MURPHY: Democrats get a candidate in competitive 2nd District | Columnists

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Now that we have our first official Democratic candidate, we can start to analyze what the 2022 race in eastern Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District may look like.

Christina Bohannan, an Iowa City attorney and state legislator, announced this week she will run for Congress in the 2nd District, which also includes Davenport and spreads as far west as Newton. (Although some of that could change when Iowa’s political maps are redrawn in the coming month.)

Bohannan is the first Democrat to announce. The incumbent is Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a physician and former state legislator who in 2020 won an open-seat race after three previously unsuccessful tries to defeat Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack.

Miller-Meeks won that 2020 race by a whopping six votes. For those who missed the drama (not sure how you could), there was contention over roughly 20 ballots that were not counted for myriad reasons. Democrats challenged the results in the U.S. House, but eventually dropped the protest.

Clearly the 2nd District was competitive in 2020. And with Miller-Meeks just a one-term congresswoman, perhaps not yet blessed with the incumbency protection that Iowa’s federal elected officials often enjoy, there is every reason to expect the 2nd will be competitive again in 2022.

The challenge for both Miller-Meeks and Bohannan will be to prove that they can legislate somewhat independently of their respective political parties. If there are any congressional districts remaining in the country where independent, bipartisan work is still valued by a significant share of the electorate, it’s Iowa’s 2nd. (The neighboring 1st District is right there, too.)

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