State Senator Brad Zaun may not be the Republican establishment's favorite choice to run against Representative Leonard Boswell in Iowa's third Congressional district next year. The first hint was Krusty Konservative's complaint last week that Zaun's trial balloon "isn't very well thought out," because when you're in charge of recruiting Republican candidates for the Iowa Senate, you can't "bail on them and run for Congress."
Now, Krusty can be a loose cannon, but the top story at The Iowa Republican today makes me think heavyweights in the GOP want Zaun to stay where he is. Craig Robinson speculates about GOP recruiting against Boswell, and he isn't sold on Zaun:
First, Zaun is one of the Republican state senators who has been tasked to recruit candidates. In a year when 19 of the 25 seats that are up for election are under Democratic control, this is no easy task. Also, if Zaun runs for Congress, it means one less incumbent raising money and mentoring new candidates, something Republicans in the senate desperately need him to do.
Zaun is also not a prolific fundraiser. While he needed to raise significant funds to win his senate seat, it's not a task that he necessarily enjoyed. While Zaun would bring more donor contacts than the current candidates in the race, it would probably be difficult for him to raise the million plus dollars that it will take to run a competitive race against Congressman Boswell.
While some might think that Iowa Republicans are destined to only recruit token opposition against Boswell, TheIowaRepublican.com has heard rumors that a well known, top-rate recruit will announce before the year ends. TheIowaRepublican.com can also confirm that the recruit is not Senator Zaun.
A top-notch candidate with the ability to raise significant amounts of money would elevate the 3rd District Congressional race to a point where it could be targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee next fall. If that were to occur, not only would Republicans have a chance at picking up the seat, but it could also help in the statewide U.S. Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, as well as local down-ballot contests.
Any idea who this great fundraiser and "top-rate recruit" may be? Former state GOP chairman Mike Mahaffey has been thinking about this race, and he probably could raise a lot of money, but it sounds as if Robinson is talking about a surprise candidate.
Zaun has said he'll decide within the next few weeks whether to run against Boswell. I don't consider him a major threat, while Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 somewhat disagrees. I am skeptical about the NRCC pouring money into this race, because they have plenty of other targets, as well as a handful of tough House seats to defend. Also, even if a Republican beats Boswell in 2010, that wouldn't be a long-term net gain for the GOP, because redistricting will probably pit the IA-03 winner against Representative Tom Latham in the 2012 primary.
Put your own speculation in this thread.