In an apparent effort to squash a fly with a sledgehammer, local jeweler Terry Dickens has raised nearly $16,000 in his effort to defeat three unfunded student candidates in Tuesday's primary.
Susan Mims, the other "long-time resident" in the race, has raised $7010, also near the high end for city primary candidates. Students Jared Bazzell, Jeff Shipley and Dan Tallon have not yet filed the reports, due tomorrow. If they raised or spent less than $750, they don't have to.
Iowa City has a $100 donor limit.
Dickens' total is the second-highest sum raised on the pre-primary report by any Iowa City candidate since 2003 (the year that Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure took over local reports from counties). Only consensus contender Matt Hayek, with an incredible $22,709, raised more.
But Hayek had serious competition, from incumbent Dee Vanderhoef, eventual co-winner Michael Wright, strong challenger Terry Smith, and third-time candidate Brandon Ross. Dickens and Mims face the three little-known students.
Here's a look at fundraising by candidates with contested primaries in Iowa City since 2003, along with the final outcome:
Hayek (2007, first place in primary and in November): $22,709
Dickens (2009): $15,915
Amy Correia (2005, second in primary, first in November): $8300
Mims (2009): $7010
Bob Elliott (2003, first in October and November): $6189
Rick Dobyns (2005, first in primary but narrowly defeated in November): $5663
Terry Smith (2007, third place both times for a win in October and a loss in November): $5605
Regenia Bailey (2003, first in primary and general) $4730
Dee Vanderhoef (2003, second in primary and re-elected November) $4525
Michael Wright (2007, second in primary and elected in November): $3905
Mike O'Donnell (2005, third in primary but second and re-elected in November): $3505
Vanderhoef (2007, fourth in primary and incumbent defeated in November): $2905
Garry Klein (2005, fourth in primary and defeated November): $2491
Larry Baker (2005, lost in primary): $1784
Dean Shannon (2003, got through primary and lost November): $1310
Irvin Pfab (2003, incumbent defeated in primary): $1175
Below reporting threshold of $750: Brandon Ross, Steve Soboroff, Kathy Huedepohl, Rachel Hardesty, Holly Berkowitz (2003); Ross (2007). All lost; Ross and Captain Steve made it through the primary in 2003.
What's the pattern? Not left vs. right, as both are represented on the upper end. The top fundraisers have been first-time candidates. And the top fundraisers tend to win.
Still, they all pale next to the $630,000 Mid-American Energy spent in their No on public power campaign in 2005. (The $100 limit and the ban on corporate contributions didn't apply, so that was virtually all straight corporate support; your utility bill dollars at work. Yeah, I'm still bitter about the Public Power death march.)
(Aside: I've been critical in the past, but the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure site has improved the past year or so.)