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March 13th, 2010

Third CD Candidates Staring Down Another Fundraising Deadline

Zaun and GibbonsCandidates 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.

Brad Zaun

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.

Dave Funk

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

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

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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