Miller-Meeks downplays being GOP favorite in Iowa Primary for Congress​

4 The Record

We revisit the upcoming Iowa Primary this morning.​

That election is June 2.​

Democrats and Republicans have a lot at stake in different races.

For Republicans in this area, that’s the race to replace outgoing Congressman Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s 2nd District.

Democrat Rita Hart is running unopposed and will be her party’s nominee.​

Five Republicans are vying for the chance to run against her in November: Tim Borchardt, Steven Everly, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Rick Phillips and Bobby Schilling.​

This is where the candidates stand financially at the end of the first quarter, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Borchardt hasn’t reported anything, Everly has a few thousand dollars, Miller-Meeks is the biggest player with almost $400,000 in her war chest — and basically every major endorsement within the state Republican party — Rick Phillips has a little more than $50​ and former Illinois Congressman Bobby Schilling trying to go back to D.C. for Iowa has some financial strength at about $45,000.

Everly’s and Phillips’ financial data is what they reported at the end of 2019.​

This morning we will get to know Miller-Meeks a little better.

She was born in northern California, but raised mostly in Texas.

She’s the daughter of an Air Force master sergeant so the family moved around a lot.

Miller-Meeks got her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Texas Christian University.

She enlisted in the Army and became an Army nurse, got her master’s in education from the University of Southern California.​

Miller-Meeks then went to medical school at the University of Texas, where she became a doctor.​

Her specialty is ophthalmology.​

Miller-Meeks spent her residency at the University of Iowa.​

She taught at the University of Michigan’s medical school, then came back to teach at the University of Iowa.

She became the first woman to be on the faculty in the ophthalmology department at Iowa.​

Miller-Meeks once served as Iowa’s Director of Public Health from 2011 to 2014.

This isn’t her first go at politics.​

She ran for Congress three times before against Dave Loebsack and lost every time, in 2008, 2010 and 2014.​

She won a seat in the Iowa State Senate two years ago when fellow Republican Mark Chelgren did not seek re-election.​

Miller-Meeks’ first term is now on hold during the pandemic.​

She’s focused on a fourth try for Congress.

I spoke with her at length on Thursday by Skype.​

We started with her political challenges.​

In the Republican primary, she has the most money and all of the significant party endorsements.​

MIller-Meeks discussed what it’s like to be the favorite in the race and why she wants to jump ship from the State Senate while only in her first term.

Arguably her biggest challenge in the primary comes from Bobby Schilling.​

He’s second among the Republicans when it comes to money.​

Schilling actually has experience in Congress when he represented Illinois.​

Miller-Meeks addressed how she makes the argument that her experience is better than his and how she will reach voters during the pandemic.

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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