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Mariannette Miller-Meeks

New Iowa caucus links and discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:03:26 AM CDT

More than a half-dozen potential presidential candidates have visited Iowa since Bleeding Heartland's last news roundup on the field. Any comments about the 2016 Iowa caucus campaign are welcome in this thread. Lots of links are after the jump.

Lest anyone think that ordinary people are unable to influence public discourse, consider this: Rand Paul's latest Iowa visit will likely be remembered for how he ran away from the DREAMers who confronted Representative Steve King.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 576 words in story)

Iowa State Fair tips and speaking schedule for state and federal candidates

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 09:47:06 AM CDT

The Iowa State Fair opened a few minutes ago and runs through August 17. I'm a big fan of the event, and after the jump, I've posted some of my favorite tips for enjoying the fair, along with the schedule for candidate appearances at the Des Moines Register's "soapbox" on the Grand Concourse. The Register will live-stream speeches by candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor, as well as a few nationally known politicians from out of state.

The fair has almost endless free entertainment, but bring cash with you anyway, because the State Fair board had to backtrack on plans to eliminate cash purchases for food. Instead, vendors have been encouraged to accept credit and debit cards. I suspect most will stick with a cash-only system.  

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Lots of links on potential 2016 Iowa caucus candidates

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 14:16:13 PM CDT

It's been a while since Bleeding Heartland dedicated a thread to the potential 2016 presidential candidates. Please share any comments related to the next Iowa caucus campaign in this thread. Lots of links on various Democratic and Republican contenders are after the jump.
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Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup, with a few surprises

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 13:24:37 PM CDT

With all four U.S. House districts in Iowa targeted by one or both parties this year, and competitive primaries happening in three of the four races, I was eager to see where the nominees stood at the end of the second quarter.

Highlights from the Federal Election Commission filings are after the jump. After lackluster fundraising the last three quarters, six-term Representative Steve King finally managed to out-raise his Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer, but to my surprise, Mowrer retained a big advantage over King in cash on hand as of June 30.  

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All four Iowa Congressional districts to be targeted races in 2014

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 15:12:59 PM CDT

All four Iowa Congressional districts are being targeted by at least one of the major-party committees focused on U.S. House races. This week the National Republican Congressional Committee moved three Iowa candidates to the top tier of its "Young Guns" program: Rod Blum (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and David Young (IA-03). The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee moved IA-03 nominee Staci Appel to the top tier of the "Red to Blue" program in March and elevated Pat Murphy (IA-01) and Jim Mowrer (IA-04) to that status shortly after the June 3 primary.

So far the DCCC does not appear concerned about four-term Representative Dave Loebsack's race against Miller-Meeks, whom he defeated by a large margin in 2008 and a narrow margin in 2010. In contrast to the last election cycle, Loebsack has not been added to this year's "Frontline" program for vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Likewise, the NRCC has not put six-term incumbent Steve King in its "Patriot" program for vulnerable Republican House members, despite the fact that Mowrer has out-raised King for the last three fundraising quarters.

Not every candidate named to the "Young Guns" or "Red to Blue" program will receive the same level of financial assistance. I expect the DCCC and NRCC to spend more money in IA-03, generally considered the only "tossup" race in Iowa, than in the other three districts combined.

Any comments about this year's Iowa Congressional races are welcome in this thread. After the jump I've posted the latest voter registration totals for all four districts. Those numbers explain in part why various forecasters have categorized the seats in IA-01 and IA-02 as leaning or likely Democratic, while Republicans are favored to hold IA-04.

Next week, federal candidates must file financial reports for the second quarter. I'll be particularly interested to see how much Murphy, Young, and Miller-Meeks were able to raise between the June 3 primary and the end of the quarter. Although Young had to spend heavily and loan his own campaign $250,000 to get through the GOP primary, I expect his connections to Senator Chuck Grassley's network and multitudes of career lobbyists and Congressional staffers will allow him to keep pace with Appel, who has raised a lot of money and didn't have to spend much in her uncontested Democratic primary. I'm skeptical that Blum will be able to match Murphy in IA-01, even though Murphy wasn't the strongest fundraiser in the Democratic field there. I also wonder whether we'll see signs of King taking Mowrer's challenge more seriously than he has up to now.  

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IA-01, IA-02: NRCC makes Blum, Miller-Meeks "contenders"

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

The National Republican Congressional Committee has elevated the GOP nominees in Iowa's first and second Congressional districts to the second level of their "Young Guns" program supporting challengers. Rod Blum will face former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy in the open IA-01. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will face four-term Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack for the third time in IA-02. As official NRCC "contenders," Blum and Miller-Meeks now have a chance to move up to the top level ("young guns") if they meet certain targets for fundraising and campaign organization.

