WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Candidates are making a final push for campaign donations Thursday night. Midnight, October 1st marks the end of the Third Quarter, the final full fundraising period of 2010. Much of that money is going towards television advertisements. This week, eight different candidates and two issue campaigns are airing spots on KWWL, and we can expect to see even more as the races heat up.
Hearing so many advertisements can seem overwhelming and even confusing. According to our sales department, it's just the beginning. The big rush of ads will hit the air from October 11th right up until the day of the election. These ads are a crucial way for candidates to grab voter attention, since almost every major race is still up in the air.
One of the big head-to-head combats is between Governor Chet Culver and former Governor Terry Branstad. Almost every day we hear a battle of words from the candidates. Thursday, for example, they're talking about the state budget. Friday you'll see both at the University of Iowa Homecoming parade. Taking a look at the latest poll from the Des Moines Register, and you'll see why both candidates are getting out in public as much as possible.
Culver trails 33% to Branstad, who it appears has more than 50% of Iowa voters on his side. Voters have another chance to hear the two debate October 7th at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.
The likelihood of two other high profile candidates duking it out on live television is slim to none. Senator Charles Grassley and Roxanne Conlin are on board for a radio debate with WHO at the end of October. But the Republican will not meet with Conlin in person despite her attempts to battle it out face-to-face. Political experts are calling the Democrat Grassley's toughest competitor since his initial run for Congress.
Conlin has raised more money than most of Grassley's previous opponents, and her support is picking up. A recent Rasmussen poll shows Conlin with 37% of voter support, Grassley still has the lead with 55%. If she is elected, she'll be the first female congress member Iowa has sent to Washington.
The senate race is only the beginning of potential congressional upheavals in Iowa. Undecided voters could make all the difference in Iowa's First, Second, and Third districts. A conservative non-profit group, American Future Fund, recently posted a poll of Eastern Iowa races.
In House District One, Ben Lange is launching his first television ad this week, hoping some of the swing voters will take notice. Right now, the AFF poll shows Bruce Braley is ahead, grabbing 50% of his districts support. Lange has 39%. But it suggested 10% of people aren't sure who they'll vote for. Braley is questioning the poll's validity -- AFF is airing ads which are critical of the democrat. Voters can watch the two debate at Wartburg College in Waverly on October 10th. You can also catch it on KWWL at 4:00 that afternoon.
Taking a look at the Second District, Democrat Dave Loebsack is defending his seat against Mariannette Miller-Meeks. The poll shows Loebsack leading 47% to Miller-Meeks' 39%. The undecided -- 13% -- could put the Republican candidate over the top. The candidates are set to debate in mid-October.
Finally a look at Iowa's Third District, which makes up the southwest portion of our viewing area. Republican challenger Brad Zaun has come out ahead in earlier polls. This latest one shows incumbent Leonard Boswell leading, 48% to 39%, respectfully. Again, it appears swing voters will make the difference in this race.
A couple other issues you'll see on your ballot. A constitutional amendment creating a trust fund for Iowa's natural resources and outdoor recreation, known as Iowa's Water and Land Legacy. In Black Hawk County, voters will decide whether to continue the Isle Casino's gaming license. A controversial decision in Iowa City -- whether bars and nightclubs should be exclusively 21 and over. Also, voters deciding if three Iowa Supreme Court justices should serve another term.
Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy