Iowa women surpass men in political fundraising

CATEGORIES: July 2019, Voices
Megan Tooker, executive director and legal counsel for the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, answers questions about Iowa's campaign finance laws during Ready to Run Iowa in March 2019 at Iowa State University.
Megan Tooker, executive director and legal counsel for the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, answers questions about Iowa's campaign finance laws during Ready to Run Iowa in March 2019 at Iowa State University.

New research by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics finds women raised more funds than men in 2018’s Iowa legislative races. Of the top 25 fundraisers, 15 were women.

Iowa elected a record number of women to the state legislature in 2018, and the Catt Center’s research shows that strong fundraising helped propel more women into the legislature.

“Our research confirms that women candidates are just as capable of raising the money it takes to run a successful campaign,” said Kelly Winfrey, coordinator of research and outreach at the Catt Center and assistant professor of journalism.

On average, a Democratic woman running for the Iowa House raised about $13,000 more than her male counterpart did, and the average Republican woman raised a whopping $117,000 more than the average male Republican Iowa House candidate did. Women running as challengers in open-seat races faired particularly well.

Three of the top five fundraisers for the Iowa House were women: Republican Linda Upmeyer and Democrats Heather Matson and Kristin Sunde. All three won their races. Similarly, in the Iowa Senate, Republicans Chris Cournoyer and Carrie Koelker and Democrat Amber Gustafson were among the top five biggest fundraisers. Cournoyer and Koelker both won their races, and Gustafson lost to an incumbent by a mere 3%.

The Catt Center’s new reports examine campaign fundraising and expenditures since 2008.

“Women have shown significant improvement in fundraising, particularly in the past two election cycles, and I expect they will have similar success in 2020,” said Winfrey.

Fundraising reports are available for each election cycle since 2008 on the Catt Center’s research page.