Weekend wrap-up

A few political items from this past weekend are bloggable.  Below you may read items about the timing of Iowa’s Caucuses; the fundraising of Iowa’s two major political parties; a Sioux City Journal story about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats’ tenure at Opportunities Unlimited and Bill Salier’s endorsement of Vander Plaats.

Iowa First?

DES MOINES, IA – Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan, a member of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, released the following statement after (Saturday) morning’s vote to retain the early states:
“Today, the Rules and Bylaws Committee took another important step in determining the schedule for the next presidential nominating process and it is one, I believe, that will help us ensure that Iowa is First-in-the-Nation once again.
“The Rules and Bylaws Committee voted this morning to retain our status along with that of New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina as early voting states for the 2012 presidential nominating process.
“I am pleased that the Rules and Bylaws Committee voted to retain the early voting states this morning.  Serving on the committee and representing Iowa’s interests is a huge responsibility and I am nothing but delighted at today’s votes.”

Party fundraising. 

Republicans say they have more cash on hand than do Democrats.  Democrats say they’re raised more money.  First, here’s what the Republicans had to say last Thursday.

State Finance Reports Reveal Iowa GOP Strength, Dem Weakness

DES MOINES – The Republican Party of Iowa today said the latest State of Iowa campaign finance reports indicate the Party and its candidates are competing head-to-head, and even out-pacing in many instances, majority Democrats and incumbents.

While the Iowa GOP has more cash-on-hand than its Iowa Democratic Party counterpart, the Party’s Executive Director Jim Anderson said the recent state campaign filings are encouraging for Republicans at all levels and in races as varied as Governor to Attorney General to control of the Iowa legislature.

Anderson first pointed to the Iowa GOP’s cash-on-hand advantage over the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) in the May 19 state reports. The reports show the Iowa GOP filing with $214,997 cash-on-hand, while the IDP only has $170,555 on-hand. Further widening the gap is that state reports indicate the IDP incurred new debt last month by receiving a $100,000 bank loan that remains outstanding.

“Even accounting for many competitive Republican primaries that are competing for resources, there is no question that the resources, energy, and enthusiasm in this state are flowing to Republicans,” said Anderson, noting that nearly half of Governor Chet Culver’s financial support in 2010 came from a single source – a $750,000 check from the Washington, DC-based Democratic Governors Association.

“In the battle for control of the Iowa House, the momentum and resources are with Leader Kraig Paulsen and House Republicans, who dramatically outraised majority Democrats,” said Anderson.

In 2010 Iowa GOP State House candidates raised over $595,000 compared to only $415,000 for majority House Democrats. The cash-on-hand totals are even more striking as Iowa House Republicans have over $925,000 to spend while the Iowa House Democrats have just $591,000. 

The filings in the race for Attorney General provided another boost to Iowa GOP efforts to defeat longtime incumbent Democrat Tom Miller. Republican Brenna Findley blew away Miller’s fundraising in 2010, by dramatically out-raising the incumbent by posting receipts of $124,000 to Miller’s $15,000. The two candidates will enter the summer months on equal financial footing as Findley shows $95,000 cash-on-hand to Miller’s $105,000. 

“With Governor Culver relying almost exclusively on outside of Iowa interests to fund his sagging re-election efforts and overwhelming support flowing to legislative Republicans, the building blocks are in place for bringing Iowa the change it deserves this November,” concluded Anderson.

And here’s what the Democrats had to say on Friday.  (There’s a bunch of comparison data at the end of the IDP release.) 

DES MOINES, IA – The Iowa Democratic Party announced another successful fundraising period, outraising the Republican Party of Iowa again. Iowa Democrats raised more than double what Republicans raised, according to the recently filed state and federal reports. 
“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan.
The reports filed this week with the Iowa Elections and Campaign Disclosure Board and the Federal Election Commission reveal that the Iowa Democratic Party raised double what the Republican Party of Iowa raised, outraising them by over half a million dollars in the last fundraising period.
“Don’t buy into the Republicans’ spin. Democrats are united, and are excited. How else can you explain our fundraising success or why we still have a huge voter registration advantage?” asked Kiernan.
In addition to outraising the Republican Party of Iowa in both state and federal dollars, Iowa Democrats retain a 100,000 person voter registration advantage.
By the numbers:
Federal Money Raised– January 1, 2010 through April 30, 2010:
IDP Raised: $411,189.97
RPI Raised: $ 369,290.56
IDP COH: $243,970.89
RPI COH: $163,075.25
State Money Raised – January 1, 2010 through May 14, 2010:
IDP Raised: $788,140.29
RPI Raised: $232,489
IDP COH: $170,555.69
RPI COH: $214,997.44
Total Money Raised:
IDP Raised: $1,199,330.26
RPI Raised: $601,779.56
IDP COH: $414,526.58
RPI COH: $378,072.69

The Vander Plaats campaign

This Sioux City Journal story in Sunday’s editions of Lee Enterprises papers has the political sphere talking.   Here’s the first paragraph:

SIOUX CITY — The human services agency led at one time by 2010 Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats nearly closed its doors in the early 2000s in large part because he failed to produce adequate fundraising support after stepping down as CEO, according to a former board member and executive for Sioux City-based Opportunities Unlimited.

The Iowa Republican has a long thread of comments about this development here at the bottom of a story by Craig Robinson.  Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants had raised this issue last September.  (Rants dropped out of the race in February. 

On Sunday afternoon, the Vander Plaats campaign announced an endorsement.

            WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Bill Salier, a staunch pro-life, small-government conservative and co-founder of the group Everyday America, today announced his support for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.
            “Bob Vander Plaats is the only candidate in the governor’s race who stands for true conservative values,” Salier said during a Vander Plaats campaign rally at Crossroads Park. “He understands that our freedoms depend on the checks and balances that our Founding Fathers so wisely installed into our system of governance. He’ll be a governor who stands up for what is right and stands strong in defense of our rights.”
            A former Marine who completed his tour of duty in Somalia, Salier shook up the state’s political scene when his grassroots campaign for the GOP’s 2002 U.S. Senate nomination garnered 42 percent of the vote against then-Congressman Greg Ganske.  Salier served as the Iowa state chairman of then-Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo’s 2008 presidential campaign.  A graduate of Iowa State University, Salier and his wife Karla operate the family farm near Nora Springs.
            Salier co-founded Everyday America, a group that believes an educated voter is the key to a good government and great nation. Everyday America’s mission is to teach the voting public that “Constitution is the rulebook for government and voters must make politicians accountable to our rulebook.”
            “Bill Salier has proven that he will stand up for what he knows is right and work tirelessly to elect principled conservatives,” Vander Plaats said. “Bill answered the call of duty as a Marine in Somalia and put his life on the line for our country – and he answers the call of duty as an involved, informed and responsible citizen right here at home. He is a true conservative leader in Iowa who recognizes the big challenges facing our state and the need for a governor who will follow the rule of law and get this state going in the right direction again. I’m honored to receive his endorsement.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.