On The Road

February 2nd, 2012

What the Iowa Congressional Fundraising Reports Mean for 2012 Races

The fourth quarter fundraising totals are in for Iowa’s congressional candidates and they provide a revealing glimpse of what we can expect for the 2012 races. Two congressional competitions in Iowa are expected to be among the most watched in the nation. Those are in the third district, where incumbents Tom Latham and Leonard Boswell go head-to-head, and the fourth, where conservative stalwart Steve King faces former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack.

Here is a look at each candidate’s fourth quarter totals, their cash on hand, and an analysis of the state of the race:

Fourth District:

Steve King-R

Raised: $206,718.50

Cash on Hand: $529,490.09

Christie Vilsack-D

Raised: $394,193.93

Cash on Hand: $751,530.16

Vilsack raked in another impressive haul in the fourth quarter of 2011, almost doubling King’s total. She is also benefiting from outside liberal interests aimed at tearing down one of the most conservative members of Congress. King has never been in a position where he has been forced to raise huge amounts of money. This contest will be the first.

Though Vilsack has the financial edge right now, Congressman King should be able to rely on plenty of help from Republicans in Iowa and around the country. However, an early poll from a Democrat-leaning firm shows Vilsack within striking distance of King. He cannot underestimate the former first lady. This race will be very interesting to watch and might be more competitive than a lot of conservatives realize.

Third District:

Tom Latham-R

Raised: $344,804.37

Cash on Hand: $1,917,310.64

Leonard Boswell-D

Raised: $181,807.27

Cash on Hand: $493,782.60

Christie Vilsack’s good financial numbers might be bad news for Leonard Boswell. He needs all the help he can get trying to keep pace with Tom Latham, but liberals in and outside of Iowa seem more concerned with helping Vilsack. Latham has an enormous fundraising edge over Boswell and there is plenty more cash where that came from. Latham’s close relationship with Speaker of the House John Boehner insures he will have plenty of support.

The current fourth district congressman is also doing a good job reaching out to voters in his new district. Latham is helping local Republican candidates in Iowa, appearing at fundraisers for candidates like Iowa House hopeful Jim Carley. The Polk County GOP is also fully committed to helping Tom Latham. He is in good shape right now in this race, but Leonard Boswell is always difficult to defeat. This campaign will be no different.

Second District:

Dave Loebsack-D

Raised: $158,236.96

Cash on Hand: $450,960.55

John Archer-R

Raised: $34,908.32

Cash on Hand: $73,388.59

Dan Dolan-R

Raised: $29,692.42

Cash on Hand: $109,103.64

$75,000 from the candidate

Richard Gates-R

Raised: $535.00

Cash on Hand: -$47.08

The incumbent Loebsack probably feels pretty confident right now looking at these numbers. None of his Republican counterparts appear to have a strong fundraising prowess so far. However, Loebsack has never been a strong fundraiser either. Once there is a nominee, the PAC money will kick in and make the fundraising deficit more competitive.

The real contest right now is between John Archer and Dan Dolan. Both are working hard on the campaign trail. Archer was able to lure presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann to one of his events in December. Both men have impressive resumes and could give Loebsack a real challenge this year. The primary race between Archer and Dolan will be an interesting one. Tea Party candidate Richard Gates is a non-factor.

First District:

Bruce Braley-D

Raised: $308,851.80

Cash on Hand: $627,426.33

Rod Blum-R

Raised: $71,233.40

Cash on Hand: $66,065.39

$22,000 from the candidate

Ben Lange-R

Raised: $122,793.12

Cash on Hand: $120,311.66

Bruce Braley is the Democrats’ golden child in Iowa. He has his sights set on a higher prize than Congress and they will try to help him get there. First, Braley has to hold on to his congressional seat. Things almost collapsed for Braley in 2010 when little-known challenger Ben Lange came within 2 percentage points of upsetting the incumbent. It is doubtful Braley and the Democrats will underestimate their opponent this time.

Ben Lange has the obvious financial edge over Rod Blum in the GOP primary so far. Lange’s near-upset of Braley in 2010 was aided by $1 million in negative advertising from the American Future Fund. He will not be able to rely on their help unless he secures the nomination. Lange benefits from the experience he gained and connections he made in 2010. However, the first congressional district increased from 12 to 20 counties, so many voters will not be familiar with Ben Lange.

Rod Blum could pose a significant challenge to Lange. He a successful businessman and is well known in the Dubuque area. Blum is the former chairman of the Dubuque County GOP and was a conservative columnist for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald for the past ten years. That should help offset some of the name recognition Lange gained with his 2010 race.

Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.

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