WASHINGTON — Fresh off her win in Iowa’s primary election last month, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst outraised her Democratic rival in the latest campaign finance period.
But U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, still holds a substantial financial edge heading toward the November general election.
The Iowa race is considered to be a competitive one that could affect the partisan battle for control of the Senate.
“Anyone would say Iowa’s going to be a top battleground state,” said Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The latest campaign finance numbers suggest that both Ernst and Braley will have the resources to fight hard in a race that already is close, according to recent polls.
Braley, who represents northeastern Iowa, had more than $2.7 million in cash on hand as of June 30. Ernst, a state senator from Red Oak, wound up with $1.1 million in cash, despite spending $1.4 million to defeat four GOP rivals in the June primary.
During the latest reporting period, which covered May 15 to June 30, Ernst collected nearly $1.4 million — slightly more than the $1.3 million Braley brought in.
“Once she won the primary and Republicans came home, that race tightened up nicely,” Collins said.
At a Wednesday briefing in Washington, D.C., Collins and other national GOP staff members said they were optimistic about their prospects in Iowa because of President Barack Obama’s relatively low job approval ratings and their increased use of cutting-edge data tools, among other factors.
Braley’s campaign touted his overall fundraising success, which it said includes nearly 10,000 Iowa donors.
“Iowans are standing behind Bruce Braley with their support because he will work to protect Social Security and Medicare, raise the minimum wage, protect women’s rights to make their own health care decisions, and fight for working families,” said Braley spokesman Jeff Giertz.
In other races:
» In southwest Iowa’s 3rd District, Democrat Staci Appel ended June with about $726,000 in cash for her congressional bid. That put her well ahead of Republican David Young, who had less than $88,000. She also outraised him during the period, $320,000 to $123,000.
Appel, a former state senator, had no primary competition. Young, a former aide to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley ran in a six-candidate GOP primary that did not produce a clear winner. He won the nomination June 21 at a special party convention.
» In northwest Iowa’s 4th District, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, had about $443,000 cash in his bid for a seventh term. He brought in about $325,000 since mid-May.
Democrat Jim Mowrer’s latest report was not available.