State Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) knows he is a targeted man by Iowa Democrats. Zaun is up for re-election in 2020.
“It’s the No. 1 targeted seat in the state,” he said. “I’m certainly proud of the accomplishments I’ve made, but when you’ve passed legislation to ban Planned Parenthood, the Heartbeat Bill and the list goes on and on of the controversial bills that started with me, you’re going to have a target put on you. But I’m going to work my tail end off.”
Senate District 20:
Democrats are working hard in the suburbs of Des Moines to make inroads. Both House seats in Zaun’s District are held by Democrats. There’s no doubt Democrats would love to unseat Zaun and gain control of the Senate seat being vacated by Senate President Charles Schneider.
Zaun, though, has unquestionably high name ID in the District. He has run for Congress in the Third District as well. But more than that, he simply does the work required of a good state senator.
“I think I do my constituency work, which is really important,” he said. “I do this year-round. There’s not one person I won’t meet with, even if we don’t agree. Certainly, I’m a little anal in regards to all of the constituency work I do — every phone call gets returned and always has, handwritten notes, anybody who sends a letter or an email — I do all of it myself. You go to as many public events in the district that I represent. I feel good. There’s no doubt that my name ID will be a lot higher than my opponent, but I take nothing for granted. No one is going to outwork me.”
Zaun said winning the race will require a lot of door-knocking and an ability to raise money.
“It is unfortunate that it costs a lot of money in these campaigns,” he said. “I’ve been told the range is around $1 million to try and take me out. So, I can’t do it myself. I need to rely on a lot of other people. But, my plans are to be back down here next year and the following three years. I’m really excited.”
There are still those who tell Zaun they wish he was representing them in Washington D.C. as a member of Congress. But that’s all water under the bridge for Zaun.
“The night of the Heartbeat Bill, which started with me, when I pushed that yes button, I had tears running down from my eyes and I just looked up above and said now I understand this is where I need to be,” Zaun said. “When we were trying to make a decision if I should run or not, I sat down with my wife and talked about it, prayed about it and the question was do you make a difference? Do you still contribute? And, I think I do as chairman of Judiciary. We’ve passed a lot of good laws that have been signed by the Governor that started in the Judiciary committee. I don’t want to take all of the credit, though, because the people I surround myself with on Judiciary and all the Senate Republicans.”
There’s value in having folks in the legislature who have been there a while, Zaun said. Those legislators can draw on previous experiences and have knowledge of things that did or didn’t work in the past.
He’s ready to do more.
“The list just goes on and on and on with what the Senate Republicans have done,” Zaun said. “In regards to the Judiciary Committee, I’m very proud of the advancement of Stand Your Ground, that came through Judiciary. We’ve done some other bills to try to lower the cost of your medical expenses. I was very involved with the collective bargaining bill, which I truly believe is one of the best bills we’ve ever passed from the standpoint it gave flexibility to local governments to make good decisions, reward hard work and get rid of the bad employees.”
He’s driven to run again out of concern with economic issues.
“I get upset on how much money we’re spending down here,” Zaun said. “Here we are talking (Monday night), I understand that these are extraordinary circumstances, but we need to be protective of the taxpayer here.
“We get attacked all the time because we’re not putting enough money in education, for example, because we have $1 billion in our savings, our emergency funds, our reserves, which is for situations like right now. I’m going to tell you what, as a small business person myself, I’m very concerned about the effect that this virus is going to have on small businesses. I’m very passionate about small businesses. I have been involved with small businesses for most of my adult life.”
Beyond that, work remains to be done on the Second Amendment and addressing medical expenses in the state of Iowa.
“Mostly I want to be a protector of the taxpayer because this is not our money, this is the money of everybody that we represent,” Zaun said. “I think I’ve been down here long enough to know how this place works and there needs to be at different times a different opinion from a tenured perspective of, ‘we tried that many years ago and this is what happened’ type of thing.”