Third District Republican congressional candidate Jim Gibbons is off to an impressive start in his quest to un-seat Congressman Leonard Boswell. After announcing his candidacy on November 18th, Gibbons has raised $207,313.00 in the first six weeks of his campaign. Of that amount, Gibbons will also report that he has $203,385.00 cash on hand.
The $207,000 that Gibbons raised would be impressive over an entire three month quarter, but the fact that he was able to raise that amount in such a short period of time that also included the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays makes it even more remarkable. His impressive first quarter haul is the most by any congressional challenger in Iowa’s history.
To put Gibbons’ fundraising total in perspective, he has already surpassed the total amount raised by Boswell’s Republican opponent in the last cycle, Kim Schmett, by almost $60,000. In 2006, Jeff Lamberti raised $163,394.87 in his first quarter of fundraising. Lamberti’s fundraising totals are considered the gold standard of Republican congressional candidates, even by many Democrats.
This past weekend, Tom Henderson, the Chairman of the Polk County Democrats said, “If the Republicans were serious about picking up this [third congressional district] seat, they would have picked a candidate like Jeff Lamberti who is well financed and had him be the only candidate.” Gibbons’ fundraising success puts a hole in Henderson’s theory. Henderson made the comments on “The Insiders,” WHO TV 13’s political show which airs on Sunday mornings.
Gibbons’ total also surpasses what Congressman Boswell has raised in each of the first three quarters of this year. Boswell raised $146,000 in the first quarter of 2009, $159,000 in the 2nd quarter, and $104,000 in the third quarter. Now that Gibbons has posted a big number out of the gate, Boswell, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, and the White House are sure to be keeping an eye on Gibbons’ campaign.
The $207,000 that Gibbons was able to raise is also remarkable considering that he is in a highly contested, five-way GOP Primary in the 3rd District. State Senator Brad Zaun is considered by most to be the frontrunner in the race since he is the only candidate in the field who been on a ballot before. Zaun is a likeable and hard working candidate who entered the race around the same time as Gibbons did in late November.
In a press release sent out earlier this morning, Gibbons said, “I am excited about the momentum that we are building. In just six weeks, people are sending a clear message that they are sick and tired of business as usual in Washington. While this is a great start, I know there is a lot of work ahead. But I am dedicated to building the grassroots organization necessary for a successful campaign to ensure Iowans have a voice in Washington that reflects their values.”
Gibbons told TheIowaRepublican.com, “This campaign is doing what it takes to compete and win at the highest level.” He also said that, of the $207,000 he raised, $52,000 was raised on-line. He also noted that, so far this cycle, 79% of the money that Congressman Boswell has raised has come from political action committees. Only seven percent of the money that Gibbons raised came from PACs.
As the other candidates disclose how much they were able to raise in the fourth quarter of 2009, we will begin to know how big of an impact Gibbons’ fundraising success will have in the 3rd District GOP primary. Dave Funk, the first candidate in the race, raised $16,477 in the third quarter of 2009, and had just over $6000 cash on hand.
The deadline for filing the end-of-year disclosures for congressional candidates is January 31st.
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