116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
JOHNSTON — U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks called it “an extremely difficult decision” to run in Iowa’s new 1st Congressional District in 2022 and to also move from Ottumwa into the new district.
“You want to represent your hometown, and my hometown … was put into District 3,” Miller-Meeks said during Friday’s taping of this weekend’s episode of “Iowa Press” at Iowa PBS studios.
“But 80 percent of the district I currently represent, and which I know very well, having been both in residency at the University of Iowa, on faculty at the University of Iowa, and then I had a private practice in Burlington … so it is a district that I know very well.”
While state law allows for Iowans to represent a district in Congress without living in that district, Miller-Meeks said she plans to look for a place to live in the new 1st District.
She said she would not being selling her house in Ottumwa. The new 1st District covers southeast Iowa. The new 20-county district includes Johnson, Cedar, Washington and Scott counties.
The new congressional districts -- drawn after the 2020 census -- put Ottumwa in the 3rd District, now represented by U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat who is seeking re-election.
So, Miller-Meeks said, she had to decide whether to run in an almost entirely new district against an incumbent or move to the new 1st District, where there is no incumbent.
Miller-Meeks was elected to Congress in 2020, winning by a mere six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast.
The victory came on her fourth try. She was the Republican nominee for Congress in Eastern Iowa’s 2nd District three times, where she lost her bids to unseat Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack of Iowa City, who once had to move, too, because of redistricting.
Kyle Kuehl, a Bettendorf business owner, also announced his candidacy as a Republican in the new 1st District.
The only Democrat in the race to date is Christina Bohannan, an attorney, law professor and state lawmaker from Iowa City.
The race should draw national attention, as the district is fairly balanced politically, according to state voter registration figures. And the U.S. House majority is very much up for grabs in the 2022 election.
“I in no way think that this is going to be an easy re-elect. It is going to be very challenging, as challenging as the election in 2020,” Miller-Meeks said. “I will work very hard. I am known to be a very strong campaigner, I am known to be out and visiting and with people, and I will continue to do that.”
Miller-Meeks said during her time in Congress, she is proud of her work on legal immigration and efforts to lower prescription drug prices.
She was the only Iowa Republican to vote in favor of the special committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol but joined most Republicans in voting against the federal infrastructure bill.
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What: U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks on “Iowa Press”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday on Iowa PBS; 8:30 a.m. Saturday on Iowa PBS World