116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — After posting paltry fundraising numbers over the first four-plus months of her campaign for Iowa governor, Democrat Deidre DeJear fared far better so far in 2022.
But she still is lagging far behind the pace of the incumbent governor, Republican Kim Reynolds.
After raising just less than $280,000 in the last four-plus months of 2021, DeJear reported raising nearly $740,000 in the first four-plus months of this year, according to state campaign records.
But that still pales in comparison to the $1.3 million raised by Reynolds over the same period this year.
Thursday was an election year reporting deadline for state candidates in Iowa. Candidates were required to report all fundraising from Jan. 1 through May 14. They will be required to file another report before the June 7 primary election, for which early voting is underway.
DeJear finished the period with just less than $382,000 left in her campaign account. Reynolds, meanwhile, finished the period sitting on a shade under $5 million in the bank.
Reynolds became governor in 2017 when former Gov. Terry Branstad was named U.S. ambassador to China. The state’s first-ever female governor, Reynolds won her 2018 election over Democrat Fred Hubbell by just less than 3 percentage points.
A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll from Selzer and Co., published in March, showed Reynolds with an 8-point lead over DeJear, 51 to 43 percent.
State agency campaigns
Two Democratic state agency directors, each of whom is the longest-tenured in the nation’s history, continue to be outpaced in campaign fundraising by their Republican challengers.
Tom Miller, a Democrat and the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history, raised just less than $170,000 in the period. But Republican Brenna Bird, a former member of Branstad’s staff, raised more than $293,000 in the period.
Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat and the longest-serving state treasurer in U.S. history, raised just $22,000 to the $79,000 raised by Republican Roby Smith, a retiring state legislator from Davenport.
Rob Sand, a Democrat who is finishing his first term as state auditor, is faring far better. He raised $222,000 in the period and finished with more than $1 million in his campaign account. Those numbers dwarf the fundraising posted by a pair of potential Republican challengers, Mary Ann Hanusa ($25,000 raised in the period) and Todd Halbur ($7,000).
And Democrats did well at the statehouse level, with both chambers’ leaders outraising their Republican counterparts.
Legislative leaders typically use their fundraising to help their fellow candidates in statehouse races across the state.
Zach Wahls, a Democrat from Coralville who leads the minority Democrats in the Iowa Senate, raised $159,000 in the period. That was more than 7.5 times the $21,000 raised by Jack Whitver, the Republican Senate Majority Leader.
However, thanks to previous fundraising efforts, Whitver finished the period with nearly $570,000 in his campaign account. Wahls finished with $370,000.
In the Iowa House, Democratic leader Jennifer Konfrst ($45,000) outraised Republican Speaker Pat Grassley ($39,000). However, Grassley finished the period with more in his account ($375,000) that Konfrst ($147,000).
Democrats also fared well in what will be one of the most high-profile and competitive statehouse campaigns this year.
Sarah Trone Garriott, a Democratic senator from West Des Moines, raised more than $107,000 — a significant total for a single statehouse campaign. Trone Garriott is running against Republican Senate President Jake Chapman, from Adel, who raised just $18,000 in the period, although he has $153,000 in his account.
The state’s decennial redrawing of political maps put the incumbent Sens. Trone Garriott and Chapman into the same district.
Statehouse candidates during a legislative session cannot accept donations from political organizations; they can only accept donations from individuals.
The Iowa Legislature remains in session as Reynolds and Senate Republicans have held out hope their colleagues in the Iowa House will agree to pass legislation that would create taxpayer-funded scholarships for private school tuition assistance.
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