Prayer breakfast organizer challenging incumbent in Iowa’s 1st District (2024)

Prayer breakfast organizer challenging incumbent in Iowa’s 1st District (1)

In the race to represent southeast Iowa in Washington, D.C., two-term U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks faces a challenge for the Republican nomination from the party’s right flank from prayer breakfast organizer David Pautsch of Davenport.

The primary election is Tuesday, June 4.

The winner of the Republican primary in the 1st District — which includes Iowa City, Davenport and most of southeast Iowa — will face Christina Bohannan, an Iowa City Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Miller-Meeks in 2022.

If elected for a third term in the 1st District, Miller-Meeks said she will focus on finishing the fence at the U.S. border with Mexico, slowing illegal border crossings and inflation, and reducing prescription drug prices.

David Pautsch, a Davenport Republican who founded Thy Kingdom Come Ministry and organized the Quad Cities Prayer Breakfast, believes Miller-Meeks isn’t voting conservatively enough, citing her votes to protect same-sex and interracial marriage and to certify the 2020 election.

At least two county Republican Central Committees in the district have voted to census MIller-Meeks’ vote supporting the Respect for Marriage Act, which requires the federal government to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages legally performed in states.

“Republicans, by and large, are concerned about the Constitution, they’re concerned about their Republican platform, they’re concerned about people who have a moral compass and some moral absolute, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks doesn’t seem to have any of these things,” Pautsch said. “… How could you say you’re a Trump supporter on one hand but yet vote to certify the 2020 election?”

Pautsch, in contrast, says he would refuse to vote for omnibus bills to avoid compromises and thinks Congress should decertify the 2020 election and void the actions of President Joe Biden’s administration.

“I'll never vote for an omnibus bill. Never,” Pautsch said. “There's too much garbage. The only reason we have omnibus bills is because Congress never gets their budgets done in time.”

Pautsch claims only 133 million registered voters were among the 158 million ballots cast in 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 168.3 million Americans were registered voters at the time of the election.

Prayer breakfast organizer challenging incumbent in Iowa’s 1st District (2)

Former President Donald Trump has made claims of widespread election fraud, but numerous courts have found no substantiating evidence that would have changed the outcome of the election. Judges, including the U.S. Supreme Court justices, have rejected post-election lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign.

Pautsch, a devout Christian, also said he would work to stop abortions and bolster supports for adoption, mothers and children.

Pautsch's son died in 2009 while in active duty in Iraq, and he says his campaign is centered on honoring his son’s sacrifice and strengthening families.

Miller-Meeks responds

In response, Miller-Meeks points to her support for a bill backed by House Republicans that aimed to increase energy production by expanding oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters and repealing some environmental regulations. That bill has not been taken up by the Senate.

“Energy prices don’t only affect you at the gas pump, they also affect food,” Miller-Meeks said. “… People are paying more at the gas pump, they’re paying more in the grocery store, they’re struggling to make ends meet.”

She said she also wanted to tackle the national debt.

On immigration, Miller-Meeks said she supported a border security and immigration bill in Congress, H.R. 2., that would have imposed stricter requirements on applying for asylum, required employers to verify workers have proper documentation to be living and working in the United States, and built about 900 miles of border wall.

Most recently, Miller-Meeks voted for three foreign aid packages: $60 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones like Gaza, and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region. She also voted for a border security package, but it failed to garner the needed two-thirds majority.

On prescription drugs, Miller-Meeks pointed to her support for a $35 cap on insulin pricing for Medicare and private insurers, and said she would push to address pharmacy benefit managers and prescription drug shortages.

The numbers

In the 2022 elections, no Republicans challenged the three incumbent U.S. representatives running for re-election in Iowa. In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Chuck Grassley faced a challenge from Jim Carlin, who campaigned heavily on his belief that the 2020 election was stolen. Grassley won with 73.3 percent of the primary vote.

Miller-Meeks, who said she is residing in Scott County, has significantly more money than Pautsch, reporting $2.9 million raised from January 2023 to May 15.

Pautsch has raised $35,000.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and state Attorney General Brenna Bird have endorsed Miller-Meeks for re-election.

The 1st District covers 20 counties: Johnson, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, Washington, Keokuk, Henry, Jasper, Marion, Mahaska, Jefferson, Van Buren, Lee, Muscatine, Louisa, Des Moines, Jackson, Clinton, Scott and Warren.


Prayer breakfast organizer challenging incumbent in Iowa’s 1st District (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Emmett Berge

Last Updated:

Views: 6145

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Emmett Berge

Birthday: 1993-06-17

Address: 787 Elvis Divide, Port Brice, OH 24507-6802

Phone: +9779049645255

Job: Senior Healthcare Specialist

Hobby: Cycling, Model building, Kitesurfing, Origami, Lapidary, Dance, Basketball

Introduction: My name is Sen. Emmett Berge, I am a funny, vast, charming, courageous, enthusiastic, jolly, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.