Update on the Loebsack/Miller-Meeks race

I haven't written much about the race in Iowa's second Congressional district, not because I have anything against Dave Loebsack. I simply don't consider this race competitive.

IA-02 has a partisan voting index of D+7, meaning that the presidential vote in the last two elections in the district was seven points more Democratic than the national average. That was before Democrats made massive gains in voter registration in Iowa. In 2004 registered Republicans slightly outnumbered Democrats in this state. Now there are about 100,000 more registered Democrats.

Furthermore, Barack Obama is going to win handily in this district and in its population centers (Johnson County and Linn County). John McCain has reportedly shut down his field office in Iowa City.

As if that weren't enough, Loebsack's main opponent, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, faced a tough three-way Republican primary that depleted her cash on hand. As of June 30, she had $16,458 in her campaign account, while Loebsack had nearly $470,000 on hand. (The latest round of Federal Election Commission financial reports cover the period through September 30 and are not yet publicly available.)

What has Loebsack been doing with all that campaign cash? I saw on his website that he is running this television commercial:

It's a fairly standard positive message about what he stands for, without much detail about what he has accomplished. Bleeding Heartland readers in the second district, are you seeing this ad a lot? Have you seen other Loebsack spots on tv? Is he up on the radio? Does he have lots of yard signs out?

Note: Although Loebsack didn't get help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, I'd like to see him donate at least 10 percent of his cash on hand to the DCCC this fall so that they can get behind more strong challengers.

On the Miller-Meeks campaign website there are several videos on the front page. Two look like positive television spots about the Republican candidate's background, and one sounds like a 60-second radio ad slamming Loebsack for "not getting the job done." I'd appreciate comments or private e-mails from second district residents about how visible the Miller-Meeks campaign is in the media.

The great blog about campaigns and elections, Swing State Project, does a weekly roundup of independent expenditures in Congressional races. I noticed in the latest edition that OPHTHPAC, the Political Action Committee of the American Academcy of Ophthalmology, is spending $12,500 on behalf of Miller-Meeks. Has anyone seen or heard these ads, or any other ads by independent groups supporting Miller-Meeks?

Looking at the page on OPHTHPAC at campaignmoney.com, this PAC seems to donate to a large number of incumbents in both parties. I assume they are supporting Miller-Meeks because she is an eye doctor, but I am curious about whether they are promoting her or making a case against Loebsack (and if so what case they are making). They've given to dozens of Democratic incumbents this election cycle.

This is an open thread for any comments or observations about the race in IA-02.

  • My view

    I've been following this race very closely.

    Things really went into a tailspin for Miller-Meeks when Former Congressman Leach came out for Obama.

    Her beginning website had a lot about how she worked with Leach and was a huge supporter and how she is in effect "Leach 2.0".

    Since the defection she has had Steve King in her district trying to shore up Republican support, but that is not doing so well either. Most on the right REALLY dont like her, she has even made it to the IDA Hall of Shame.


    My prediction is...

    Loebsack by 9%

    Braley by 12%

    Boswell by 7%

    Latham by 4%

    and Hubler by .002%  

    • uprated for ratings abuse

      Nothing in this comment merited a "zero" rating from linncountyliberal.

    • Miller-Meeks Never Worked with Leach

      I don't know what website secondtonone looked at, but this was never the case. She was never a huge supporter of Leach. I not sure what basis there is on how most Republicans don't like her.

      Many party insiders from what I know love her. Grassley and his wife are in love with her.

      secondtonone's comments are baseless.  

      • no doubt party insiders love her

        Unfortunately for her, she's running in a Democratic district in a big Democratic year. She needs to appeal to more than the Republican base.

        I don't think she's a bad person, I just think she has no chance to beat Loebsack.

      • also, secondtonone was talking about those on the right

        wing of the GOP, not necessarily party insiders.

        I went to that Iowa Defense blog link, and here is their explanation for putting Miller-Meeks on their "wall of shame":

        The reason that Dr. Miller-Meeks is on the WoS is because she seems to be lying when she says that she is a Republican. And yet Dr. Miller-Meeks does not support the Republican Party Platform. A Democrat in Republican clothing.

        There seem to be some hard feelings from the tough primary battle.

      • I hope you have seen my new journal entry

        It listed my "bases".

        I know you are new here, but I just wanted to tell you that we have ways of dealing with Republicans posing as Democratic trolls. They are called "facts" you might want to look them up sometime

        • Hmmmmm

          Last time I checked, talking to someone in person is much more qualifying as a fact over a blog.

          As for being a Democratic troll, I thought Democrats actually discussed ideas rather than talk about how much more of a passive country we can become.  

          • Fact over a blog?

            Those are quotes FROM Miller-Meeks.

            Someone talking to her in person, and things I am sure she is very proud of.

            Miller-Meeks has refused to throw her friend, Jim Leach, under the bus and that has garnered my respect. That and her stance on many progressive causes including energy independance.