Only some of the "young guns" will receive major financial assistance from the NRCC. So far, the group has reserved tv time for independent expenditures in seventeen Democratic-held U.S. House districts, none in Iowa. During the last election cycle, the NRCC paid for a small amount of advertising against Loebsack and against Representative Bruce Braley in IA-01 but never made a big commitment to either race.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

What caused the big drop in Iowa Republican primary turnout?

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 13:39:01 PM CDT

Earlier this year, I would have predicted high Republican turnout for Iowa's June 3 primary elections. The five-way race for the U.S. Senate nomination was highly competitive, as was the six-way contest in the open third Congressional district. Multiple candidates contested GOP primaries in the first and second Congressional districts too. The 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses, which involved going out for an hour or more on a cold night in January, attracted a record turnout of roughly 122,000 people.

Yet according to unofficial results, just 158,031 Iowans cast ballots in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, and 156,275 cast ballots in the governor's race, where Terry Branstad had a token challenger.

The 2010 midterm election saw much higher Republican turnout, with some 227,404 people voting for one of the three GOP gubernatorial candidates. There weren't any high-profile statewide Republican primary contests in 2006, but in the 2002 midterm year, 199,234 Iowans cast ballots in the three-way GOP primary for governor, and 197,096 Iowans cast ballots in the two-way GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

In IA-03, five of the six Republican candidates raised enough money to run district-wide campaigns before this year's primary. Yet only 42,948 Iowans voted in a Congressional district with 160,660 active Republican voters as of June 2014. The seven-way 2010 GOP primary in IA-03 attracted more than 46,000 votes in a district that included only one-fifth of the state's population at the time and 118,850 active Republican voters. (Iowa lost one of its Congressional districts after the 2010 census).

A similar story took shape in IA-02, where about 30,500 people cast ballots in this year's GOP primary, compared to nearly 40,000 who voted in the 2010 primary, at a time when the district covered one-fifth of the state's population rather than one-fourth.

In this thread, please share your thoughts on why Republicans didn't show up to vote in larger numbers this year. Julie Stauch, a veteran of many Democratic campaigns, speculated that the low turnout "is the cumulative result of every extreme and outrageous statement over the last four years. The current Republicans in Iowa are only talking to those who agree with them 100 percent, which creates a rapidly shrinking base as every outrageous statement drives away a few more people. We can see the effect of this from the loss of 40 percent of the 2010 participants. That's a serious decline over any range of time, but very bad over four years."

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Iowa primary election results thread

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 20:20:00 PM CDT

Polls close at 9 pm, and I'll be updating this post regularly with primary election results. Rumor has it that turnout was relatively low, even on the Republican side where there are hard-fought primaries for U.S. Senate and the third Congressional district. According to the Polk County Auditor's office, as of this afternoon only 1,506 absentee ballots had been requested and 1,350 absentee ballots received for today's GOP primary. Keep in mind that roughly half of all Republican voters in IA-03 live in Polk County, and six campaigns were competing for their votes. Not to mention that five U.S. Senate candidates should have been locking in early votes in Iowa's largest county.

By comparison, 2,883 Democratic primary absentee ballots were requested in Polk County, and 2,296 of those returned by today. The lion's share were from Iowa Senate district 17 in Des Moines, where three candidates are seeking to replace Jack Hatch (2,475 absentee ballots requested and 1,950 returned). Democratic campaigns have long pushed early voting more than Republicans, but still--that's a shocking failure to GOTV by the various Republican campaigns.

Share any comments about any Iowa campaigns in this thread, as well as any interesting anecdotes from voting today.

UPDATE: Polls are now closed and updates will continue after the jump.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1982 words in story)

Enter Bleeding Heartland's 2014 Iowa primary election prediction contest

by: desmoinesdem

Sat May 31, 2014 at 16:10:00 PM CDT

I forgot to put up this year's primary election prediction contest earlier this week, but better late than never. To enter, post your answers to the twelve questions after the jump as a comment in this thread sometime before 7 am central time on Tuesday, June 3. It's fine to change your mind about some or all of your answers, as long as you post a comment with your new predictions before the deadline.  

Only comments posted in this thread will be valid contest entries. Predictions submitted by e-mail or twitter will not be considered. Please try to answer every question, even if it's just a wild guess. We're all guessing anyway, since few polls have been published about these races.

The winner receives no cash or other prizes--just bragging rights in the Bleeding Heartland community. Can someone stop ModerateIADem from "three-peating"? He won both the 2010 and the 2012 primary election prediction contests.  

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Thoughts on the primary polls in IA-01, IA-02, and IA-03

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 10:30:22 AM CDT

Loras College in Dubuque released its first-ever set of polls on Iowa Congressional primaries this week. Click here for the polling memo and here (pdf) for further details, including the full questionnaires.

After the jump I've posted my thoughts on what these polls tell us about the front-runners (or lack thereof) in each primary. Unfortunately, a big methodological flaw makes it more difficult to interpret the results.

