Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann announced that State Senator Marianette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa, resigned from the State Central Committee in order to consider running for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.

In the letter Kaufmann shared, Miller-Meeks, who is an ophthalmologist and a former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, wrote, “My service in the senate has made me acutely aware of the value someone with health care experience could have in the legislative process. As I have continued meeting with people across Iowa’s second district, I have been encouraged to run again for the second congressional district to bring that knowledge to Washington in the seat being vacated by Representative Loebsack.”

“I had not anticipated a congressional run, given our successful legislative session in the Senate and the respect I have for my colleagues, but I would at least like to explore that possibility,” she wrote.

Miller-Meeks said resigning from the State Central Committee was the most ethical decision for her to make due to conflicts that would arise exploring a congressional run.

She represents Iowa Senate District 41, elected in 2018 after defeating the Democratic nominee, Mary Stewart, by a little more than 800 votes in a hotly contested race for seat made open after former Republican State Sen. Mark Chelgren announced he would not run for a third term.

Miller-Meeks, 63, chairs the Human Resources Committee and vice chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Appropriations, Commerce, and State Government Committees, as well as, the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. 

Miller-Meeks served 24 years in the United States Army as both a nurse and physician. She served as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health from 2011 to 2014 under former Gov. Terry Branstad.

She ran unsuccessfully for Congress three times against outgoing U.S Rep. Dave Loebsack in 2008, 2010, and 2014. In 2008, Miller-Meeks lost by over 56,000 votes and raised over $346,000 in contributions. In 2010, she closed the gap losing to Loebsack by a little more than 11,000 votes. Miller-Meeks raised just shy of $567,000 for that election. In 2014, just under 14,000 separated the two, and she raised almost $904,000.

While some have encouraged her to run, Miller-Meeks will have to overcome what a Republican activist has described to Caffeinated Thoughts’ as “MMM fatigue” since this would be her fourth attempt should she decide to run.

That decision is likely as Caffeinated Thoughts learned that her former staffer, Austin Harris, recently resigned as the Iowa GOP’s political director. He also criticized on Twitter former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, her primary competitor in the primary should she run, because he just moved to the district in 2016.

If she gets in the race the district will have a three-way Republican primary with Schilling and Rick Phillips, a small business owner in Pella, who has also declared. 

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