Why Miller-Meeks will likely move rather than run in IA-03

There are winners and losers in every redistricting plan. The second set of nonpartisan Iowa maps, which the Legislative Services Agency released on October 21, was much kinder to U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson than the first map, which put Hinson in a Democratic-leaning Congressional district.

Fortunes were reversed for U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks. The first plan put her in a district that Donald Trump carried by more than 10 points in 2020. Today’s proposal puts most of the territory she now represents in a district Trump carried by about 2 points. She was certified the winner last year against Rita Hart by six votes in a district Trump carried by 4 points.

Even worse, Miller-Meeks’ home in Ottumwa (Wapello County) is part of the proposed third Congressional district, where Trump outpolled Joe Biden by just 0.4 points.

On Iowa social media feeds today, I’ve seen some speculation about how Miller-Meeks might fare against Democratic Representative Cindy Axne, or about Democrat Christina Bohannan being able to run for Congress in an open seat covering most of southeast Iowa.

I wouldn’t spend a lot of time pondering those scenarios.

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Delayed map didn't hurt Iowa Congressional 3Q fundraising

Candidates running for U.S. House in Iowa raised a surprising amount of money from July through September, given that we have no idea what their districts will look like in 2022.

Follow me after the jump for highlights from the latest quarterly filings to the Federal Election Commission. Notable numbers from Congressional candidates’ fundraising and spending during the first half of 2021 can be found here.

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Outside money returns to IA-03

Bleeding Heartland user Strong Island Hawk reviews some “issue ads” now targeting (or defending) U.S. Representative Cindy Axne.

Welcome to the Age of Dark Money. And that means All Political Ads, All the Time. Iowans know all too well the constant barrage of campaign commercials especially before Election Day or during the primaries. Thanks to long experience with the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Hawkeyes have learned to tune out the relentless stream of political messages, TV, radio and digital ads, phone calls and door knocks, which can start more than a year before the general election. But they’re also used to a respite from the electioneering activity once the election has passed. This year, most Iowans were probably hoping for a break from the noise, especially after a long and bruising 2020 campaign.  

However, the never-ending flow of dark money has made political ads a year-round reality, even in non-election years. And in a hotly contested swing district like Iowa’s third Congressional, voters can scarcely get through an episode of Wheel of Fortune or a morning news broadcast without seeing an attack ad funded by shadowy outside forces. The ads have become almost as ubiquitous as the commercials for sports betting sites. And it’s hard to believe it’s only September of a year ending in “-1” – and not even one before a presidential year. This is before a midterm election. 

One thing is clear: IA-03 is already a major electoral battleground gaining national attention. And the money is pouring in. 

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Iowans in Congress report big 2Q fundraising numbers

Candidates for federal offices are raising more money than ever, and that trend was noticeable in the second-quarter Federal Election Commission filings for Iowa’s four U.S. House incumbents. Most of them reported fundraising numbers that would have attracted national attention just a few cycles ago. Many large donors live outside Iowa, a sign that national committees are driving contributions to candidates perceived to be in competitive districts.

The cash on hand totals may seem daunting for challengers who recently launched their campaigns or are still considering it. On the other hand, war chests are less important than they used to be, given the massive growth in outside spending on battleground U.S. House races. A fundraising advantage for an incumbent in 2021 may not be a major factor by next summer.

With that caveat, let’s review where things stand for the three Republicans and one Democrat who represent Iowa in the lower chamber of Congress.

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