WATERLOO | Texas continues to have an outsized role in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.
All of the candidates vying for the open seat have taken in dollars from out of state, but Republican candidate Mark Jacobs has continued to see significant funds flowing from the Lone Star State.
Jacobs, a former Houston-based energy executive who grew up in Des Moines, took in nearly half of his dollars raised during the first quarter of 2014 from Texas donors, according to Federal Election Commission documents. He received more than $140,000 from Texas donors, nearly 98 percent of which gave $500 or more.
Jacobs’ campaign team has highlighted his fundraising totals as showing an ability to compete with his would-be general election competition, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.
“In order to win in November, Republicans must be able to compete financially with Bruce Braley and Harry Reid’s win-at-all-costs special interest groups. We are doing exactly that: positioning the campaign to win on both June 3 and Nov. 4,” said Jacobs’ spokeswoman, Alissa Ohl.
In total, Jacobs received $282,929 from individuals and political action committees. More than 35 percent of the donations came from Iowans.
Ohl also noted, “Democrat Bruce Braley has already offered Iowa’s Senate seat up for sale to the trial lawyers.”
The comment refers in part to Braley’s recent controversial comments he made — while in Texas — during a fundraiser with trial lawyers, where he suggested that Sen. Chuck Grassley should not lead the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Grassley has served for more than 25 years, because he is a farmer rather than an attorney.
Braley also received more than $1 million from attorneys and law firms. The industry has been his top donor during the 2013-14 cycle so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Fellow Republican Senate candidate Matt Whitaker has also gotten some attention from Texans, notably with an endorsement from Gov. Rick Perry, who also hosted a fundraiser for the candidate.
Still, more than 50 percent of Whitaker’s first quarter donations came from Iowa. Whitaker, an attorney, received about 23 percent of his donations from Texans.
During the final quarter of last year, more than half of Jacobs’ donations of $500 or greater came from Texans. They supplied nearly double the amount he received from Iowans spending $500 or more.
Despite the large sums of money from individual donors, in this and previous quarters, Jacobs’ largest campaign contributor remains himself. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Jacobs received 28 percent of his dollars from large contributions but 69 percent through self-financing.