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June 2nd, 2010

2nd CD Primary Gets Testy Between Rathje and Miller-Meeks

Rathje Calls on Miller-Meeks to Condemn Attacks
Miller-Meeks Having it Both Ways on Third Party Group Mudslinging

Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Steve Rathje, republican candidate for Congress in Iowa’s second district today called on Mariannette Miller-Meeks to condemn the type of third party cowardly attacks that are being used to attack her opponents in the primary election.

“I call on Mariannette Miller-Meeks to stand against the fake third party groups that have lied and distorted my candidacy. I further call on her to condemn the acts of anyone who makes these cowardly anonymous attacks on her behalf,” stated Steve Rathje.

In a 2008 Project VoteSmart survey Miller-Meeks stated that she supported “prohibiting ads containing candidates’ name that are paid for by third parties from airing 60 days before a primary and 30 days before a general federal election”.

Despite that viewpoint, 2008 Miller-Meeks campaign staff member Jeff Patch created bogus third party group YouTube videos attacking Peter Teahen and Dave Loebsack. Patch is currently the Communications Director at the Center for Competitive Politics.

Rathje, “The similarity of these attacks is alarming. If the Miller-Meeks campaign has ties to these videos they should step forward and take responsibility.”

Steve Rathje is the founder of International Procurement Services, Inc. and the Genesis Group in Cedar Rapids. He is married, a father of four and grandfather of eight.

The Rathje campaign is upset with the following video:



Rathje has also attacked Miller-Meeks with the following ad.



MILLER-MEEKS CAMPAIGN TO RATHJE: “SWITCH TO DECAF”

Opponent Obviously Shaken by Miller-Meeks’ Fundraising Success and Newspaper Statement That America Would Be in “Worse Condition” Under Rathje

OTTUMWA, Iowa – Primary opponent Steve Rathje’s complaints about being criticized in a new YouTube video “baseless, hypersensitive and hypocritical,” GOP congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ campaign manager said today.

“Mr. Rathje needs to switch to decaf. Our campaign has nothing to do with any YouTube attacks referenced in his press release. Unlike Mr. Rathje, our campaign hasn’t violated Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment by running attack ads like the one his desperate campaign is currently airing against Dr. Miller-Meeks. If his complaints about negative campaigning are sincere, he ought to take down that ad today,” Tracie Gibler said.

She continued, “Dr. Miller-Meeks is the subject of anonymous, false smears every day, but the difference is she doesn’t have a knee-jerk reaction in which she starts irrationally blaming other candidates the way Mr. Rathje has today in his baseless, hypersensitive and hypocritical complaint. While we are sympathetic to anyone whose record is misrepresented, we recognize this is politics – we brush it off and keep going. The bottom-line: If Mr. Rathje isn’t tough enough to handle criticism and the pressures of a heated political campaign, he has no business running against Dave Loebsack in the general election.

Gibler noted Rathje’s complaints may be simply an attempt to deflect attention from his anemic fundraising efforts or a blistering criticism he received in the Iowa City Press Citizen’s endorsement of Miller-Meeks.

“We raised nearly double the amount of money as Mr. Rathje during the most recent fundraising period and have received the endorsement today of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The newspaper’s conclusion is that Dr. Miller-Meeks is the Republican candidate best ‘able to ride this election cycle’s anti-incumbent wave and give [Democrat Dave] Loebsack a run for his money.’ The same piece stated that if Rathje’s economic plans are enacted, the ‘country probably will be in worse condition.’ Perhaps that’s why Mr. Rathje is resorting to these baseless attacks.”

Jeff Patch also released a statement.

STATEMENT BY JEFF PATCH
June 2, 2010

I’m writing to set the record straight about Steve Rathje’s ill-informed hissy fit regarding content produced by the Coalition for Iowa Values. Rathje’s campaign sent out a hyperventilating press release June 1 complaining about an independent social media campaign that seeks to inform Iowa citizens about candidates seeking political office in Iowa.

First, Rathje falsely claims that I was a 2008 campaign staffer for the Mariannette Miller-Meeks campaign. I’m proud to informally support Dr. Miller-Meeks’ campaign, but I have no official association with her—or any other campaign. I volunteered for the campaign for a few weeks during the last cycle, but my respect for Miller-Meeks does not preclude me from speaking out about Iowa politicians. My late grandfather was a patient of Dr. Miller-Meeks. Perhaps Rathje thinks that’s some sort of grand conspiracy, too.

Second, I want to make clear that I compiled the information for the Coalition’s YouTube project from publicly-available sources. This effort was not coordinated with—nor controlled by—any campaign. This work has been done on my own time, not through any employer. These web videos are meant to serve as an alternative, innovative way to share political information. They’re meant to enable the grassroots over campaign consultants, allowing interaction and participation by activists—not just top-down messaging over broadcast TV or direct mail.

Third, although the Coalition is somewhat tongue-in-cheek—highlighting candidates who claim to support “Iowa values” but then act in a contrary fashion—Rathje has not explained how the video featuring him “lied [about] and distorted [his] candidacy.” I included a clip of a statement Rathje made in public at a candidate forum. They’re his own words, despite the contradiction from his past statements: “I will not accept abortion under any circumstances—unless it is between the mother and God—and the doctor, period.” This is double-talk from Rathje, plain and simple. He obviously wants to divert attention from his phony record. If his campaign is really concerned about cowardly and dishonest attacks, Rathje should focus on his own consultant: Todd Henderson. Henderson, once on Miller-Meeks’ payroll, has leaked internal campaign e-mails to blogs (distorting them wildly out-of-context) and spread demonstrably false information about his opponents. After Henderson’s remarkable display of disloyalty and deceit, it would be surprising for any campaign to hire him.

Fourth, I initially decided to engage in this political speech anonymously because of this very result: A disreputable consultant like Todd Henderson attacking the messenger as well as impugning the integrity of the Miller-Meeks campaign with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Internet communicators from all ends of the political spectrum—like Krusty Konservative of TheIowaRepublican.com and desmoinesdem of BleedingHeartland.com—speak about politics anonymously for similar reasons. Nonetheless, I’ve decided that as the Coalition continues its campaign to inform Iowa citizens about the records of their would-be leaders, I’ll gladly stamp my name on the project. The activists who have aided me in this effort so far will remain nameless unless they choose otherwise. I’ll continue to accept suggestions, background information and other comments at iowavalues [at] gmail.com.

Finally, the work of the Coalition, despite the whining from the Rathje campaign, has been successful, and I’m encouraged to continue on with this project. So far, the videos featuring Rathje and Rob Gettemy have been viewed on YouTube more times than many official campaign ads of the candidates. I plan to highlight other candidates, including Democrats, in future features. Iowans deserve to know whether politicians are sincere when they toss out slogans like supporting “Iowa values,” and I’m not going to let Steve Rathje’s childish complaining silence this effort. If Rathje can’t handle criticism of his campaign by a Republican activist, how is he planning on dealing with Democrats in Congress? You’re not running for student council, Steve. Man up.

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[a project of the COALITION for IOWA VALUES]

The Coalition for Iowa Values is a grassroots network of Iowans who use new media to inform fellow citizens about public figures seeking political power. We’re not controlled by any candidate or committee; we’re independent. We use free social media rather than paid broadcast or print advertising to spread our message.

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