DES MOINES, Iowa – Terry Schilling, son of former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, a Republican candidate in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, said his father’s surgery on Thursday afternoon was successful.
Schilling’s campaign announced on Wednesday that he was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was a successful surgery. We are remaining optimistic. We are going to be finding out a lot over the next few weeks, about what is going on, and about the treatment,” Schilling said.
“He is the bravest guy I know, the toughest guy I know, and there is no one who has overcome more adversity that you’ll meet than my dad,” he added. “While this is the biggest challenge of his life so far, he has the strength and the support to fight through it.”
Schilling said his dad will focus on his family and recovery over the next couple weeks, and that he was planning to come out and campaign in his stead. Terry Schilling is the executive director of American Principles Project, a conservative group that advocates for family values in Washington, D.C., and he ran his father’s first congressional campaign.
“We are going to be continuing to get our message out there. We are going to continue to fight,” he said.
Schilling noted he has taken the reins of his father’s campaign and has halted all negative ads targeting his main primary challenger, State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Schilling commended Miller-Meeks for the voicemail she left for his father and her offer of prayer. He also challenged her to pull down negative ads targeting his father while he is in this recovery period.
“As his son, and someone who lives him so much, it is really tough seeing negative campaign ads that are dishonest and attacking my dad while he is in such a weakened state. He can’t even answer back, he’s recovering, and there’s campaign ads on television right now attacking him and maligning him,” he said.
Schilling said he’s giving Miller-Meeks the benefit of the doubt regarding the ad since her campaign just made the ad buy shortly before the cancer diagnosis was announced.
“I am going to challenge her to pull down the negative campaign ads. We are pulling down all of our negative campaign ads,” he stated.
Schilling encouraged Miller-Meeks to run all of the ads she wants but to stick to her story, to stay positive, and to tell Iowans why they should vote for her.
“I think it would send a clear message to voters in the district if Mariannette Miller-Meeks and her campaign were to pull down her negative campaign ads,” he added.
The Miller-Meeks campaign responded to Schilling’s challenge.
“We are very sorry for Mr. Schilling’s circumstances and wish him a speedy recovery. His campaign has been badly underfunded throughout the primary and, frankly, I am unaware that it has either the plans or the ability to air any television ads during the primary, let alone the capacity to challenge Rita Hart in the general election. Mr. Schilling himself said Wednesday that he remains an active candidate. As such, we will continue with our strategy as planned,” Eric Woolson, spokesperson for the Miller-Meeks campaign, said in a released statement.
Watch the entire update below: