State Representative Abby Finkenauer brought in an impressive fundraising haul for her first reporting quarter as a candidate for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, a key swing seat that Democrats hope to retake in 2018. Her campaign told Starting Line they raised over $155,000 from over 550 donors, the majority of which were in Iowa, this quarter. Finkenauer, 28, a two-term Democratic state legislator from Dubuque, officially announced her candidacy back on May 3.
The Northeast Iowa 1st District seat, which includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque, has been heavily targeted by national and state Democrats since Republican Rod Blum won it in 2014. Blum made national headlines earlier this year when he abruptly walked out of a TV news interview when pressed about out-of-state campaign donations.
“I’m proud to announce that in just two months, our campaign has raised over $155,000 from over 550 individuals. I’m especially proud that the majority of our donors come from right here in Iowa,” Finkenauer said. “I’m grateful and humbled by this support which puts us on track to have the resources to compete with the GOP and their dark money allies. Rod Blum might be able to write himself a $500,000 check, but I have something better – hundreds of contributors and over 2,500 supporters who are willing to step up over and over again from now to the election. Working families like the one I grew up in are ready to be heard loud and clear with a seat at the table in Washington, D.C.”
Her first quarter of fundraising is similar to or better than past eventual Democratic primary winners in the 1st District. Pat Murphy raised $68,000 in his first quarter in the 2014 primary. Monica Vernon raised $191,000 in donations during her first quarter in 2016. Blum himself raised $78,000 in the previous quarter of this year, and he once again gave his campaign a $500,000 injection from his personal checkbook. Over two-thirds of Finkenauer’s donations were $100 or less.
Finkenauer’s candidacy has drawn interest from national organizations, including EMILY’s List, which has already endorsed her and was influential in Vernon’s primary victory in 2016, and she has several key local labor backers as well. It looks like all major population centers in the 1st District will be represented by a serious candidate, so Democrats should see a very competitive primary for 2018.
Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls, a Waverly native who worked in Tom Harkin’s office, the Obama administration and for several companies in New York, got in the race yesterday. Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker is expected to do so as well. Courtney Rowe, a Rockwell Collins aerospace engineer, has been campaigning for months, and George Ramsey of Cedar Rapids, a former military recruiter, filed papers to run recently. State Senator Jeff Danielson hasn’t ruled it out either, yet.
by Pat Rynard