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IA-02: First-quarter fundraising news roundup

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 10:25:00 AM CDT

Three candidates qualified for the Republican primary ballot in Iowa's second Congressional district, but the latest fundraising reports suggest that Mariannette Miller-Meeks will get a third chance at beating Representative Dave Loebsack.

Follow me after the jump for details on the first-quarter reports each candidate in IA-02 filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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IA-02: Mariannette Miller-Meeks is in for the third time

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 13:55:00 PM CST

Catching up on news from last week, Mariannette Miller-Meeks filed a formal statement of candidacy in Iowa's second district with the Federal Election Commission (hat tip to Greg Hauenstein). An ophthalmologist based in Ottumwa, Miller-Meeks was the Republican nominee against Representative Dave Loebsack in both 2008 and 2010. She served as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health from early 2011 until resigning last month.

I have not seen any formal campaign announcement yet from Miller-Meeks, but she has been attending central committee meetings and other Republican events around the 24 counties in IA-02 for some time. During the past month, she has met with GOP central committee members in Johnson County, Marion County, and Mahaska County. She attended an off-year caucus in the Quad Cities (Scott County). Last week Miller-Meeks tweeted a photo of her campaign co-chairs in Muscatine County--the home base for State Representative Mark Lofgren, who announced his campaign in IA-02 last summer. Lofgren has a lot of support in the GOP establishment but has not raised much money for his Congressional bid.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Door wide open for Miller-Meeks in IA-02

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 09:10:39 AM CST

Can someone please explain Mark Lofgren to me? If you're going to the trouble of getting in a Congressional race early and lining up a bunch of endorsements (presumably to deter would-be rivals in your own party), why wouldn't you work hard on fundraising? Lofgren's year-end financial report was even weaker than his third-quarter Federal Election Commission filing, which is saying something.

Lofgren isn't giving four-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack a thing to worry about, and he's leaving the door wide open for Mariannette Miller-Meeks to come in and take the Republican primary to represent IA-02. Follow me after the jump for details from the FEC reports.  

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Miller-Meeks resigns from the Iowa Department of Public Health

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 09:35:00 AM CST

Governor Terry Branstad's office announced today that the governor accepted Mariannette Miller-Meeks' resignation as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. I've posted the press release after the jump. It does not explain why Miller-Meeks stepped down after nearly three years running the state agency.

Yesterday Miller-Meeks told the Des Moines Register that her false comment about Mountain Dew being the top purchase for Iowa food stamp recipients was "not political at all."

"What I was trying to - perhaps not deftly - argue or state was: Should we have nutritional education for SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], like we do for WIC [aid for Women, Infants and Children], and some prohibition for certain items?"

I would guess that her resignation is related to plans to run for Congress in Iowa's second district, not any gaffe about food stamps. Heck, in the Republican Party what Miller-Meeks said probably isn't even a gaffe.  

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Where did Miller-Meeks get her "fact" about food stamps and Mountain Dew?

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 11:08:31 AM CST

In an excellent two-part series on food stamps and the need for food assistance in Iowa, Mike Wiser caught Iowa Department of Public Health Director Mariannette Miller-Meeks in an embarrassing lie:

"The No. 1 food item bought with food stamps in Iowa is Mountain Dew," said Miller-Meeks, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health [in a speech to the World Food Prize Hunger Week symposium in October].

Several in the audience of a few hundred -- an international crowd of academics, journalists and nonprofit types -- shook their heads or smiled with bemusement. Phones came out, tweets were sent.

But what Miller-Meeks said wasn't true.

At least not in any verifiable way. The Iowa Department of Human Services -- the state agency that oversees the food stamp program, correctly called Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, in Iowa -- doesn't track food purchases down to the brand of soft drink. Asked where she came up with the statistic, Miller-Meeks later said through a spokesperson she "found it online" but couldn't remember where.

Bleeding Heartland has long argued against cutting food assistance for many reasons. The SNAP program addresses real need efficiently and is rarely abused. In addition, government spending on food assistance has tremendous "bang for the buck" compared to most other policies designed to stimulate the economy. I recommend reading the full text of Wiser's latest reports on the rhetoric and reality of the food stamp debate and on reasons private aid agencies are struggling to help all the hungry Iowans.

Today I want to speculate on how a fake "fact" about food stamp purchases landed on Miller-Meeks' radar.

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Seeking information on a push-poll in IA-02

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 08:05:00 AM CST

I've heard several accounts of a push-poll going around Iowa's second Congressional district since shortly before Thanksgiving. The call apparently asks about four-term incumbent Dave Loebsack, his declared Republican opponent Mark Lofgren, and his 2008 and 2010 opponent Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who appears likely to run for Congress again. Some Republican-aligned entity clearly paid for the calls, because the script alleges that millions of people have lost their health care (a reference to many health insurance plans being cancelled for not meeting new federal requirements). The script also suggests that Loebsack lied about the health care reform law he voted for in 2010.

