Iowa’s House Races: New Fundraising, Controversies And Endorsements

By Elizabeth Meyer

May 27, 2020

New fundraising numbers, endorsements and interesting tidbits have occurred since Starting Line last provided an update on Iowa’s four congressional races.

During the “pre-primary” six-week fundraising period, Iowa and the rest of the country largely was in shutdown mode due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving candidates reliant on virtual fundraisers and an endless list of potential donors to call.

President Donald Trump weighed in on a couple of races, and Republican candidates in multiple primary contests continue to criticize each other.

Here’s a breakdown of what you may have missed.

Iowa House District 1

Fundraising: Republican state Rep. Ashley Hinson came within $10,000 of Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer during the pre-primary fundraising period between April 1 and May 13. In six weeks, Finkenauer raised $259,014 compared to Hinson’s $249,014, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The congresswoman has a large lead in cash-on-hand. Finkenauer has $2.2 million in the bank compared to Hinson’s $1 million.

Hinson, of Marion, is expected to easily win the June 2 primary where Thomas Hansen of Decorah also is vying to earn the Republican nomination. Hansen raised only $640.

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In Other News: President Trump endorsed Hinson on May 22, along with a slew of other congressional candidates, calling her a “tremendous advocate for the people of Iowa.” Trump did not endorse a Republican candidate in Iowa’s 2nd or 4th district contests.

On Wednesday, Hinson was elevated to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s top tier “Young Guns” program. According to the NRCC, “Young Gun candidates represent the most competitive congressional seats” in 2020 and they have “met a series of rigorous goals and surpassed program benchmarks to establish a clear path to victory.”

Iowa House District 2

Fundraising: Rita Hart, a former state senator, educator and farmer, is the lone Democrat running for outgoing Congressman Dave Loebsack’s Southeast Iowa seat. Hart raised $161,283 and has $997,966 in cash-on-hand.

The Republican primary contest includes five candidates, though only two filed pre-primary FEC reports.

State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the establishment favorite, far out-raised former Illinois congressman and small business owner Bobby Schilling. Miller-Meeks brought in $71,244 and Schilling raised $17,072. Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa physician, has $348,935 in cash-on-hand compared to Schilling’s $7,590.

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In Other News: Today, Schilling wrote a guest piece for far-right website The Daily Caller, condemning Twitter for adding a fact-check feature to President Trump’s false tweet Tuesday about mail-in voting.

Iowa's House Races: New Fundraising, Controversies And Endorsements

“With the power to influence the most important election on planet Earth, Big Tech companies must disclose who their watchmen are. And indeed what their political biases are,” Schilling wrote. “Only then will we know the truth about the motivations behind censoring conservatives and ‘fact-checking’ conservatives.”

Schilling invited his Twitter followers to join him on, a self-described “unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement.” It was created largely as a response to Twitter and other social media companies clamping down on certain forms of discriminatory speech, and Politico noted last year that much of its content was focused on “anti-Islam and anti-feminist sentiment.”

Schilling, who announced May 20 he had cancer and was undergoing surgery, posted a video Monday of himself leaving the hospital.

“Hey Mariannette, we’re comin’ to ya. We’ll see ya,” Schilling says.

Schilling and Miller-Meeks have run a contentious race for as long as they both have been candidates, duking it out on social media to prove who is most conservative and the true Trump diehard.

When Schilling was diagnosed, his son, Terry Schilling, challenged Miller-Meeks’ campaign to take down the negative ad about Bobby Schilling it recently put up on TV. They declined, and with that, the attacks against each other continue.

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Iowa House District 3

Fundraising: Congresswoman Cindy Axne raised $236,652 compared to Republican candidate David Young who raised $121,610. Axne has $2.6 million in the bank compared to Young’s $1 million.

Young, who Axne unseated in 2018, faces Bill Schafer in the primary. Schafer raised $2,730 during the six-week period.

In Other News: Young also was endorsed by President Trump and elevated to the highest rank of the NRCC’s Young Guns programs.

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Iowa House District 4

Fundraising: J.D. Scholten, the lone Democrat running to unseat Congressman Steve King, far out-raised the field with $103,110. Scholten has $684,428 in cash-on-hand.

Of the five Republican candidates, state Sen. Randy Feenstra once again brought in the most money. Feenstra raised $81,550 and has $126,543 in cash-on-hand. King raised $29,624 and has $32,082 in the bank; Bret Richards raised $2,360 and has $63,745 in cash-on-hand; Jeremy Taylor brought in $12,367 and has $24,128 in the bank; and Steve Reeder raised $21,964 (including a $12,114 personal loan), but has a negative balance of $19,843 in cash-on-hand.

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In Other News: During a WHO-TV debate posted online Tuesday, King doubled-down on a claim he has assurances from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that he will advocate for the reinstatement of King to House committees. McCarthy has said he made no such promise.

The candidates also piled on Feenstra when given the opportunity, jabbing him for the support he enjoys from establishment Republicans and accusing him of dodging questions on abortion and term limits.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 5/27/20

Iowa Starting Line is an independently-owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.



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