Brad Zaun makes it official in IA-03

State Senator Brad Zaun announced today that he will run for Congress again in Iowa’s third district. Radio Iowa posted the audio from his press conference. At this writing, I don’t see any news release on Zaun’s Facebook page. I will add that to this post when I get it. The campaign is on twitter here. So far the campaign website has no content, just a sign-up for supporters and volunteers. Zaun’s already been campaigning around the district, attending the Pottawattamie Republican Party debate for U.S. Senate candidates and a “Speak for Life” event in Council Bluffs earlier this month.

Zaun was mayor of the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale before being elected to the Iowa Senate for the first time in 2004. He won the crowded 2010 GOP primary in IA-03 despite being outspent by a candidate with more establishment support. Here’s a link to Zaun’s paid advertising from that primary. After losing the general election to Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell, Zaun co-chaired Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign in Iowa and stuck with her even as her poll numbers declined. During the spring of 2012, he endorsed a couple of candidates who eventually lost competitive GOP primaries in northeast Iowa. After the jump I’ve posted Zaun’s official bio and a statement from the Iowa Democratic Party.

Though stranger things have happened, I doubt Republicans would nominate a candidate this year who couldn’t beat Boswell in the massive GOP landslide of 2010. I think another strike against Zaun is his failure to raise a lot of money for fellow Iowa Senate candidates when he served as the Senate Republican minority whip. How do you not raise big money when you represent Urbandale, which includes some of Iowa’s wealthiest precincts? Zaun gave up his Senate minority leadership position shortly after the 2012 election, when Republicans failed to win a majority in the upper chamber.

Any comments about the IA-03 race are welcome in this thread. Zaun’s current competitors in the Republican primary are Senator Chuck Grassley’s former chief of staff David Young, construction business owner Robert Cramer, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw, and Des Moines teacher Joe Grandanette. My gut says that Governor Terry Branstad’s legal counsel Brenna Findley will stay out of this race, but if she runs, she has a pretty good story to tell conservative activists.

UPDATE: Appearing on Simon Conway’s WHO radio show this afternoon, Zaun said he would vote no to raising the debt ceiling, because “we have to pay our bills.” Which is ironic, because the U.S. can’t service its debt or meet other spending obligations already approved by Congress without further increases in the debt ceiling.

Brad Zaun’s official bio from the Iowa Senate Republicans website:

Brad Zaun was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2004. Before serving in the Iowa Senate, Zaun was the mayor of Urbandale, and owner and operator of Zaun’s Trustworthy Hardware.

Senator Zaun generously gives back to his community by serving on various boards and commissions.  He is currently a board member of the Greater Dallas County Development Alliance, the Greater Des Moines Animal Rescue League, Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association and a member of the Urbandale Breakfast Lions Club to name a few.

Senator Zaun finds time for his running hobby and enjoys all his childrens’ activities.  He and his wife, Dede, live in Urbandale with their five children: Zac, Bailey, Drew, Greyson and Devon.

Employment Highlights: Owner of Zaun’s Trustworthy Hardware (1988-2005)

Civic/Professional Organizations: State of Iowa Child Support Advisory Board, Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates board member, Generation Iowa Commission member, Mid Iowa Small Business Development Center board member

Elected Offices Held: Mayor of Urbandale (1988-2004), Urbandale City Council (1996-1998)

Honors: 1994 nominee for the Iowa/Nebraska Entrepreneur of the Year, 2001, 40 Under 40 Award recipient, inducted into the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2004

Education: Grandview College, Ellsworth Community College

Iowa Democratic Party press release, January 28:

Des Moines – Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan released the following statement on Brad Zaun joining the race for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District:

“Whether it’s his personal comparisons to Steve King or his time as co-chair of Michele Bachmann’s Iowa caucus campaign, Brad Zaun has positioned himself as the Tea Party favorite for the third congressional district.  Zaun claims he doesn’t care about “political correctness,” but with his votes against a bill to crack down on paycheck discrimination and his opposition to women’s choice, it’s clear that Brad Zaun is an advocate for the Tea Party’s style of political extortion and reckless policies.  There is no denying that Zaun is too extreme for Iowa.”

Compared Himself To Rep. Steve King.  In 2010, Zaun said he and Rep. Steve King “feel the same way.” “I’ve talked to a lot of people that are running for Congress, and there’s a lot of good people that have the same ideas and passion that I have,” Zaun said. “I’ve talked to Steve King, and Steve King says there’s a pretty large-handful of people that feel the same way.” [YouTube, Meet and Greet, 5/25/10]

Chaired Presidential Campaign of Tea Party Caucus Chair Michele Bachmann. In 2011, the Iowa Republican reported, “Iowa State Senator Brad Zaun has endorsed Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in the 2012 Iowa presidential caucus, and will be joining her Iowa team as the state co-chairman.” [The Iowa Republican, 6/29/11]

Zaun: I Don’t Care About Political Correctness. In a 2010 Tea Party debate, Zaun said he did not care about political correctness. “This is what’s always been my guiding principle: I don’t care about political correctness,” Zaun said. [YouTube, Tea Party Debate, 5/18/10]

Sponsored Bill Protecting The Rights Of Unborn Children In 2009, Zaun sponsored a bill that gave rights to unborn children. According to the bill, life began at conception; an unborn child had protectable interests in life, health, and well-being; and the biological parent of an unborn child had protectable interests in the life, health and well-being of an unborn child. Additionally, the bill extended to all unborn children all rights, privileges, and immunities available to other citizens and residents of Iowa The bill died in the Senate Human Resources Committee. [SF 233, Senate Journal Page 424, 2/25/09]

  • Debt ceiling / pay bills

    I often wonder if the candidates (repubs nationwide) who make such statements really are clueless about what the debt ceiling is all about or if they do know and are merely throwing red meat to their crazy base voters who really are clueless about it?

    • my hunch is

      that Zaun really doesn’t understand why we need to raise the debt ceiling to pay our bills.

      Some of the politicians who talk like that are cynically playing to their base, though.

  • Wondering

    I wonder who the governor will support, if not officially, then behind the scenes. It won’t be Brad, and it won’t be Schultz. Brad has butted heads with TB many times on many issues. And he appointed Schultz’s opponent, the estimable Michael Mauro, to a job in his administration with fanfare and praise. Schultz gives a good speech, but is unknown in the meat of the District, the Des Moines area.  His voter fraud fraud makes him a one hit wonder.  

    I’ve heard some reasonable GOPers say from an ability standpoint, Young would actually make the best Congressman, but he has no shot. I don’t know anything about Shaw except he’s a party activist. To me, Cramer is the most interesting candidate…Christian conservative, successful businessman, (could do some self funding) a Terry Branstad appointee to the Regents rejected by evil  Senate Democrats…might look good if a convention picks the candidate. It will be an interesting race.

    • Branstad and Schultz dislike each other

      If Brenna Findley runs, she will be the unofficial Branstad candidate (though he won’t endorse). If not, I think he could live with Shaw or Cramer.

      Young knows the most about the inner workings of Congress but has no constituency. I don’t see how he can pull it together.

  • Shaw

    Having read and heard about Shaw, if Branstad were to privately back someone I think Shaw would be a good bet.  He would be conservative, not crazy and still tied to special interests in a seemingly non-controversial way.  

  • Zaun/Nolte 2014

    I wonder how Republican Iowans will feel about voting for famous wild-man Nick Nolte.

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