a million dollars by the end of 2005. However, that amount includes the $350,000 he raised in 2004 and a $200,000 bank loan he took out.
Branstad’s total is a million short of what Congressman Jim Nussle raised in 2005. Nussle raised $2.5 million that year, but it took him an entire calendar year to do it. Where the Nussle and Branstad numbers are similar is in the amount of money they had on hand at the end of the period. Nussle had $1.5 million on hand at this time in 2006, while Branstad has $1.3 million. In addition to releasing fundraising numbers, the Branstad campaign recently released a list of 300 county chairs that covers each of Iowa’s 99 counties.
While Branstad’s fundraising numbers are impressive, they are also what people expect from a well-known, well-connected former governor. The most impressive aspect of the number that the campaign released yesterday is that more than 3000 people have already contributed to the campaign. In regards to fundraising, Branstad is expected to dwarf his primary opponents. Bob Vander Plaats has proven himself to be an ample fundraiser, but no one expected him to raise as much as Branstad was able to.
Following Branstad’s release, Governor Culver released his fundraising numbers, too. Culver raised $2.145 million in 2009 and enters the election year with $2.59 million on hand. Culver’s advantage is that he can continue to bank money while Branstad and Vander Plaats will both be required to spend a most, if not all, of the money they raise on winning the GOP primary.
The Culver campaign is probably feeling pretty good about where they are at today. Yet, Culver now finds himself in a position similar to that of Jim Nussle in 2006. In that race, the candidate who didn’t have to spend money in a contested primary didn’t win the general election, and with Culver’s poor showing in the polls, no amount of money is going to ensure his re-election.
Another concern for the Culver campaign is that, while he raised $600,000 more than Branstad did, Branstad has 2000 more donors. Culver stated that he had 1000 donors and more than half the contributions were for $250 or less. If that’s the case, then Culver’s impressive haul is the product of just a handful of donors who made huge contributions, and those contributions might become an issue in the campaign.
Branstad’s primary opponents have yet to release their fundraising numbers. Candidates must file with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board by January 19th.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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