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January 30th, 2010

Rathje Leads Fundraising Race in 2nd CD Primary

rathjeMost of the attention in Iowa’s Second Congressional District has focused on 2008 Republican nominee Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and 2008 U.S. Senate nominee Christopher Reed. Both Miller-Meeks and Reed have passionate groups of supporters, and now both candidates find themselves trailing Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje in fundraising by a substantial margin.

Rathje raised $59,130.00 in 2009, the second most of any Republican congressional challenger in the state, and had $46,242.09 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. Miller-Meeks, the front-runner in the race, raised $20,660.15 in the period. Miller-Meeks gave her own campaign $4,000. Christopher Reed raised a miniscule $2,833.75 in the last quarter of 2009, he has just over $2000 cash on hand.

Rathje’s early fundraising advantage over Miller-Meeks and Reed should enable him to make a credible case to voters and donors in the second district. While Miller-Meeks fundraising number is disappointing, she has proved to be a capable fundraiser in the past. Miller-Meeks raised almost $100,000 in the 2008 primary, and it is likely that she will need to do that or more to be successful in the 2010 primary.

Reed’s lack of fundraising is problematic for his campaign. Unlike the 2008 US Senate primary, which Reed joined late, Reed was the first announced candidate in second district primary. While Reed has strong appeal among social conservatives in the district, he still will need the necessary resources to raise his name ID across the district.

Rathje now finds himself in a strong situation. Not only has he assembled the resources to be competitive in the primary, but his campaign has gained credibility overnight. In the 2008 U.S. Senate primary, Rathje performed better than Reed in the 2nd Congressional District. Rathje garnered 5849 votes in the primary compared to Reed’s 4999. Miller-Meeks, who was also involved in contested primary in the district, received 7372 votes. However, Rathje outperformed both Miller-Meeks and Reed in Linn County. Rathje received 2973 votes, Miller-Meeks had 1604 votes, and Reed garnered 1187 votes.

Rathje’s surprisingly strong fundraising numbers combined with his previous strength in Linn County could prove to be troublesome for Miller-Meeks and Reed. A candidate who can deliver a big margin in Linn County can offset a poor showing in other parts of the district. Rathje’s relatively strong performance in Linn County compared to the other two means that neither of them should underestimate Rathje, especially if he has the resources to run radio and TV ads.

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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