We looked at the losers last week. Now lets look at the winners.
Brad Zaun – “Nobody will out work me.” Check. “I’ve always been out spent and won anyway.” Check. I guess its time to stop doubting Brad Zaun. Zaun’s primary victory was impressive. There is no way around it. Zaun has a cult like following in Polk County and he is going to need to work his magic once again if he wants to beat Leonard Boswell next year.
Zaun received more votes than the two guys running for governor did in Polk County. Lets not forget that Branstad even had an early voting program. That alone illustrates the strength of what he was able to do last Tuesday. If Zaun can help the Republican ticket perform in Polk County like he was able to do in the primary, he will be a very valuable part of the ticket.
Matt Schultz – I don’t know how many people I talked to who wanted Schultz to win but were nervous because his opponent, George Eichhorn was better known and had a long list of endorsements. Well, Matt Schultz spanked Eichhorn. Heck, Chris Sanger, an unknown almost beat Eichhorn too.
Anyway, Schultz’ victory was impressive. The credit for his win should be given to nobody but the candidate himself. Schultz is impressive on the stump, but his ability to make the office matter to voters is why he was successful last Tuesday. Schultz along with Brenna Findley, are part of the next generation of Iowa Republicans. I couldn’t be more excited.
Terry Branstad – I know a lot of people are making a point to say that 50% of Republicans voted against him in the primary, but I think such talking points are naive. Branstad probably would have fared better in the primary had he actually run a primary campaign. Instead, the Branstad campaign ran a general election campaign.
Branstad ran the same type of campaign that he always has, focus on pocket book issues and let the other candidates talk about divisive social issues. That strategy helped him win 11 elections now. While I might not always agree with it, I do think that he has proven himself to be the master campaigner in this state.
Miller-Meeks – I was worried about Miller-Meeks. The field of candidates running against her were the much stronger than the one she faced in 2008. The new and improved field proved to be no match for her, and she dispensed them rather easily, getting over 50% of the vote.
Like Zaun, Miller-Meeks probably will help the Republican ticket perform better in areas of the state where they have struggled in the past. Her victory last Tuesday could help some southeast Iowa legislative candidates in their races this November as well. Miller-Meeks proved that she was a much better primary candidate, with a better political environment she’s bound to be a better candidate in the general
Erik Helland – Helland got busted for drinking and driving. Actually, Helland got busted for impersonating Kerry Burt. If you are wondering why Helland is on the winner’s list its because his moment of stupidity occurred at the height of the primary, meaning this story got swept under the rug.
Helland is a winner because he’s not facing the heat that Rep. Burt faced when he banged up his Lexus. Timing is everything in politics, but that doesn’t mean that Helland shouldn’t be punished. Helland should be stripped of his leadership position. Leaders don’t do this crap.
Leonard Boswell – Don’t get me wrong, Leonard Boswell is in trouble this fall. I also know that if any Democrat was celebrating the Republican primary results last Tuesday night it was Boswell. In Zaun, Boswell will face a tenacious campaigner, but also someone that couldn’t raise much money and has a 20-year record to pick apart.
There is no doubt that Zaun will try to make this campaign about the bailouts, Obamacare, and all of that, but Boswell is going to make this race to make this about agriculture and rural issues. Mark my words.
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