The Ottumwa eye doctor who’s been director of the Iowa Department of Public Health for the past three years has resigned and is likely to run for congress.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks ran for congress in 2006 and 2008, losing to Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City in both elections. She’s mulling a rematch in 2014 and is undaunted by past defeat.
“There are worse things than losing an election and it’s important if you feel that you have a skill set or talent that you can continue to serve in many capacities and this may be another capacity in which to serve people,” Miller-Meeks told Radio Iowa today.
Miller-Meeks expects to make the decision soon.
“Campaigning is extremely arduous and a difficult process and you need to determine whether you have support from grassroots volunteers, support from the public — especially from your party — and then support from donors,” Miller-Meeks said.
Candidates face a looming deadline of March 14, 2014 at 5 p.m. They have to collect enough petition signatures by then to get their names on the June Primary ballot. That can’t be accomplished overnight and has to be done as the candidate courts both donors and supporters.
“It’s why I felt it was best to resign so that I can give the attention to running for office because of those considerations,” Miller-Meeks said.
However, Miller-Meeks said she may explore other options, too, like returning to private practice.
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan issued a written statement, saying Miller-Meeks is an advocate of a “dangerous Tea Party agenda that includes support for privatizing Social Security” and Brennan said Miller-Meeks owes Iowans an apology for her false claim that Mountain Dew is the number one food item purchased by people on food stamps.
If Miller-Meeks does run, she’d face a primary as another Republican has already been running in the second congressional district. Mark Lofgren of Muscatine — a current member of the Iowa House of Representatives — announced in late June that he was running for congress.