WATERLOO | Third quarter campaign finance reports show Democrats vying for the 1st District congressional seat pursuing a variety of routes to funding their campaigns.
The 1st District seat is open in the 2014 election because Bruce Braley decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin. Five Democrats have opted to vie for the seat and are gearing up for a primary election next June.
Former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy got in the race first and held the early money lead, but former State Sen. Swati Dandekar posted the most impressive showing in the latest quarter.
Dandekar, of Marion, recorded more than $223,000 in contributions for the quarter, a total she amassed by getting donations from coast to coast.
In the third quarter, Dandekar raised nearly $18,000 in California, more than $33,000 from Washington, D.C., and adjoining Maryland and Virginia, more than $13,000 in Florida and almost $7,000 in Indiana. Neighboring Illinois also proved to be fertile ground with donors there putting up more than $40,000 toward her campaign. The support from around the country includes business connections and the Indian community.
Altogether, Dandekar’s report included donors from 22 states outside of Iowa.
Murphy’s campaign made use of contacts throughout the state of Iowa. His fundraising total for the quarter came to $78,000, putting his fundraising for the elections cycle at $230,000.
In the course of raising money this quarter, Murphy received more than double the number of donations from Polk County than from his home county of Dubuque. Donations from the rest of the state outnumbered both of those counties combined. Murphy also took advantage of some national help, with more than $8,000 coming from our nation’s capital and $2,800 from Des Moines.
The other heavy hitter for fundraising so far is Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon. She added $120,000 this quarter and has raised $225,000 so far this campaign. Vernon’s donor base is heavily centered in Linn County, totals there dwarfing those from elsewhere in Iowa. Outside of Iowa, she recorded donors in 13 other states, with Illinois supporters giving the most at $4,700.
Another Linn County candidate, attorney Dave O’Brien, brought in nearly $104,000. Most of his support came from within Iowa’s borders, with strong pockets in Linn County, Polk County and northwest Iowa where he grew up. In addition, O’Brien drew contributions from 13 states, but most of those included just one or two contributions per state.
Anesa Kajtazovic brought in the least of the five Democratic candidates in the quarter at $37,051. While other candidates were mining contacts and contributors near and far, Kajtazovic mostly stuck close to home for her fundraising. She listed a handful of donations from the Des Moines area, another handful from places such as Missouri; Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Michigan. However, the bulk of her money came from right in her home Black Hawk County, and more than $7,000 of that came from Waterloo company VGM and its employees.