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October 13th, 2010

Iowa’s First Lady? Miller-Meeks Shows She Has What It Takes in Last Night’s Debate

Iowa is one of only two states that has never elected a woman to the United States House of Representatives.  Iowa also holds the distinction of never electing a female governor or United States Senator.

Every year, the news media focuses on Iowa’s history of never electing a woman to a prominent federal or state office, but their bias towards the Democrats has prevented them from covering the one woman on the ballot this fall who actually has a reasonable shot of winning – Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

Miller-Meeks debated Congressman Dave Loebsack last night at Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Gazette and the KCRG TV 9 organized the debate.  The debate was a rematch of their meeting in 2008.  As was the case then, Miller-Meeks and Loebsack debated the issues and avoided any personal attacks or accusations.

There are two major differences between the 2nd District race in 2008 versus this year. The first is the political environment, which now favors Miller-Meeks.  The second is Dave Loebsack’s voting record, which now includes votes in favor of Obamacare, stimulus spending, cap and trade, and government bailout.

Miller-Meeks used her closing remarks to go after Loebsack on those issues.  Throughout the debate Miller-Meeks seemed more personable, more approachable, and most importantly, more knowledgeable on federal issues than Congressman Loebsack.  After watching the debate, voters in the 2nd District should have no doubt that Miller-Meeks processes the tools and temperament to be an outstanding representative for them in congress.

Miller-Meeks is in the midst of her second attempt to oust Congressman Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s Second Congressional District.  In 2008, she surprised everyone when she won the Republican nomination over her main primary opponent, who was a well-known Cedar Rapids businessman.  However, the historic floods in the summer of 2008 followed by the political tsunami that fall made defeating the first-term incumbent Loebsack basically impossible.

The 2008 race was Miller-Meeks’ first experience with elected politics.  Instead of feeling rejected by the 2008 election results, she learned from the experience, which she talked about in last night’s debate.

Obviously, she took good notes.   The results from the four-way primary this past June show that Miller-Meeks has sharpened her skills.  While her primary opponents took to the airwaves to attack her, Miller-Meeks was confident in her new political team and strategy.  She garnered 50% of the vote in the primary without ever running a single TV ad or resorting to attacking her opponents.

Winning the most Democratic congressional district in the state will not be an easy task, but a poll conducted by the Tarrance Group a month ago showed that Miller-Meeks trailed Loebsack by only one point.  Iowa Republicans are excited about Miller-Meeks’ chances of winning on November 2nd.

When respondents were asked if Loebsack deserves to be re-elected this fall, only 38 percent said yes, while 47 percent wanted to give a new person a chance.  Loebsack also garnered only 41 percent in the poll, an ominous sign for any incumbent.

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District has the largest proportion of Democrats in the state.  In her 2008 race, Miller-Meeks’ hopes were dashed early on election night once the first results came in from Johnson County.  Miller-Meeks lost Johnson County by nearly 25,000 votes.

Without President Obama on the ballot, Loebsack will not be able to build huge margins this time around, which gives Miller-Meeks a better shot at upsetting Loebsack.  Miller-Meeks will also have plenty of help on the ballot, while Loebsack will be left to fend for himself.  Another poll taken last month showed Senator Chuck Grassley and Terry Branstad, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, leading their respective opponents by double digits in the 2nd District.  The trio of Miller-Meeks, Branstad, and Grassley should also appeal to independent voters who make up the largest block of voters in the 2nd District.

If Miller-Meeks ends up breaking through the glass ceiling this fall, Iowans shouldn’t be surprised.  She’s been breaking glass ceilings her entire life.  As a child, she dreamed of becoming a teacher because she loved school and she wanted to share that passion with others.  However, that all changed for her in tenth grade when she and her younger brother were severely burned in a kitchen fire.

Miller-Meeks credits her physical therapist for inspiring her to pursue a career in medicine.  There was just one problem with her dream of becoming a doctor – nobody in her family had gone to college, let alone medical school.

Not only did she reach her goal of being a doctor, but she has earned the distinction of being named one of America’s best doctors.  She has also been a trailblazer for in the medical field.  Miller-Meeks was the first female faculty member in the department of ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, and she was the first female to hold the position of President of the Iowa Medical Society.

Miller-Meeks once again showed last night that she is a rare combination of intelligence and determination. She is a relentless campaigner, and her ability to make lasting relationships on the campaign trail is second to none.  She treats the people of the 2nd District just like she treats her patients.  She listens to their problems and concerns.  She then diagnoses their problems.  Finally, she works to come up with the best treatment.

What sets her apart from most candidates is that it’s obvious that she really cares about the people she wants to represent.  While electing Miller-Meeks to Congress would break the glass ceiling in Iowa, it would also give southeast Iowans a strong, competent voice in our nation’s capital.

Not only can the people in Iowa’s 2nd District make history this November, they can make a difference by sending an intelligent, authentic, and competent voice to Congress by voting for Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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