I encourage Bleeding Heartland readers to stay on the line and take notes whenever you receive a push-poll or a legitimate survey testing messages for or against any candidate. If you received a call like this recently in IA-02, any details you can remember would be helpful, such as the question wording, question order, or who paid for the call (should be mentioned at the end). You can either post information in this thread or contact me confidentially: desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com.

One person thought the call came from "Victory Polling." The Davenport-based political consulting firm Victory Enterprises has a polling division and has been doing work for Lofgren's campaign. It's also possible that the National Republican Congressional Committee or some conservative group that gets involved in House races would pay for calls hitting Loebsack on health care reform.  

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Crowded Republican primary coming in Iowa House district 91

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 09:52:00 AM CDT

Kevin Hall reported for The Iowa Republican blog yesterday that a fourth candidate is planning to seek the GOP nomination in the open Iowa House district 91. Republican State Representative Mark Lofgren is vacating the seat to run for Congress against four-term Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack. It's a swing district where President Barack Obama outpolled Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, even as Lofgren was re-elected.

Hall provided some background on Gary Carlson:

Carlson is an executive with HNI, the parent company of HON Furniture in Muscatine. HNI is a global company, with 10,000 employees. Prior to being a vice-president at HNI, Carlson was the president and CEO of the Muscatine Chamber of Commerce. He also served as the vice-president at the Bandag Corporation, where he managed Bandag operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from 1974-1997.

I wonder whether all three other declared GOP candidates in House district 91 (Emily Lofgren, Mark LeRette, and Mark Cisneros) will follow through before the filing deadline next March. So far only one Democratic candidate has announced in the district, John Dabeet.

Speaking of Mark Lofgren, I find it pathetic that ten days into the federal government shutdown, he's said nothing about the situation on his Congressional campaign website, twitter feed, or Facebook page. Most of the Iowans running for Congress have given some idea of whether they favor a "clean" continuing spending resolution to fund the federal government, or whether they would insist on conditions such as defunding/delaying the 2010 health care reform law. Lofgren is doing lit drops and attending Republican fundraisers, but he has nothing to say to a wider audience about the most important job of Congress: passing a budget. If Mariannette Miller-Meeks takes another shot at IA-02 (and I think she will), I hope she destroys Lofgren in the primary. She crushed three GOP rivals in 2010 before losing the general election to Loebsack.

UPDATE: Bleeding Heartland user Columcille points out in the comments that Emily Lofgren dropped out of the House district 91 race on October 11. She says she will focus on getting her father elected to Congress. Lofgren ran her father's 2010 Iowa House campaign against a Democratic incumbent.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

More Iowa Congressional voting and reaction to the government shutdown

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 12:19:06 PM CDT

It's time for a new post on how Iowa's representatives in the U.S. House and Senate are handling the ongoing shutdown of non-essential federal government operations. (Click here for details on Congressional votes and Iowa political reaction up to October 1.)

Thousands of Iowans who work for the federal government or serve in the National Guard still have no idea when they'll receive their next paycheck. The best news I've heard all week is that an estimated 66,000 Iowa women and children who receive benefits through the WIC program will get their checks for October, at least.  

Although there has been no progress toward an agreement on a continuing spending resolution, I've noticed one big change in Iowa Congressional voting during the last few days. Whereas Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) were sticking with most of their fellow Democrats in earlier votes on federal spending, this week both Braley and Loebsack have joined House Republican attempts to fund the federal government in bits and pieces. Follow me after the jump for more details.

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Iowa Congressional voting and comments on the government shutdown

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 10:38:19 AM CDT

The 2014 fiscal year began at midnight. Congress is ringing in the occasion with the first partial federal government shutdown since the mid-1990s. The U.S. House and Senate have been unable to agree on a continuing spending resolution, because most House Republicans insist on defunding or delaying the 2010 health care reform law as a condition of funding most government operations.

Details on Iowa Congressional votes on budget resolutions are after the jump, along with comments from all the Iowans in Congress and many of the candidates for U.S. House or Senate.

Authorization for most federal agricultural programs also expired at midnight, and it's not clear when Congress will be able to agree on a short-term extension or a new five-year farm bill. Toward the end of this post I've enclosed some comments on the failure to pass a farm bill.

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IA-02: Three signs Mariannette Miller-Meeks will go for it

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 07:35:00 AM CDT

A few months ago, Iowa Department of Public Health Director Mariannette Miller-Meeks confirmed that she is considering a third Congressional campaign against Representative Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02). I am becoming more and more convinced that she will enter the Republican primary, where she would face State Representative Mark Lofgren.
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 741 words in story)
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