Friday, July 01, 2005

Daddy's money

The perfect announcement for July 1 – Chet I-need-more-than-a-proof-reader Culver's war chest numbers. And the only press report I could find on the announcement was in the Des Moines Register. Odd?

At $652,000 it's hefty. Impressive. But what's really clever is Chet's money source. He's held 30 fundraisers and at least half have been held out of state. Presumably, in Washington D.C. where dear old Dad and wife #2 can help pull in the big dogs on a few old chits. Everyone remembers Chet’s dad. The Senator? Senator John Culver, Harvard educated lawyer out of Cedar Rapids? If you don’t remember him that would indicate you have a healthy relationship with politics.

The Senator has been out of office since 1981 and in the Washington D.C. lobbyist cesspool since then. He’s not really a guy that gets back to Iowa on a regular basis, but, as a government relations specialist for ArentFox law firm, he’s plenty aware of Iowa’s political landscape. Hence the kid: Chet’s got a great pedigree for the Governor’s office.

Chet's bumbled along for years as Iowa's Secretary of State and Dad’s a former Member of The Club, an insider with the inside the beltway crowd. Certainly makes it easy to pack a score of D.C. fundraisers for your kid's got'a-wear-shades future. Chet and Daddy have also managed to put together a bunch of Iowa based old guard Democratic money types to fleece the newbies who may want to venture the Iowa political scene.

And with $652,000 in the bank it’s a killer strategy – guys like Blouin, Fitzgerald, and even Gronstal (despite setting up the new campaign account number) might think twice about jumping in and sticking out a long campaign knowing that one wannabe has an open spigot to the Washington D.C. money crowd.

Of course if some of these guys drop out we’ll still have a primary. Fallon is just nuts, and will go down for a cause. And Patty knows her voters; as of the 2004 general there are 340,241 Democratic female voters and enough of these gals may opt for making history.

But for now, Chet’s got a little edge on this one – money in the bank is hard to beat.

Just for the record, here's the press release the Fallon Campaign sent out in response, which as of yet doesn't appear to be drawing as much notice.

State Rep. Ed Fallon (D-Des Moines) will not change his plans to raise $500,000 before the primary election, despite recent reports that Chet Culver has already raised over $600,000 at 30 events, half of which were held out of state.

“Elections should be about finding the candidates with the best ideas, who raise the best issues and provide the best solutions,” Jan Hansen, Fallon’s campaign coordinator, said. “Iowans are able to see the difference between raising money and raising issues.”

Fallon plans to raise at least $500,000 before the June 2006 primary despite taking no money from special interest groups, political action committees or paid lobbyists. Already, over 500 Iowans have donated to his campaign.

“Ed intends to be a voice for all Iowans as governor,” Hansen said, “but for all Iowans to be represented in government, we need to reduce the influence of big money in politics. Passing a clean elections law similar to those already in place in Arizona and Maine will be his first priority as governor.”

Although financial resources may be smaller than conventional campaigns, the number of individuals involved will be considerably larger. Fallon’s campaign will rely heavily on volunteers, something he views as a strength.

“The only thing that beats organized money is organized people,” Hansen said. “I believe voters will see the benefit of having someone who represents the interests of all Iowans as governor, and band together behind our campaign.”

Ed Fallon is serving his seventh term as a state representative. He was the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for governor.
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