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Christie Vilsack vs. Steve King

Christie Vilsack and Steve King 

The first quarter reports of campaign fundraising by the two Iowa 4th district congressional candidates are in at the Federal Election Commission. U.S. Rep. Steve King, a Republican seeking a sixth term in the House, and his Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack now have a combined $1.7 million cash on hand ready to be spent.

King pulled in his largest fundraising quarter since he first began pursuing a congressional seat back in 2001. He raised $446,476 in the first three months of 2012, while Vilsack also had another productive quarter, nabbing $391,711.

Digging a little deeper into the reports, when compared with Visack,  King had far more individual campaign contributions from people living in the 39 counties of the 4th District. He had a large number of Northwest and North Central Iowa residents who made $2,500 single donations (and who hit $5,000 donated for the 2011-12 campaign cycle to date) in the quarter, while Vilsack only had one.

Vilsack's report was set up in alphabetical order with names, and it took me until near the end to see a $2,500 contributor with an address in the district. That person -- Thomas J. Vilsack, of Ames, Iowa, listed "USDA" as employer and "Secretary of Agriculture" as occupation. Yes, the former first lady is married to the U.S. ag secretary.

Vilsack had far more out-of-state individual donors than King, and had many contributions from people living in other parts of Iowa. She got many of the $2,500 donations from people outside the 4th District.

One that wasn't quite to that benchmark, $2,000, came from Jim Clyburn, a Democratic Congressman from South Carolina. Another notable contribution came in the $250 from Art Neu, of Carroll, Iowa, a Republican who served as Iowa's Lieutenant Governor in the 1970s.

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King had numerous $2,500 single donations from Northwest Iowans, including many business people who typically contribute to Republican candidates -- Mike Wells of Le Mars, Cheryl Wells of Le Mars, John Gleeson of Sioux City, Mike Bennett of Sioux City and Jon Winkel of Sergeant Bluff.

King also received $2,500 from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, $482 from Siouxland Chamber of Commerce President Chris McGowan and $300 from Col. Bud Day, the decorated military veteran from Sioux City who now lives in Florida and is a hunting buddy of King's.

Looking at political action committees, King got $58,766 from the Club For Growth PAC, taking him to $172,203 over the 2011-12 cycle from that entity. He got contributions from the Florida Sugar Cane and U.S. Immigration Reform PACs to name a few, while Vilsack received money from the American Federation of Teachers and League of Conservation Voters Action Fund.

Over the 2011-12 cycle, Vilsack has raised $1.54 million, while King has pulled in $1.27 million.

Pointing to notable fundraising ahead, on May 12 Vilsack will have a fundraiser in Des Moines, where the special guest is Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of president Joe Biden.

UPDATE: King is having an intestingly-themed fundraiser Friday night in Holstein, Iowa. The Cowboys For King event will include a meal, dancing, silent auction to raise money for his campaign and the appearance by a cowboy poet, Brooke Turner. 

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