Spending by some prominent national groups didn’t appear to swing some key city elections in Iowa on Tuesday.
Americans for Prosperity — a conservative group that spent more than $33 million trying to defeat Barack Obama in 2012 — targeted incumbents on the Coralville City Council. The group criticized the city’s $280 million worth of debt, suggesting Coralville was on its way to becoming bankrupt like Detroit, but John Lundell, a long-time member of the city council, was easily elected as Coralville’s new mayor with 65 percent of the vote. He got a congratulatory call last night from Vice President Joe Biden.
“Now that he’s aware of Coralville and what we did…he asked me to stay in touch with him,” Lundell says. “And he said if there’s anything the administration can do to help us, just please ask.”
Lundell says Biden praised the Coralville incumbents for “smashing” Americans for Prosperity.
“Next time I’m in Washington, I’ll knock on his door,” Lundell jokes.
Voters in the Iowa City suburb also reelected two other incumbents to the Coralville City Council along with a new member who is not aligned with Americans for Prosperity’s views on the city’s finances.
The National Association of Realtors spent more than $57,000 in support of Chris Diebel, a candidate for the Des Moines City Council. The incumbent in that race beat Diebel by 22 percentage points. In 2012, the realtors’ PAC donated almost $4 million for candidates who ran for federal office, including more than $400,000 worth of “in-kind” contributions to Republican Congressman Tom Latham of Clive.