How gubernatorial candidates measure up on fundraising

DES MOINES ? A dozen Iowans hope to become the state?s next governor.

Recently those candidates? fundraising efforts for 2017 were made public by a state campaign finance disclosure deadline. Who fared well on the fundraising trail? Who went beyond Iowa?s borders?

And who are the people donating thousands of dollars to support these candidates?

The answers lie within hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, and they help frame the race that will unfold this year as Iowans prepare to choose their next governor.


Who raised the most?

Able to draw on the contacts and supporters developed during her time in office ? as governor since last summer and as lieutenant governor for the six-plus years prior ? Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds raised the most money in 2017: more than $3.7 million.

Reynolds received a big boost ? $1.25 million ? from the Republican Party?s national organization that works to elect GOP governors.

Fred Hubbell was not far behind; the Des Moines businessman raised just shy of $3.1 million to easily outpace the field of Democratic candidates. The next-highest Democratic fundraiser didn?t raise half of Hubbell?s haul.

Two more candidates, both Democrats, raised seven figures in 2017: Cathy Glasson raised more than $1.3 million and Nate Boulton nearly $1.1 million.


Who spent the most?

Hubbell was far and away the biggest spender in 2017. He spent more than $1.8 million, including more than $255,000 on TV and radio advertising. Hubbell was the first candidate to air TV ads in Iowa; his first went on the air in October.

Reynolds has not yet advertised on TV and thus spent a small portion of what she raised. That indicates she believes she is in a strong position to survive her party primary challenge without using too many resources before the June primary election.

As a result, Reynolds has far and away the most money in her campaign account: more than $4.1 million, which is almost four times what Hubbell has remaining.

And Hubbell still has to work over the next five months to win a hotly contested Democratic primary.

Ron Corbett, the former Cedar Rapids mayor who is challenging Reynolds in the Republican primary, spent at a conservative rate, using up less than a third of what he raised in 2017 and finishing the year with just shy of $579,000 left for the stretch run. Nonetheless, if he is to make the GOP primary race against Reynolds competitive, he must do so with roughly one-seventh of what the governor has in her account.



Candidates love to boast about how much of their fundraising came from the people they hope to represent.

Boulton, Hubbell and Republican candidate Ron Corbett had the highest share of Iowa donors among the candidates that raised at least six figures. Boulton set the mark with 83.7 percent of his donors or donor organizations coming from Iowa; 78.3 percent of Corbett?s donors were Iowans, as were 75.7 percent of Hubbell?s.

Cathy Glasson, on the other hand, received a scant 3.7 percent of her donations from Iowans. The Coralville nurse and labor leader has been endorsed by the Service Employees International Union, whose myriad political groups across the country have donated to her campaign. So the vast majority of donations to her campaign came from outside Iowa.



In addition to their support from labor groups, Glasson and Boulton also had the most grassroots support in the field of candidates, in the form of small donations from individuals.

Glasson received 2,685 donations of less than $20 from individuals, easily the most among all candidates.

Boulton received 1,499 donations of less than $20.

No other candidate had more than 135 such donations.



Boulton and Glasson may have dominated the field in small-donor support, but their campaign accounts also benefited from high-dollar support from labor organizations.

Boulton?s campaign is top-heavy with support from political fundraising committees; 25 of the top 27 donors in 2017 to the attorney and state senator?s campaign were political action committees, or PACs. Most of them are tied to labor groups, and the donations ranged from $5,000 to $30,000.

Glasson?s campaign is even heavier in support from labor-related PACs. The various SEIU groups made to her campaign 43 donations totaling more than $1.3 million.

Hubbell did not rely on political groups, but instead a network of high-dollar individual donors.

Hubbell received more than 600 donations of $1,000 or more from individuals. At the very top, he received a pair of $100,000 donations: from Norwalk?s Art Coppola, CEO of a retail real estate company, and Van Meter?s William Knapp, chairman of a real estate development company.

Hubbell also found another high-dollar donor close to home: himself. Hubbell donated more than $118,000 to his campaign, and another $75,000 donation is credited to his wife Charlotte.

He was not the only self-funder. The top five donations to Democrat Andy McGuire, a physician and former state party leader, came from McGuire. Self-funding accounted for more than a third of McGuire?s fundraising in 2017: roughly $255,000 out of $719,000.

Reynolds received four six-figure donations from Iowans: two totaling $275,000 from the family of Jeff Hansen, owner of the pork producer Iowa Select Farms; and $100,000 each from David North, president of an eastern Iowa claims management company, and his wife, and from the family of deceased paving and construction company CEO Robert Horner.

Corbett also benefited from some big-money donors. He received $100,000 from Dyan Smith, the wife of John Smith, who owns the Cedar Rapids trucking business CRST International. Corbett used to work for CRST.

Corbett also received $50,000 donations from a pair of individuals: Chris DeWolf, CEO of a Cedar Rapids health care drug distributor; and John Bloomhall, the CEO of an animal feed ingredients company who listed his home as Naples, Florida, but also has had a home and office in Marion.

Nearly half of Corbett?s 2017 fundraising came from the 10 biggest donations to his campaign, including a transfer of nearly $42,000 from his former mayoral campaign account.