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August 4th, 2010

Political Environment Should Worry Fitzgerald Despite Lead in TIR’s Battleground Poll

In a recent TIR Battleground Poll, Republican nominee for State Treasurer, Dave Jamison, trails his Democrat opponent by 12 points.  Current State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald leads Jamison 42% to 30%, with 26% of respondents undecided about the race.

As a 28-year incumbent, Fitzgerald is the clear frontrunner in the race.  While his 12-point lead over Jamison is significant, there is still three full months of campaigning to take place before people go to the polls.  It is also noteworthy that the 28-year incumbent only polls in the low 40’s.  Considering that over a quarter of the electorate are undecided about the race, Fitzgerald maybe in trouble this fall.

Jamison told, “These poll results only solidify what I have been talking about for the past 8 months.  Iowans have lost confidence in leaders like Michael Fitzgerald and Chet Culver.  These two men are the principle architects of the devastating debt that plagues our state.”

“The incumbent has had 28 years to connect with Iowans about the office and his job.  He has failed as a trustee and a leader.  After only 8 months, I’ve garnered support from nearly a third of Iowa voters,” said Jamison.

“Clearly, a majority of Iowans are open to a new state treasurer who will bring greater transparency, more accountability, increased visibility and an unwavering commitment to protecting our money.  Public office is a public trust that requires a full-time professional prepared to stand up for sound fiscal policies that will help grow our economy and jobs,” Jamison added.

Jamison’s willingness to confront Fitzgerald on the issues and his performance as the state’s top investment manager makes him a much more aggressive candidate than Republicans have recruited before.

Jamison then criticized his opponent for his involvement in Governor Culver’s I-Jobs program.  “Michael Fitzgerald is the architect of the $1.7 billion dollar I-jobs bond scheme. In the coming weeks and months, as more Iowans learn about Fitzgerald’s key role in plunging our state into this debt and his $500 million IPERS scandal, I’m confident we will close to a victory in November.  Let there be no doubt – Iowans will have a clear choice in the race for state treasurer.”

With the top of the Democratic ticket as weak as it has ever been, Jamison will have the wind at his back as the political environment favors Republicans and hurts incumbents, especially those who are charged with protecting taxpayer dollars.

In 2006, Democratic State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald ran unopposed.  Republicans didn’t recruit a candidate despite the belief of many in the GOP that 2006 was going to be good year at the ballot box.

Four-years earlier, Republicans had nominated an energetic candidate in Matt Whitaker.  Whitaker, a former Iowa Hawkeye football player and attorney, was a natural on the campaign trail.  He also found success in the fundraising arena, but despite all of the good will among Republicans, Whitaker garnered only 43% of the vote that year.

For most down-ballot statewide candidates facing an entrenched incumbent, their success is dependent on how the top of the ticket candidate performs rather than how well they execute their own campaigns.

It is not a coincidence that Whitaker’s 43% in the 2002 general election is almost identical to the 44.5% of the vote that Doug Gross mustered against Governor Tom Vilsack that year.   That was also the year that Tom Harkin defeated Greg Ganske.  Like Gross, Ganske garnered only 44% of the vote.

Fortunately, Republicans have nominated a strong candidate to run against Mike Fitzgerald in Jamison.  Unlike Whitaker in 2002, Jamison has the benefit of running for office in a favorable political environment with a strong statewide ticket that could make it possible for both himself and the other Republican challengers to send the Democratic incumbents packing this fall.

Like State Auditor Dave Vaudt and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Jamison brings a tremendous amount of credibility to his campaign.  Having served as the Story County Treasurer for 17 years, there is no doubt that he would be up for the task of running the Treasurer’s office.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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