Friday, April 18, 2008

2nd District Republican Convention

2nd District GOP Candidates To Highlight Convention

The only contested Republican U.S. House primary in Iowa will take center stage Saturday at the 2nd Congressional District convention in Iowa City.

Lee Harder, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Peter Teahen will face off in the June 3 primary for the right to face first term Democrat Dave Loebsack in November.

Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist, is emphasizing health care in her bid. Teahen, owner of a Cedar Rapids funeral home, has made a name as a Red Cross spokesperson in disaster areas.

Miller-Meeks and Teahen are portraying relatively moderate profiles, in the image of the district’s 30-year representative, Jim Leach, who lost to Loebsack in one of 2006’s biggest surprises. Still, both have their conservative backers. Teahen’s campaign manager is Wes Enos, who managed Mike Huckabee’s winning Iowa caucus effort. Todd Versteegh, who spent the caucus cycle with the Fair Tax organization, is backing Miller-Meeks.

But if moderates split between Miller-Meeks and Teahen, that could leave an opening for Harder, a Hillsboro minister and conservative activist who is emphasizing social issues like abortion and immigration.

The district convention gives Harder, Miller Meeks and Teahen a chance to make their case to party activists, but there won’t be a formal endorsement from delegates. Platform debate and election of party officers will be the main business of the day. While Democrats will start electing their national convention delegates at their congressional district conventions April 26, Republicans don’t choose national delegates until another congressional district meeting on June 13. That event will be in Des Moines, a day before the state convention.

Iowa's other four congressional districts have one Republican candidate each. 4th District Rep. Tom Latham and 5th District Rep. Steve King are seeking re-election. In the 1st District, Davenport state senator David Hartsuch is challenging first term Rep. Bruce Braley. Republican Party activist Kim Schmett will face the winner of the 3rd District's Democratic primary between Rep. Leonard Boswell and challenger Ed Fallon.

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