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Mariannette Miller-Meeks is ready to take a third run at Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

The Ottumwa ophthalmologist jumped into the 2nd Congressional District race late, months after Rep. Mark Lofgren of Muscatine. But she has gained a fundraising lead and has been working her way around the 24-county district, much of it already familiar with her because of her two previous bids.

A military veteran and former director of the state Department of Public Health, Miller-Meeks is making the argument that she has the tools to carry the GOP to victory this fall.

“To win an election, you have to have the right time, the right candidate and the right message,” she says.

Miller-Meeks argues that her medical background gives her a unique perspective on health care issues and that predictions she made in 2010 have come true.

“We have a great deal of credibility with what happened with the health care bill,” she says.

Miller-Meeks has argued that people ought to be able to choose their own kind of insurance coverage (the new health care law sets minimum standards for coverage). She also says insurance companies ought to be able to sell policies across state lines.

A poll conducted by Loras College this month had Miller-Meeks leading Lofgren, 35 percent to 12 percent. A third candidate, Matthew Waldren, wasn’t included in the recent poll, but he had 1 percent in a previous one.

Still, it appeared to be an open race; nearly 51 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

On the stump, Miller-Meeks highlights her military career. She joined the Army at 18 and spent 24 years in the active military and reserves, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

On her announcement tour in Bettendorf, she complained about the U.S. response to the 2012 attack in Benghazi.

“I feel it’s a very important issue,” she says.

She also pointed to the recent news reports about 40 veterans dying while awaiting care at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs health care system. “Yet no one is being accountable,” she said.

Miller-Meeks argues the country’s safety net traps the poor. She’s also called for a cut in the corporate income tax and the regulations she says are stunting job growth.

She says she visits with business owners a lot, and “they feel the business climate now is hostile.”

As for spending, Miller-Meeks says that she thinks the entitlements of Medicare and Social Security need to be maintained adequately.

“That’s a contract people had with their government,” she said.

She also notes, however, that President Barack Obama — along with the Simpson-Bowles debt commission — proposed looking at slowing the rate of growth in payments.

“This is something both parties need to bring up and address,” she said.

If she is successful in the June 3 primary, this will be a familiar general election for 2nd District voters, although the first time a Loebsack/Miller-Meeks matchup would include the Quad-City area Scott and Clinton counties.

Replacing the more Democratic Linn County with the more moderate Scott County, Republicans hope this will make the third time the charm if Miller-Meeks is to be their candidate.

In 2008, she lost to Loebsack by more than 56,000 votes out of 319,000 cast.

In 2010, the margin was closer. She she lost to Loebsack by 11,000 votes out of 233,000 cast.

From the Quad-City Times

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