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October 16th, 2013

Money Talks: Dandekar Blows Away Her Competition in Democrat 1st District Primary

Former Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives Pat Murphy has fallen behind his primary opponents in the Democrat primary in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.  Murphy was the first candidate to publically announce his candidacy, but since then, he has been surpassed by most of the field in terms of fundraising.

Murphy raised just $77,914.00 from June through September, but reported having $176,247.06 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.  Former State Senator Swati Dandekar raised $223,747.00 in the fundraising period and has $187,079.78 cash on hand.  Dandekar’s fundraising prowess isn’t surprising, but Murphy was also out-fundraised in the period by Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon and Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O’Brien.  Vernon raised $120,712.30 and has $162,308.69 cash on hand, while O’Brien raised $104,973.00 and has $79,598.63 in the bank.

The one Democrat that Murphy was able to out-fundraise was State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic, who raised a paltry $37,050.01, and has just  $29,171.96 cash on hand.  Almost 20 percent of the money that Kajtazovic raised is from one Waterloo company, VGM group.  The company’s CEO, President, and other executives have donated a total of $6,600 to Kajtazovic’s campaign.  Kajtazovic is also using a VGM subsidiary as a vendor for her congressional campaign.

VGM is an industry leader in home medical equipment.  Their support of Kajtazovic or any Democrat running for Congress is interesting considering that Obamacare includes a medial device tax that Republicans have been pushing to repeal.

In other races…

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District

State Representative Mark Lofgren raised $57,182.00 for his congressional campaign over the past three months.  Most of the money he raised was from the Muscatine business community.  Lofgren also reported having $24,912.19 cash on hand, which won’t do much to keep a Republican primary opponent from entering the race.

While Lofgren’s fundraising numbers are not much to write home about, the report does show that he has hired Davenport-based Victory Enterprises to consult his campaign.  Lofgren is paying Victory Enterprises $2,250 per month for its services.  Victory Enterprises has a decent record in congressional primaries.  In 2006, they helped Davenport restaurateur Mike Whalen win a contested primary in Iowa’s First Congressional District, and in 2012, they helped Bettendorf businessman John Archer win his primary in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.

Congressman Dave Loebsack awaits whoever wins the Republican nomination.  Loebsack raised $151,156.64 in the period and has over $332,000 in the bank.

Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District

Former State Senator Staci Appel raised an impressive $238,877.04 for her campaign against Republican Congressman Tom Latham.  For his part, Latham raised $417,051.53 and has more than $870,000 in the bank compared to Appel’s $196,000.  Defeating Latham will be no easy task, especially considering he just put an incumbent member of congress out to pasture in 2012.

Iowa’s 4th Congressional District

Jim Mowrer, the Democrat challenging Congressman Steve King, is also off to an impressive start to his campaign.  Mowrer raised $181,514.19 in his first three months as a candidate.  While that’s not Christy Vilsack type money, it is significant, especially when running against King, who’s not known to be a prolific fundraiser.  Mowrer has $128,857.84 cash on hand.  To put that in perspective, Matt Campbell, King’s 2010 opponent, only raised $215,646.81 for his entire campaign.  Anyone who thinks King is going to get a breather after being challenged by Vilsack in 2012 better think again.  King reported raising just $109,871 and has $92,000 cash on hand.

U.S. Senate

Matt Whitaker reported that he raised $104,555 for his U.S. Senate bid.  While that’s less than he raised in his initial fundraising period, he’s not too far off his original pace.  Whitaker’s fundraising pace is off 10 percent, which isn’t a positive sign, but it’s not nearly as bad as David Young’s situation.  David Young’s fundraising pace dropped by 28 percent.

A Bad Sign

We all know that the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate are not collectively keeping pace with Congressman Bruce Braley’s fundraising, but they are being out-fundraised by the Democrat candidates running for Congress in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.  In the last reporting period, the four Democrats running in Iowa’s 1st District raised $564,000 collectively, while the four main Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate collectively raised just $543,000.

Think about that for a second.

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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