State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a physician from Ottumwa, has announced her campaign to try for a fourth time to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.
Miller-Meeks, in the midst of her first term representing Senate District 41 in the Iowa Legislature, launched her candidacy Tuesday morning.
“My campaign is about securing your future,” said Miller-Meeks, in a 3 1/2-minute campaign video. “It’s about never quitting on your version of the American dream. It’s about never quitting on the promise that Iowans can achieve so much more than D.C. politicians.”
She began the video by describing her upbringing as the fourth of eight children, raised by parents who believed college was out of reach. But after sustaining severe burns as a teenager, Miller-Meeks said she realized she wanted to become a doctor. She left home at 16, got a job and enrolled in community college before joining the Army. She’s now a retired lieutenant colonel and practicing eye doctor.
“You see, I never gave up on the future I envisioned, and the American dream that told me I could achieve it,” she said. “And as I visit with my patients, serve my Senate constituents and travel the 2nd Congressional District, I see that my story of tenacity and perseverance is not unique.”
Miller-Meeks, who ran unsuccessfully for the congressional seat in 2008, 2010 and 2014, joins former Illinois congressman Bobby Schilling in the Republican primary.
She has been actively planning a bid for a few months. Many candidates choose to launch their campaigns at the start of a new fundraising quarter, which today is, so their first fundraising haul can look particularly impressive.
Schilling represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District until he was defeated in 2012 by Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos, now chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa City will not run for re-election in 2020. Former state senator Rita Hart of Wheatland is the leading Democrat in the race.
Miller-Meeks’ introduction to her campaign was not without partisan jabs. As she described “liberal Democrats” in the ad, images of well-known House freshmen and Speaker Nancy Pelosi flashed across the screen.
“The liberal Democrats don’t want you to have your vision or your dream,” Miller-Meeks said, Saturday night at the Des Moines County Republicans Steak Fry in Burlington. “They want to prevent you from having it.”
“We will never give up,” she said, at the local fundraiser. “We will never quit fighting. We will never quit fighting for you. We will never quit fighting for Iowa and we’ll never quit fighting for your version of the American dream.”
By Elizabeth Meyer