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Iowa Politics Roundup: Pennsylvania’s Rendell Brings Optimism, $300K to Iowa Democrats PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 22 October 2010 13:11

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell told Iowa Democratic Party faithful Saturday night that he’d rather lose fighting for something he believes in than win standing for nothing – but he doesn’t believe Governor Chet Culver will lose to former Governor Terry Branstad on November 2.

“For a moment, don’t worry about the other guy,” Rendell said. “An incumbent deserves to be re-elected if he’s done a good job. Chet Culver has done a very good job.”

Rendell also said Culver and other Democrats should stand up and talk about their accomplishments more clearly with voters, but also be honest about the tough times many Iowans and Americans are facing.

“We’ve got to continue reminding voters, ‘Hey, you may be disappointed in the way things are going in the country; you may be disappointed in the president.’ In Pennsylvania, they may be disappointed in some of the things I’ve done. But it’s not a referendum; it’s a choice,” Rendell said.

Rendell, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, didn’t draw as large a crowd to the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Des Moines as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin did to the Republican Party of Iowa’s Reagan Dinner in September, but he did manage to draw more money.

About 1,300 were in Des Moines Saturday for the party’s major dinner, compared to about 1,500 for the GOP’s dinner, but Democrats raised roughly three times as much: $300,000 compared to more than $100,000 for Republicans.

“That’s in a year when they’ve said we couldn’t do it, when they’ve been saying since May that we haven’t had the enthusiasm,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky.

Culver spent much of his speech bashing Branstad, particularly his pledge to cut the state’s budget by 15 percent. Culver said that cut would mean $500 million less for education, $150 million less for health care, and $67 million less for public safety.

Culver also asked for help from the crowd, saying he needs them to get their friends, family, and neighbors out to vote – to exploit Democrats’ voter-registration advantage in the state.

Incumbents Lead Challengers in House-Race Fundraising

All of Iowa’s U.S. representatives led their challengers in third-quarter fundraising this year, but Second Congressional District candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Third Congressional District candidate Brad Zaun came the closest to rivaling the incumbents.

Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist, raised two-thirds of what U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack (D-Mount Vernon) raised in the quarter – $209,700 compared to $311,197. She was left with a cash balance of $404,745 for the final month of the campaign, which is 79 percent of the $510,084 that Loebsack had left.

However, reports also show that Miller-Meeks loaned her campaign $359,600 in the third quarter for a total of $483,671 this campaign cycle, leaving her campaign with $424,800 in debts and obligations.

Meanwhile, Zaun, a state senator and former mayor from Urbandale, raised $281,907, or three-fourths of the $374,623 raised by U.S. Representative Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines). However, Zaun’s cash-on-hand going into October was only about one-third of Boswell’s – $139,236 compared to $383,416. Zaun also reported $31,457 in debts and obligations.

Other races weren’t as competitive financially:

• In the First District, U.S. Representative Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) raised more than twice as much as his Republican opponent, Ben Lange, in the third quarter ($469,530 to $200,024) and had a cash balance of nearly four times as much ($872,420 to $232,313).

• In the Fourth District, U.S. Representative Tom Latham (R-Ames) raised $140,252, or nearly three times as much as Democrat Bill Maske, who raised $49,795. Maske’s $25,176 cash-on-hand was only about 4 percent of Latham’s $617,017.

Conlin’s Loans to Campaign Now Total $1 Million; Grassley Still Leads in Cash-on-Hand

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin has now loaned her campaign a total of $1 million, according to a campaign-finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Conlin, a Des Moines trial lawyer who also works with her husband in real estate, loaned herself $500,000 in the third quarter of this year, bringing her total personal contributions to $1 million this election cycle.

Between July 1 and September 30, Conlin raised half as much as her opponent, incumbent Chuck Grassley. In addition, the money that Conlin had to work with in the final month of the campaign was about one-sixth of Grassley’s.

FEC reports show that Conlin raised $330,873 in the third quarter, while Grassley raised $704,801. During that time, Conlin spent $893,493, while Grassley spent $1.69 million – leaving Conlin with $817,126 at the end of last month, while Grassley had $4.76 million cash-on-hand.

Conlin’s campaign had $1 million in debts and obligations to herself, while Grassley had just $13,216 in debts and obligations.