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May 28th, 2010

Third District Congressional Race Enters its Final Stage

As primary day draws nearer, candidates running for office are doing all they can to communicate with as many people as possible. Candidates can accomplish that in a number of ways. They can use TV ads, radio ads, direct mail, and phone calls. All of those methods have one thing in common – they all cost money.

While the amount one can raise or give to their campaign doesn’t dictate whether or not someone is a good candidate, it is important in getting your name and message out to the voters. The more money a campaign has, the more ads a campaign can run.

The three top candidates in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District have each now produced TV ads. They differ in quality and message, but the biggest difference is how often they will be seen. That’s where money comes in.

Yesterday, the candidates had to disclose how much money each of their campaigns raised between April 1st and May 19th. Here is a look at the ads each candidate is running and a snapshot of their campaign finances.

Jim Gibbons

Gibbons continues to be the fundraising leader in the 3rd CD race. The report that he filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission shows that, since announcing his campaign last November, he has raised $446,985.46. Gibbons raised over $76,000 in the shortened pre-primary period. He has over $128,000 cash on hand according to the report.

Gibbons also has spent the most money of any candidate in the race. In the pre-primary period, Gibbons spent $213,000. Gibbons fundraising advantage allowed him to begin running ads early, and he has been up on TV for almost a month now.

Below is Gibbons’ latest ad:

Brad Zaun

In April, Zaun commented on his fundraising numbers when he said, “Some candidates raise the bulk of their money on the front end of the campaign. We’ll raise ours on the backend.” Fundraising has proved to be difficult for Zaun throughout the campaign, not just in the beginning.

In his latest report, Zaun reported raising $32,422 between April 1st and May 19th. For his entire campaign Zaun has raised over $120,000, and has $20,446 cash on hand. Zaun has spent $97,880 since the beginning his congressional campaign. To put Zaun’s fundraising in perspective, the $34,000 he raised in six weeks is how much Gibbons has been spending every week on his TV ads.

Zaun’s TV ads are simple and straight forward, a lot like the candidate himself. Zaun also tries to appeal to Tea Party activists by mentioning the Constitution.

Below is the ad that Zaun has been running for a couple weeks now.

Dave Funk

Dave Funk was the first candidate to jump into the race. Like Zaun, he has found it difficult to raise money for his campaign. Funk has raised $92,215 for his campaign. Almost $21,000 of that came between April 1st and May 19th. He has spent $84,740 on his campaign thus far and has $17,474 cash on hand. He has also loaned his campaign $10,000.

Funk recently recorded a TV ad for his campaign. His ad focuses on his background in the aviation industry. The ad shows footage from a helicopter cockpit and a commercial plane. It does a good job of showing Funk’s background as a pilot, but the messaging is questionable.

The ad also features Funk emerging from a private jet and saying, “Together we can stop the stupid spending in Congress.” The visual of the ad doesn’t mesh with the message that he is trying to communicate. Funk is the Tea Party candidate in the race, and while he mentions the constitution, Zaun’s ad actually does a better job of appealing to those people than Funk’s ad does.

Below is Funk’s ad:

DAVE FUNK CAMPAIGN AD from Luminary Creative on Vimeo.


I talked to one of my sources who is involved in media buys. They said that Funk has not placed any orders on cable, WHO TV, and probably can’t afford KCCI. That means the soonest that Funk can air his TV ad would be next Wednesday, less than a week form primary day. Media buys must be made in advance, and the Memorial Day Holiday also pushed up the deadlines I’m told.

Photos 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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