Excerpt: Iowa Poll: Race to the wire for justice

Sunday, October 31, 2010
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By Kathie Obradovich

The following is an excerpt from the original article on the Des Moines Register (10/30/10):

Congress - Iowans may send a woman to Congress for the first time after all. Mariannette Miller-Meeks appears to have the best chance of any of the GOP challengers to unseat an incumbent Democrat. She's been touting her own polling showing a small lead over Rep. Dave Loebsack, and Republican leaders are talking up this race as the one to watch.

That's a surprise, and a fairly recent development. Most of the national attention and money has been focused on the 3rd District Leonard Boswell-Brad Zaun race, and, in the past month, the 1st District. Independent expenditures against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley may have tightened the 1st District race but don't seem to have swung the tide toward GOP challenger Ben Lange.

The 2nd District has a recent history of unseating incumbents. Many saw Loebsack's 2006 overthrow of moderate Republican Jim Leach as the district coming home to its Democratic roots in a very bad year for the GOP. That the district is willing to consider another GOP candidate - one much more conservative than Leach - speaks to Miller-Meeks' tenacity, hard work and ability to drop nearly a half-million bucks into her own campaign. It also may reflect uneasiness about health-care reform even in the part of Iowa most heavily populated by medical professionals.

The 3rd District contest between Democrat Boswell and Republican Zaun has been competitive as well, but Zaun has been wounded by negative ads hitting his personal life. Boswell was leading by 12 points in a poll published by The Hill newspaper last week. This race will become a poster child for how well negative advertising works.



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