Surprised by a near loss in 2010, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, is bulking up his campaign treasury for the 2012 campaign.

The congressman from Waterloo said Wednesday he raised $1.1 million last year, a record for a 1st District congressional candidate in a non-election year.

"Thanks to the outpouring of support from Iowans during 2011, Braley for Congress has set yet another non-election year fundraising record," his campaign manager, Molly Scherrman, said in a statement released by the campaign.

The campaign said it raised more than $327,000 in the last three months of the year and had more than $627,000 in the bank.

In 2009, his previous best, Braley raised $665,000 for the year and ended with $538,000 in the bank.

Thus far, only one Republican has announced that he'll run in 2012, Dubuque businessman Rod Blum. Steven Rathje, a Cedar Rapids businessman, had said he intended to seek the GOP nomination, too, but he dropped out last month.

Ben Lange, the Independence lawyer who came close to defeating Braley in the Republican sweep of 2010, has said he's considering a bid.

Candidates have until March 16 to file nomination papers for the primary. Braley has no primary opposition.

The new 1st District boundaries includes the Dubuque, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids areas, but not Scott and Clinton counties, which will now be in the 2nd District. The state redrew the district lines last spring as part of the once-per-decade redistricting process.

Democrats gained voters in both district, but incumbents also are faced with new districts and the prospect of independent groups spending money in selected races.

Where those districts will be isn't clear, but a Des Moines-based group, the American Future Fund, targeted Braley in 2010.

Businesses, labor unions and their affiliates have been given the power to raise unlimited amounts of money by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year. Some of those groups, called Super PACs, were heavily involved Iowa's presidential caucuses.

 

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