As the most expensive governor’s race in Iowa history nears its end, recent campaign disclosure filings show Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic opponent Fred Hubbell have ramped up raising and spending in the final days leading up to Tuesday’s Election Day.
Both sides reported a high contributions and expenses over the past two weeks, with a large portion of Hubbell’s campaign money coming from his own bankroll. Meanwhile, Reynolds has received most of her support from national Republican Party organizations.
Hubbell, a wealthy Des Moines business executive from a prominent Iowa family, has reeled in $2.5 million since mid-October. He dropped an additional $700,000 in his campaign fund to close out the month, bringing his overall self-financing tally to $7.1 million. He also picked up $500,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, and he got about $270,000 from organized labor interests.
Reynolds, a former lieutenant governor seeking election as the state’s chief executive for the first time, outraised her Democratic opponent during the latest filing period, drawing in a total $3.7 million. She received nearly $3 million of that from the Republican Governors Association, which supports candidates for governor around the country.
While fundraising has tilted in Reynolds’ favor as of late, the opponents are closer in terms of the money they’re putting up in a last-ditch effort to gain voter support. Hubbell spent about $3.4 million total to Reynolds’ $3.8 million, with most of the big expenses going toward television advertising.
The latest reports with the state’s campaign disclosure board cover the tail end of October after campaign messages from the candidates already have been on the airwaves for months. David Kochel, a Des Moines Republican operative, said the “sprint to the finish” is a common campaign approach, saying “everybody’s putting everything they’ve got on the field” to make gains in what’s been a highly competitive race compared to the previous two gubernatorial elections.
Norm Sterzenbach, a veteran operative for Iowa Democrats, said voters who may be undecided tend to make up their minds within the final two weeks of the race. In addition to trying to persuade voters to side with their candidate, he said, one of the more important aspects for Democrats is to motivate their base to get out and vote in a midterm election year, when turnout is typically lower.
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Meanwhile, political handicappers have put Reynolds and Hubbell in a dead heat with a few days to go before the polls close. In September, a survey conducted by Selzer & Co. for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom had Hubbell leading Reynolds by 2 percentage points, a figure that fell within the poll’s margin of error. And on Friday, a poll released by the University of Iowa showed Hubbell leading Reynolds by 3.6 percentage points as of mid-October, a figure that also fell within that poll’s margin of error.
Libertarian candidate Jake Porter, who has struggled to gain attention over his Democratic and Republican opponents, has raised and spent little for his bid and has gained little traction in the polls. He last reported a campaign account balance of about $820.