Iowa Field Report details the gap in substantial contributions between the Iowa Democratic Party and the newly formed Better Democracy PAC.

It’s no secret that Iowa’s 2020 elections are shaping up to be competitive up and down the ballot and across the state. Iowa will be a battleground for the president, national Democrats are eyeing Senator Ernst’s seat, and they will either be making a play or trying to hold Congressional districts.

Another significant battleground will be majority control of the Iowa House of Representatives. This fight will play out across the state in Iowa’s 100 districts, with just a handful of close contests in the Des Moines area and Eastern Iowa expected to determine control of the chamber in 2021. The big question will be whether Iowa Republicans’ strength in rural parts of the state will be enough to hold off potential gains that Democrats could make in the suburbs.

Following the 2018 elections, Republicans saw their 59-seat majority whittled down to a 54-46 advantage in the Iowa House. During the 2019 session, State Representative Andy McKean switched parties and became a Democrat just months after winning his seat as a Republican. This further reduced the Republican majority down to 53 seats. That means Democrats only need to flip four seats in 2020 to take control of the Iowa House.

Shortly after his defeat in the 2018 election, Fred Hubbell formed the Better Democracy PAC with the singular goal of ending the Republican trifecta in Iowa. With Governor Reynolds locked in until at least 2022 and Republicans holding a nearly unbreakable majority in the Iowa Senate, Hubbell is eyeing the Iowa House their best chance to stop Republican control of state government.

We took a look at some of Better Democracy PAC’s top donors for 2019 from Iowa and around the country according to their two filings here & here. The list includes many well known Democratic donors:

  • Fred Hubbell $200,000
  • William Knapp $50,000
  • Michael Gartner $25,000
  • Fred Weitz $25,000
  • Stephen Silberstein $15,000
  • Sonja Roberts $12,500
  • Jack Hatch $12,500
  • Harriet Hubbell $10,000
  • Mike Hubbell $10,000
  • Eddie Mauro $10,000
  • Stephen Lacy $10,000
  • Richard Deming $10,000
  • Cliff Bernstein $10,000
  • Peter Mensch $10,000
  • Dan Hunter $10,000

Using that list as a reference, we looked at the Iowa Democratic party report. These are the amounts that these people gave to the Iowa Democratic Party in 2019 according to this filing:

  • Fred Hubbell: $20,000 ($180k less)
  • William Knapp: $20,000 ($30k less)
  • Michael Gartner: $5,500 ($19.k less)
  • Fred Weitz: $10,500 ($14.5k less)
  • Mike Hubbell: $250 ($9750 less)
  • Eddie Mauro: $1,000 ($9k less)
  • Richard Deming: $2,500 ($7500 less)

Noteworthy is the fact that the Party and the PAC do not place limits on their donations. So, in theory, each donor who gave to the Hubbell PAC could have given the same amount to the State Party. The Party did raise more than 1.2 million in 2019, but the major donor disparity between the PAC and Party remarkable.

Additional fundraising numbers. *=winner

Party Numbers:
*Iowa Democrat Party – $1.24 Million Raised. $557,000 COH
Republican Party of Iowa – $719,000 Raised. $480,000 COH

In the Iowa House:
*Newly elected Speaker Pat Grassley – $502,000 Raised. $503,000 COH
Also- Former Speaker Linda Upmeyer – $146,000 Raised. $172,000 COH
Minority Leader Todd Prichard – $161,000 Raised. $173,000 COH

In the Senate:
*Majority Leader Jack Whitver – $513,000 Raised. $467,000 COH
Minority Leader Janet Peterson – $145,000 Raised. $155,000 COH