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Miller-Meeks to seek 2nd District seat again

BY MARLEEN LINARES | DECEMBER 01, 2009 7:20 AM

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Mariannette Miller-Meeks announced her plan on Monday to try to run in 2010 against Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

The Ottumwa, Iowa, native made several stops throughout the 15-county district — which includes Johnson County — on Monday to announce she is seeking the Republican nomination for the seat.

She focused on issues concerning the economy, the environment, and health care.

Miller-Meeks ran against Loebsack in 2008, but he defeated her, 57 percent to 39 percent.

Though she lost in 2008, some think her chances are better this time around.

Miller-Meeks may be able to beat Loebsack in 2010 for a number of reasons, said Cary Covington, a UI associate political-science professor. A Democrat has held the seat since 2006, when Loebsack beat out longtime Rep. James Leach, a moderate Republican.

“[Miller-Meeks] was fighting for name recognition in 2008,” Covington said. “She now has her previous campaign experience and strategic factors to build on.”

The presidential election could have affected her loss in 2008, said Tim Hagle, also a UI associate political-science professor.

“2008 was a very Democratic year,” he said. “There was a lot of excitement over Obama and a lot of distaste for President Bush.”

The 54-year-old ophthalmologist had no previous political experience before she ran in 2008, but meeting her representative influenced her decision to run, she said.

“I met our representative and did not feel we would be represented the way I thought Iowans deserve,” she said. “The problems we have at hand call for more than partisan politics.”

Loebsack’s aides were unavailable for comment on Monday.

If elected, Miller-Meeks would be the first woman to be elected to Congress from Iowa, a fact she said would be a major step for the state.

“I want to remind people of how important it is for women and minorities to be represented,” she said.

Since the 2008 election, Miller-Meeks has made some changes to increase her chances of winning the seat, such as resigning from her ophthalmology practice and moving into the Iowa City Corridor Area, she said.

The University of Texas graduate said she hopes to gain some name recognition and give citizens a chance to assess her capabilities while living in the area.

Referring to her 2008 loss, she said it served as preparation for the 2010 race. Before making her initial announcement on Sunday night, her attitudes were confirmed by a fortune cookie that read “Failure is a dress rehearsal for success.”

“I decided I’m going to keep it and bring it with me whenever I’m out campaigning,” she said.


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