IOWA CITY – Rand Paul’s swing through Iowa this week serves a dual purpose. On their face, all of his visits seem designed to help Iowa Republicans win this November. Behind the thin veil, the true intention is to provide an early boost to the Kentucky senator’s presidential aspirations in our first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Rand Paul is reaching out to candidates and voters that his famous father never would have. Ron Paul lent his backing to a very select few Iowa candidates. Rand Paul is not nearly as fastidious.
His father never endorsed conservative stalwart Steve King. Although they agree on most issues, the two are diametrically opposed on things like support for Israel. However, there was Rand on Monday in Okoboji, raising funds for and campaigning with the western Iowa congressman.
Senator Paul is also visiting several Republican Victory offices across the state, offering encouragement to volunteers and activists. On Wednesday, he will appear with Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds at the Polk County GOP Victory office.
Paul is attempting to form bonds with political figures and activists that his father never would have bothered with. Whether or not that approach will work remains to be seen. Rand Paul seems okay with alienating some of the hardcore libertarians who backed his father in order to appeal to Republicans across the party spectrum.
Tuesday afternoon, congressional hopeful Mariannette Miller-Meeks benefited from the support of Paul. This is her third congressional bid and the previous two also did not have Ron Paul’s support. However, she does have Rand Paul’s. He is considered one of the early frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
“I’m excited to be in Iowa and I’m excited today to give a formal endorsement to my friend, Dr. Miller-Meeks,” Paul told the crowd of 125 packed into The University Club in Iowa City.
Despite the endorsement, the personalities of Rand Paul and Mariannette Miller-Meeks are greatly divergent. Paul is a laid back southerner. Dressed in blue jeans and cowboy boots, along with a coat and tie, Paul sat back, legs crossed and seemed mildly interested as Miller-Meeks addressed the crowd. His body language demonstrated a measure of aloofness.
Miller-Meeks is quite the opposite. She is often described as “a sparkplug”, due to her fiery, go-getter attitude. That trait is something Senator Paul noticed when he visited with Miller-Meeks during a visit to Iowa in June.
“People who have been in office 30 years sometimes, not always, but sometimes get beat down by the system. They don’t have the energy or the chutzpah to say, ‘Enough is enough. We’ve got to fix it.’ I happened to notice Dr. Miller-Meeks has some energy,” Paul said as the crowd knowingly applauded.
“He’s very down to earth, very common sense,” Miller-Meeks said regarding Senator Paul. “He’s extremely knowledgeable, has a great sense of history, so it’s a lot of fun to talk with him. Because he’s so well-versed and has a great depth of knowledge, he can talk on many issues to many different people.”
Although their approaches to life differ, there are significant common bonds tying Miller-Meeks and Paul together. Both are ophthalmologists, doctors who specialize in eye care.
“As fellow ophthalmologists and as fellow doctors who have a great deal of expertise and knowledge for what needs to be done for healthcare to put power back into patients’ hands, it was very exciting and energizing to have Senator Paul come and also give his endorsement,” Miller-Meeks told TheIowaRepublican.com.
They are also both diametrically opposed to Obamacare. Miller-Meeks rails against the legislation every chance she gets, pointing out her November opponent, Dave Loebsack, was a big backer of the bill that most Americans now oppose. Rand Paul believes we need more people like Mariannette Miller-Meeks in office.
“The system is just spiraling out of control and no one is willing to take the tough stands. I think Dr. Miller-Meeks will, I think others will, but you’ve got to elect people who are not so concerned about their job, where this will be the best job they ever had. You need people aren’t career politicians, frankly,” Paul said.
The endorsement of Rand Paul provides another boost to Miller-Meeks’ campaign, which seems to be gaining momentum. She outraised Dave Loebsack during the most recent filing period. Miller-Meeks lost to Loebsack in 2008 and 2010, but the Second Congressional District is more favorable from a voter registration standpoint this time.
When factoring in those previous defeats, Miller-Meeks looks to inspiration from Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable.
“Gold medals aren’t made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts,” Miller-Meeks recalled Gable saying. “I think if nothing else, I’ve got a lot of guts and we’re just the campaign that’s going to keep going and bringing our message out.”
blog comments powered by Disqus