Hart Versus Miller-Meeks
One of the key races in Iowa, and perhaps the nation, will be decided in southeastern Iowa. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Democrat Rita Hart are fighting for the open Second District seat in the US House now held by Democrat Dave Loebsack who's retiring after 14 years.
Both Hart and Miller-Meeks have plenty of experience and name recognition. Both have served in the Iowa Senate. Hart, who's from Wheatland in Clinton County, ran and lost for lieutentant governor two years ago, and Miller-Meeks, from Ottumwa, has run and lost for the 2nd District seat three times.
Both agree health care is one of the top issues, if not number one. First Hart.
"Not only the COVID crisis but the conversation around what will health care look like next year. Will we continue to be able to have the coverage that we have right now. There's a lot of uncertainty around that. And I'd say that's the biggest comparison between this campaign and my opponent's campaign is that we have a different approach on that - I would like to give people the confidence that we're going to improve this system rather than tear it apart and start over."
Miller Meeks points to her efforts in the Iowa Senate to improve health care, including bills on pre-natal care, substance abuse, and drug prices.
"I just encountered a lady last week whose price of insulin has gone up to over 600 dollars a month and she's on a fixed income. Ten years ago before the passage of the Affordable Care Act it was 134 dollars and so we know we need to do something about the pharmacy benefit managers and prescription drug costs, and the middlemen, and what that does to the cost of prescription drugs. I know I'm running for Congress because of her."
They both agree voters are very engaged in the fall campaign, possibly because of what's going on nationwide - the presidential campaign and COVID-19.
(Miller-Meeks) "Especially given how well the economy was doing, where we were going, and then we had the impeachment, and then we had the pandemic, and then we had businesses close. And then the protests which was horrible to see the video of the killing of George Floyd and how tragic that is but then the protests which many support but not the riots and the violence and the looting."
(Hart) "And so that's always good when we can have robust conversations around really important issues. And that's the good news of this campaign I think, is I do think people have been more involved maybe than ever."
Anyone with a television has seen numerous commercials by the candidates themselves, plus what seems like a never-ending deluge of negative ads paid for with mostly out-of-state money.
Hart calls it overwhelming.
(Hart) "But we obviously need to address the way we campaign and that there's just too much money in this system. The first bill I'd like to vote on if I get through this election is to get rid of the dark money - the un-accountability - when we don't know where this money comes from, that's just not acceptable."
(Miller-Meeks) "It's a lot of money and you think what other things could these funds be used for and how could they help people, especially for people who have suffered and sacrified through this pandemic and have lost jobs."
This will be one of many races around the country that will help or hurt the Democratic Party's efforts to hang on to its current majority in the US House.