Today the Mariannette Miller-Meeks campaign released a new ad attacking Bobby Schilling. The ad titled “What’s the difference” will air districtwide through the June 2 primary.
Miller-Meeks, a State Senator and optometrist from Ottumwa, is running for the Republican nomination to take on likely Democratic challenger Rita Hart. Miller-Meeks enjoys a number of endorsements from prominent Republicans in Iowa.
“Bobby Schilling pretends to be something he’s not. He was not in President Trump’s corner until it was politically expedient for him to do so. He likes to complain that it’s negative for anyone to use his very own words to show Iowans that he’s just a double-talking Illinois politician trying to resurrect his failed career by crossing the Mississippi River… I’d refer him to two famous Harry Truman quotes, ‘We’re not giving him hell, we’re just telling the truth and he thinks it’s hell’ and, ‘If he can’t stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen,’” said Miller-Meeks campaign manager Austin Harris.
However, the aggressive new ad seems to confirm what many political insiders have been seeing for weeks; With just two weeks before the primary, Miller-Meeks still has not closed the deal with voters.
Craig Robinson, Iowa Political consultant, and Schilling supporter said, “It is shocking to me that two weeks out from the primary day, Mariannette Miller-Meeks is forced to run negative TV ads against Bobby Schilling. Miller-Meeks should have every advantage in this race, from name ID, to fundraising, to all the endorsements her campaign has racked up. Yet it’s obvious that instead of the coronation she expected, she finds herself in battle with a grassroots conservative candidate who has an energized base of supporters.”
Activists and Republican leaders have been surprised by how effective Schilling has been running against Miller-Meeks. Shilling, a former congressman in Illinois, who moved to Iowa in 2017 after building a home in Scott County, has run a low-budget grassroots campaign focused on social conservative issues and, with that, attacking Miller-Meeks as weak on issues conservatives consider critical such as abortion.
Sources close to the campaign say that her operation is in a tough place. They are receiving calls from supporters and party members to lay off Schilling and be more positive, but it seems Schilling’s attacks on Mariannette have been effective and the campaign has been driven to answer them in kind.
“Besides celebrating endorsements, Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ primary campaign has been overtly negative from day one. Her attacks on Bobby Schilling in her TV ad are the same attacks that she has made through the mail and on social media. It’s obvious to me that her previous attempts to paint Bobby as something he is not have fallen on deaf ears.” Continued Robinson.
Robinson felt strongly about this race noting lastly to Iowa Field Report “I was born, raised, educated, and married in Iowa’s 2nd District. When I was born in 1976, Jim Leach had just been elected to Congress for the first time. It is my belief that this is the first time that voters in the 2nd District have an opportunity to nominate an authentic conservative that the base of the Republican Party can be excited about and rally behind. Republicans in the 2nd District want something different than they have had before, and Bobby Schilling is the one offering it.”