Radio Iowa profiles the major party candidates competing in Iowa’s second congressional district in today’s edition of "Campaign Countdown." Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon, a political science professor at Cornell College, knocked out long-time Republican Congressman Jim Leach in the 2006 election.
In 2008, Loebsack is seeking a second term representing Iowa’s second district. The district covers 14 counties in an east and southeast part of the state. It includes cities like Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, down to Burlington and over to Ottumwa.
Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor from Ottumwa, has called Loebsack "do nothing Dave." "I think we have had a do-nothing congress and I think we’ve seen little in the forefront of the amount of legislation introduced by our congressperson, our representative," Miller-Meeks said this week during a debate on KCRG television, "and certainly we haven’t seen leadership when it’s come to flood relief for this district and we did not see leadership when it came to this recent bailout."
Loebsack responded. "As a freshman, I think I’ve actually accomplished quite a lot," Loebsack said during that TV debate. "I’m very proud of the fact that I helped pass and I fought for the single-largest increase in financial aid since the GI bill. Also, I introduced and got passed a military pain care act. For the first time the Department of Defense is going to implement a comprehensive pain care management program that will apply to our military service members."
The financial aid Loebsack referenced is for college students of all stripes, not just veterans. James Q. Lynch, the chief political reporter for The Cedar Rapids Gazette, says Miller-Meeks faces an uphill battle as the second district has 59,000 more registered Democrats than Republican voters. "Two years ago nobody thought DaveLoebsack was going to beat Jim Leach so it’s not out of the question," Lynch made his comments on Iowa Public Television.