Candidates running for Congress are approaching another fundraising deadline at the end of the month. The first quarter fundraising deadline will tell us which candidates have the necessary resources to wage their campaigns the primaries enter into their final phases.
Last Saturday, I recorded Dave Funk, Jim Gibbons, and Brad Zaun’s speeches at the Polk County Convention. Mark Rees spoke later in the afternoon after I had left. The speeches provide an indication of what message each particular candidate is promoting.
Out of the three speeches, I thought Gibbons provided the most content in regards to current issues. He spoke about healthcare, cap and trade, and the government’s out of control spending. It was obvious that both Zaun and Funk had more enthusiastic supporters in the room and provided more one-liners, but Gibbon’s provided more substance.
Something to keep an eye on: Even though I’m now a Polk County resident and voter, I still receive invites to Republican events in Poweshiek County. Last week, I received an invitation to a Gibbons for Congress fundraiser, which is being hosted by Pete Brownell of Montezuma.
Brownell owns Brownell, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of firearm accessories and gunsmithing tools. While it is not odd that the would support one of the 3rd District Congressional candidates, I was a little surprised when I got the invitation from the Gibbons campaign since the Brownell family had been Dave Funk’s largest financial backers to date. This is the stuff that happens in big primary fields. Either way, it’s a big score for Gibbons.
Zaun received a huge ovation from the Urbandale section of the Polk County Convention as he was introduced. Zaun used his speech to let people know that he will always listen to his constituents, and has done so as a mayor and member of the legislature.
Out of all the candidates speeches, Zaun offered the most one-liners and the audience ate it up. He is extremely likeable and goes about his campaign in a positive and upbeat manner. If I had to compare Zaun to a national candidate in terms of style, he reminds me of Sarah Palin. He’s funny, delivers great lines, but can be a little short on substance from time to time.
Word on the Street: Zaun has been aggressively fundraising and been willing to meet with those who have already supported his opponent’s campaigns. That’s a good sign for his campaign, but we will have to see if he is successful in getting people to hedge their bets and donate to his campaign as well.
Funk spoke to the convention right before lunch. Polk County was not the first convention he hit last Saturday. As such, he missed the opportunity to speak at the same time as Zaun and Gibbons. Those side by side comparisons are always nice if you are a candidate in Funk’s shoes.
Funk also received a warm welcome by the convention delegates. Funk’s used a big chunk of his speech to attack one of his opponents, but chose not to do it by name. Funk’s attack were aimed at Jim Gibbons, but if I would have to guess 75% of the delegates didn’t understand that he was attacking Gibbons for having the former Speaker Hastert at a fundraiser.
Funk also attacked the people who are supporting Gibbons financially. If Funk wins the primary he’s going to need to raise huge sums of money. Attacking another candidate’s donors for “drinking at taxpayers trough for their own personal or business interests,” is odd and unseen in politics. It’s also interesting coming from a candidate who receives farm subsidies himself. I guess I don’t understand the difference except for the scale of the subsidies.
On a lighter note: Funk hit a turkey while traveling around to the county conventions with his Toyota 4 Runner. Funk posted a picture on his Facebook page. I’ve had a pheasant hit my windshield once and I was amazed at the damage it did. That was scary enough, I can’t imagine hitting a turkey. Good to see that Dave has a sense of humor about this stuff and was smart to post it on his Facebook page.
Mark Rees opened his campaign headquarters last night in historic Valley Junction. Rees’s headquarters is decked out with American flags and is already loaded with small yard signs and big Rees for Congress barn signs.
The location of his office should help expand the visibility of his campaign. In the summer there area hosts a farmers market on the weekends and live music on Thursday nights.
In talking to campaign manager Nathan Treloar, Rees has the necessary petitions signed to place his name on the ballot. While Rees is relatively unknown in Iowa political circles, Treloar cut his teeth on Bob Vander Plaats’ 2002 gubernatorial campaign and later worked for the Republican Party of Iowa.
Zaun and Gibbons photo by Dave Davidson
Funk photo from his Facebook page
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