Finkenauer doubled fundraising in fourth quarter of 2017

(FILE PHOTO) Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque announces her candidacy for the Democratic US House District 1 primary at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
(FILE PHOTO) Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque announces her candidacy for the Democratic US House District 1 primary at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer raised more than $300,000 for her Iowa 1st District congressional campaign during the final quarter of 2017.

The money raised from October through December doubles her previous fundraising and brings her total to more than $600,000 from more than 2,100 contributors, the Finkenauer campaign announced Thursday.

The Dubuque lawmaker said she was energized by the support for her campaign to challenge Republican Rep. Rod Blum, a Dubuque businessman seeking a third term.

“Rod Blum says he’s on our side, but he betrays us with vote after vote benefiting his corporate special-interest donors,” Finkenauer said. “I’m proud that 84 percent of our donations are $100 or less.”

According to her Federal Elections Commission reports, the fourth-quarter numbers build on the $308,000 Finkenauer reported raising in the previous two quarters. She previously reported $168,586 cash on hand.

The 1st District race is attracting attention despite Blum outperforming all other Republicans in the 20-county district that includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Cedar Falls, Waterloo and Marshalltown. The district supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but went for Donald Trump in 2016.

However, a number of polls have indicated Blum is vulnerable, and earlier this week Politico included the 1st District on its list of “top 10 House races to watch.”

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The district is seen as a necessary pickup if Democrats are going to win control of the U.S. House, according to Politico. Finkenauer, it said, “is the Democrats’ best hope to make a comeback in the state’s delegation” that includes one Democrat today.

Before she faces Blum, Finkenauer must win a four-way primary for the Democratic nomination. Her chief competition comes from Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls, who previously worked for retired Sen. Tom Harkin and the Labor Department during the Obama administration. Courtney Rowe, a Cedar Rapids engineer, and George Ramsey, talent management officer for a Cedar Rapids nonprofit, also are seeking the Democratic nomination.

So far, Finkenauer is the only 1st District candidate to file her fourth-quarter FEC report.

According to previous FEC reports, Heckroth raised $133,822 and had $105,296 cash on hand through October. Blum raised $937,043 and had a balance of $883,779 for the first three quarters of the year.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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