The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson visits IC to support Miller-Meeks campaign

Miller-Meeks’ Democratic opponent outraised Miller-Meeks in the first few months of 2024
Ava Neumaier
House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks at a fundraiser for U.S. Representative Marionette Miller-Meeks on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Around 200 protesters gathered on the bridge outside the Marriott Courtyard where the fundraiser took place to criticize the speakers’ stance on Palestine.

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s visit at Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ campaign reception Sunday comes as she faces a difficult reelection campaign. 

Miller-Meeks said the election ahead is “tough” in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District against Iowa City Democrat Christina Bohannan, a University of Iowa law professor who ran against Miller-Meeks and lost in the 2022 midterms. 

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“It is never easy sailing in this district,” Miller-Meeks said. “This is going to be a tough election, make no mistake about it.” 

The district has been marked as “in play” by U.S. House Democrats’ national campaign arm as it targets her seat in their campaign to flip control of the U.S. House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat control.

Miller-Meeks lags behind her opponent in fundraising, according to an April 15 campaign finance report. In the first few months of 2024, Bohannan has outraised Miller-Meeks, bringing in $500,000 more, according to an April 15 campaign finance report. 

However, Miller-Meeks has a slight cash-on-hand advantage with $1.7 million, compared to Bohannan’s $1.6 million cash on hand, as of the April 15 campaign finance report. 

Johnson announced his endorsement of Miller-Meeks ahead of the Iowa City reception on Sunday in a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter

“There is no better conservative fighter for Iowa’s First Congressional District than Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks,” Johnson wrote in the social media post. “I am proud to endorse and serve beside Mariannette to deliver for the American people and help claw back disastrous policies from the Biden administration.”

Johnson said it is his job to keep Republican incumbents in office to protect “the whole flock, even the dirty ones.” Johnson called Iowa’s Republican delegation to the U.S. House conservatives looking to make laws and “do the job.” 

“They are there to solve problems — to advance our conservative principles,” Johnson said. “They are not seeking attention for themselves. They’re not trying to become famous from being in Congress. They want to defend this republic of ours. It is in jeopardy right now — and you all know it.” 

Johnson on speakership: “I’m deeply humbled by it” 

Johnson currently faces threats of an ouster over his use of Democratic votes to pass important spending bills that hard-right Republicans like U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., oppose. 

Greene introduced a motion to vacate the speakership in late March, a procedural move that forces a speakership election to take place if it gains support from the majority of the chamber. 

During interviews with The Daily Iowan in Washington, D.C., this month, Miller-Meeks and U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, said they would not support the measure. 

Johnson climbed to speakership as a member of the House Freedom Caucus after a member of that caucus, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., moved to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in October 2023. 

After McCarthy was ousted, Republicans went through a host of senior House Republican leadership until Johnson was nominated and unanimously elected by House Republicans to lead the chamber. 

Johnson was vice chair of the House Republican Conference before being nominated, having only served in Congress for seven years upon his election to the speakership. 

“This was not on my bucket list,” Johnson said. “I’m deeply humbled by it. I recognize the consequential times in which we’re living — these are painful moments for the country.” 

Johnson against shutting down the government

The most conservative members of the House Republican conference have used threats of a government shutdown as a bargaining tool with House Republican leadership and President Joe Biden. 

Miller-Meeks asked Johnson to explain why he doesn’t shut down the government to force Biden to act on what both sides say is a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border due to a surge in the number of encounters with border patrol officers. 

Johnson said he didn’t want to shut down the government because of the disruption it would cause, but also because it could result in Democrats utilizing the shutdown to campaign against Republicans jeopardizing their one-vote majority.  

“If we keep the train on the tracks, and we keep going forward and keep trying to advance the ball, as far as we can off the field every day incrementally we are going to grow that Republican majority, win the Senate, and win the White House back,” Johnson said.  

Iowa Democrats condemn Johnson’s visit  

Before the event on Sunday, the Iowa Democratic party rebuffed Miller-Meeks’ event saying Johnson’s appearance was a reward for her support of party leadership. 

“Mariannette Miller-Meeks is being rewarded for rubber stamping her party leadership in Washington,” Iowa Democrats Chairwoman Rita Hart said in a news release Sunday. “In November, voters have the power to elect an independent voice for them instead of a lackey for Washington Republican insiders.”

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Ava Neumaier
Ava Neumaier, Photojournalist
Ava Neumaier is a first-year student at the University of Iowa, majoring in English & Creative Writing. She was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school yearbook in New York, and has interned for a New York Times photographer. She enjoys taking pictures of performances and student life.