Brad Zaun was too nervous and uptight in 2010, by his own admission. Too inexperienced, as well. Although he had won city council, mayoral and state senate races, Zaun was unprepared for the barrage of dirty politics and personal attacks he faced from Democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell.
Brad Zaun came up short in that race. He chalks it up to a learning experience that will benefit him this time.
“I’m not going to let these dirty tactics and political attacks on me…be out there and not respond to them. I’m smarter this time. I go in this with my eyes wide open and I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I’m going to be a lot more relaxed this time,” Zaun told reporters following the official launch of his 2014 congressional campaign.
A supportive crowd of around 100 packed into a warehouse at Auto Jet Muffler Corporation to cheer on Zaun’s entry into the race. Joined by his wife, mother and three of his sons, Zaun got a little emotional as he stepped to the podium. He beamed with pride as his son Greyson delivered a stirring introduction of Iowa’s newest congressional candidate.
“I know he has what it takes to put this country on the right path. He’s honest, he’s hardworking and he has more integrity than any other man I’ve ever met. He is exactly what we need so people like me in my generation don’t have to fix all the problems that our government is making right now,” said Greyson Zaun, a Dowling Catholic student.
With that, Brad Zaun was back in the rat race. He joins a crowded Republican field that also includes Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Robert Cramer, Monte Shaw, David Young and Joe Grandanette. Others are believed to be considering an entrance into the race to replace the retiring Tom Latham.
Crowded candidate fields are nothing new for Zaun. There were seven Republicans running for this same seat four years ago when the senator from Urbandale emerged victorious in the primary, but lost to the Democrat incumbent in a brutal general election campaign.
“It was a great experience,” Zaun told TheIowaRepublican.com, when asked why he wanted to go through this process again. “I finished strong. Yes, I lost. It was a great character builder. It was a great example to my kids that night that you don’t go out as a poor loser and you try to have respect and dignity.”
Fundraising and a lack of national support hampered Zaun’s efforts in 2010. He is confident that will not be the case this time. Zaun is known as a hardworking campaigner. He is also well-known in Polk and Dallas counties, where the majority of votes will come from in the 2014 primary. That name-recognition, as well as a record as a solid conservative in the Iowa Senate will provide Brad Zaun with some advantages in the congressional primary.
“What separates me, I’ve taken votes, I’ve stood up. I don’t think you have to guess who I am and where I’m going to be on issues. I think I’m going to be someone that will look you in the eye and tell them this is the way it is,” Zaun said.
The Urbandale native expressed disdain for Washington, D.C., saying the nation’s capital smells bad and is full of politicians who are more interested in self-interest than serving the people they represent. Zaun vowed to return to Iowa every weekend, if he wins the seat.
“What’s going on in Washington, D.C. is wrong,” he said. “We need someone at times that will stand up to leadership, which I’ve done down at the Capitol. When the Republicans are wrong, I tell them they’re wrong. When the Democrats are wrong, which is about 96% of the time, I tell them they’re wrong.”
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