One of the focuses for Democrats in the November election this year will be taking back the Iowa House and cutting into the Republican’s majority in the Iowa Senate. Although the primary has not yet taken place, campaigns have long been raising funds for the November election.
What a state legislative candidate’s finance report shows can demonstrate enthusiasm about the race, the dedication of the candidate, and can help inform state and national groups about which races they should target. The most recent report, which covered January 1 of this year through May 14, came out earlier this week (you can view them here).
In a number of key districts, Democrats have out-raised their opponents by large amounts, a positive sign for their chances of taking control of the Iowa House.
In Ankeny’s House District 37, Democrat Andrea Phillips has drastically outraised Republican Rep. John Landon, and has a cash on hand advantage of $53,469 to $18,052. Ankeny is one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and has quickly changed from a Republican stronghold to a very competitive area. Heather Matson won the other Ankeny seat in 2018, and has a comfortable fundraising advantage over her opponent with nearly $49,000 in the bank compared to Garrett Gobble’s $1,500.
Another seat that will be competitive is House District 55 in Decorah where Kayla Koether is challenging incumbent Mike Bergan. Bergan defeated Koether in 2018 by a mere nine votes after the GOP-held Legislature turned away to count late-arriving absentee ballots, but Koether has a sizable advantage in fundraising. She has $49,333 in the bank compared to $13,346 for Bergan. This seat is seen as one of Democrats’ best pick-up opportunities, and Koether’s fundraising advantage will certainly help her.
In House District 82 in Fairfield, Phil Miller looks to recapture the seat that he lost to Jeff Shipley in 2018 by just 37 votes. Miller has significantly holds a cash on hand advantage of $21,943 to $3,405.
A race that could be very interesting this fall is House District 76 in Grinnell, currently held by Republican David Maxwell. Although Maxwell won handily in 2018, Democrat Sarah Smith had a strong fundraising report, bringing in $18,804. Maxwell raised $3,888 in the same period. Although this seat has been reliably Republican for several cycles, Smith’s strong fundraising should help her make the race competitive.
On the Senate side, District 20 in the Des Moines suburbs of Johnston, Grimes, and Urbandale, looks to be a strong pick-up opportunity for Democrats. Rhonda Martin has significantly out-raised incumbent Sen. Brad Zaun and holds a cash on hand advantage of $53,408 to $16,877. Democrats now hold both the House districts within Zaun’s seat.
by Adam Henderson
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