Secretary of State Paul Pate has been using a shell game to hide how little money he’s raised for his reelection, and it’s not clear if he’ll even use the money he has in the bank. Pate reported that his 2017 fundraising numbers ended with $238,791 cash-on-hand. But he also had $283,500 in outstanding loans. He raised just under $26,000 last year.
Oddly, his report showed both a loan of $200,000 and a loan repayment of $200,000. That’s where Pate gets into some intentional fudging of his numbers. Pate loaned his campaign $200,000 back on December 29, 2016. He loaned another $20,000 the next day. But that money didn’t stay in his account for long. This most recent report shows that he repaid himself the $200,000 loan a week later on January 5, 2017.
So, at the start of 2017, it appeared like his campaign was well-funded with a serious investment from the candidate himself. But in reality, he only loaned himself the money for several days in order for his campaign account to look flush and potentially scare off competition.
However, that $200,000 came right back into Pate’s account for this January’s report. He made a $200,000 loan to his campaign on December 28, 2017. The question is whether he’ll play the same game this time – is he actually going to spend that money for his 2018 reelection effort, or is he just moving it in and out of his account at opportune times in order to make himself look strong?
Candidate loans are a tricky thing at times. Some wealthy candidates simply give their campaigns a big check instead of a loan. Other candidates loan themselves money, but then contribute their own money later to forgive the loan. And some candidates actually use a loan as just that – a loan. They eventually raise enough money from individual donors to pay off the loan once in office, thus never really costing themselves any or much money.
Pate repaid part of the $75,500 in loans he made to his campaign during his run in 2014. After receiving about $10,000 in contributions in 2015, he repaid $12,000 worth of his initial loans that year. So, he has used donor money to repay some of the loans – it’s just not clear if he’ll do that for his current outstanding loans of $283,500. If he does end up spending the money he’s loaned his campaign, it would be near-impossible to raise enough to pay all that off, before or after the election.
We’ll have to wait to see until the next reporting period if he does more funny business with repaying and reissuing loans. The bottom line, however, is that you can’t trust what amount of money Pate actually has on-hand for his campaign.
Democratic Secretary Of State Reports
As for the two Democrats who look to take on Pate, both raised respectable-to-decent amounts for a statewide campaign. Jim Mowrer brought in $105,697 through a combination of donations and campaign property sales and has $49,703 cash-on-hand. Deidre DeJear raised $49,039 and has $35,370 cash-on-hand.
Mowrer transferred $10,000 from his previous campaign accounts to his secretary of state campaign, and most of his donations report read like your usual crowd of major Iowa donors. He also had a lot of contributions in the $5 to $50 range, probably from his large fundraising email list that he’s amassed over his past runs.
DeJear also had a lot of small-dollar donors, as well as a couple notable names, including Sally Pederson, Jim Carney, Jim Cownie, Quentin Hart, Helen Miller and Mike Sherzan. She had dozens of people who contributed very small amounts in odd increments – $1.67 here and $3.70 there – from people around the country (sort of like Cathy Glasson’s report, but it’s not the same people). Ending 2017 with just $14,000 less cash-on-hand than a candidate who has run in two high-profile races before is a success for DeJear, though both will need more for the 2018 campaign.
Tom Miller often cruises to reelection, though the long-time Democratic incumbent is taking no chances here. He’s sitting on a very impressive $208,166 total, despite there being no serious chatter about a potential Republican opponent. That’s more than he had at this point in 2014 – he had $172,363 cash-on-hand then. Miller raised $169,659 in 2017 and very noticeably ramped up his campaign efforts about two months back. Any Republican who got into the race at this point would have essentially an impossible task ahead given Miller’s popularity, his financial advantage and an election year likely to be favorable to Democrats.
Mike Fitzgerald, another long-time Democratic incumbent, also often has easy reelection efforts and no real Republican opposition just yet. Hopefully it stays that way as he has only $37,164 cash-on-hand after raising a mere $4,118 in 2017.
Secretary of Agriculture
Who knows what’s going on with Iowa’s secretary of agriculture race with Bill Northey’s nomination to the USDA still being held up Ted Cruz. Former Farm Bureau President Craig Lang reported raising $5,600 for his statewide bid. Others have announced, but it was past the filing deadline.
by Pat Rynard