            You took the wrong approach in trying to sell your candidate to readers of this blog, instead of attacking and underrating my comment, you could have just stated her wonderfully independant record.

            As for being a passive country, I wouldnt know anything about that. I am a registered voter, a democratic activist and a veteran of the war in Iraq.

    • IDA Wall of Shame

      I am a member of the IDA. I must inject a little information here for the purposes of discussion. We would have included anyone from that race on the Wall of Shame. There was no candidate that we could have supported in that race. They all left us wanting. What do you do when it is a trio of unsatisfactory candidates?

      • I have been there

        I have had that experience of not being crazy about any of the candidates in a Democratic primary before. My approach when that happens is to vote for the least bad candidate (from my perspective). Other people stay home or write in the name of someone they could strongly support.

        • I understand where you are coming from

          I understand that completely. I have had to make just such a choice before. That is not a task that I relish. I only wish that we had candidates that I could truly support at the national level. Unfortunately that is few and far between this year.  

  • Economic crisis shows need for third party candidates

    Living in the second district I have not seen much in the way of radio or TV advertising for either candidate. What I think is important at this point though is to remind voters that the brokenness that is Washington is likely to continue with very little change regardless if Loebsack or Miller-Meeks wins. Both are likely to vote with their party leadership the vast majority of the time and partisanship is not likely to subside as a result of either's election. What has been lost in the media to date is that there is an independent, third party candidate, Brian White running as well. Brian represents something this country needs more of... independent and thoughtful concern for the American people and the people of Iowa. What current events are showing us is that the current partisanship and two party system has led us into ideological divisions and gridlock that leads to more spending, more national debt, and no solutions. I encourage everyone to consider voting independent this year and check out Brian White at his website, www.brianwhite2008.com

    • in our first-past-the-post electoral system

      I see little benefit to voting for a third-party candidate. I think it makes more sense for thoughtful, independent-minded people to run in primaries.

      Off the top of my head I can only think of one time I ever voted for a third-party candidate (Brian Depew, the Green Party candidate for Secretary of Agriculture in 2002). I have to be deeply, deeply dissatisfied with the major-party candidates to do that.

  • Miller-Meeks

    As a Linn County liberal, I looked at Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks' record and spoke to her on a number of occasions and she really made me think twice about my vote for Dave Loebsack. She made me think more than just twice, I am now supporting her this November. Her message of real leadership along with a component understanding of the issues told me that she would represent our district much better than what Dave Loebsack has done. Nothing against Dave, but he isn't a Congressman. He is a party activist. Dr. Miller-Meeks understands the issues, especially health care. She is more of a common sense moderate Republican than many think.

    Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks has made some great friends with U of I liberal democrats. This is going to be a sleeper race, so watch out.

    In regards to the money. what people don't know is that she has raised an incredible amount of money in the third quarter. Most of it came from donors NOT PAC's in which Dave Loebsack's campaign is heavily  loaded with.

    I encourage everyone to contact helpheal@millermeeksforcongress.com or go to millermeeksforcongress.com. This is a chance to elect a great citizen and not a party activist.

    • linncountyliberal, you are new here

      so perhaps you do not understand the rating system.

      Your "zero" rating of secondtonone's comment above is inappropriate. There is nothing "trollish" in his comment. If you disagree, you can simply post a reply disagreeing. A zero rating should be used only for comments that go way over the line.

      I explained some guidelines for rating comments here:



      "4" is for excellent. That means the comment has valuable insight, original information or analysis, and makes a strong contribution to dialogue at Bleeding Heartland.

      "3" is for good. You might use this if you largely agree with someone's comment, but not with every point he or she makes.

      "2" is for marginal. You might use this if you strongly disagree with the content of someone's comment. Also, a 2 rating could be a "shot across the bow" to warn someone that the line of argument in the comment didn't do much to advance dialogue here, or comes close to crossing a line.

      "1" is for unproductive. If you not only strongly disagree with a comment, but feel that it detracts from the atmosphere here (for instance, because it is disrespectful or contains ad hominem attacks), you might give it a 1.

      "0" is for troll. If more than one user gives a comment a zero, it will be hidden so that some Bleeding Heartland readers cannot see it.

      Never use a zero rating to express disagreement with the argument someone is making. That is ratings abuse, and if you do it repeatedly, Bleeding Heartland administrators will either take away your ability to rate comments or potentially ban you from posting here.

      A zero rating should be reserved for extreme circumstances, when the comment deserves to be hidden. For instance, if someone is impersonating someone else by choosing a different real person's name as a screen name (for instance, if I signed up as "Leonard Boswell" and posted ridiculous comments pretending to come from him).

      Comments that use racist or otherwise bigoted language also would merit a zero.

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      Slanderous, ad hominem attacks could get a zero rating too, but be careful not to accuse other posters of slander just because you disagree with their point of view or interpretation of events.

    • thanks for removing the zero rating

      We can disagree with each other without troll ratings.

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