Republican Brad Zaun said in a State Fair Soapbox speech Thursday that he offers voters a chance for new leadership in Congress that will make the best decisions for the people of Iowa rather than any political party.
THE RACE: Zaun, 48, a Republican state senator and former Urbandale mayor, is challenging U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, 76, a seven-term Democrat. The race in the 12-county 3rd Congressional District, which includes Polk County, has been rated as a tossup by some political analysts.
KEY MESSAGE: Zaun said he's tired of being described as someone who represents "the party of no." If Republicans or Democrats are wrong, he'll do what's right, he promised. He spoke about his personal background, emphasizing hard work as a former hardware store owner and personal responsibility, even when he and his business fell upon hard times after big-box chain stores arrived to compete with him.
CROWD: About 75 people, although the number varied during his speech.
ISSUES: Zaun complains that Boswell votes "99 percent of the time" with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "a liberal Democrat," and that the incumbent isn't providing the best representation for 3rd District voters. If Iowans are looking for a congressman who will bring home pork-barrel spending, don't vote for Zaun, he said. He's critical of the health care reform bill passed by Congress earlier this year. He said he doesn't favor privatizing Social Security, but he doesn't like the idea of paying benefits to wealthy people such as billionaire investor Warren Buffet.
RESPONSE: Boswell said he doesn't know what percentage of the time he votes with Pelosi, but he added that he does what is best for Iowans. He defended bringing home money for projects in Iowa, such as new roads and bridges.
QUOTE: "This election is not about me," Zaun said. "It is about you and your future."