Despite crowded fields in two contested congressional primaries, candidates crossed the required 35-percent-of-the-vote threshhold and secured G.O.P. nominations in the second and third congressional districts in Tuesday’s voting.
Brad Zaun of Urbandale won the Republican Party’s nomination for Iowa’s third district congressional seat. Zaun spoke with Radio Iowa shortly after 10 o’clock Tuesday evening. “I’m very emotional. I’m very humbled by how very well we did tonight considering there were six other good Iowans in this race,” Zaun said. “…I’ve said it all along that I’ve always been out-spent in every race, but I’ve never been out-worked, and I think our message connected with the voters of the third congressional district.”
Zaun served as mayor of Urbandale and is currently a state senator. He faced a former Iowa State University wrestling coach, a candidate backed by the Tea Party, a retired architect, a psychiatrist and two other candidates in the seven-person race. “I assume the Republicans are all going to come together as a group, support their nominee,” Zaun said, “and I’m just going to continue going what I’m doing.”
Zaun will face Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell in November. Zaun said he’ll present a “clear choice” to voters. “I think if you look at our backgrounds, we’re completely different,” Zaun said. “We’re going to talk about the issues and I look forward to that campaign.”
There were four Republican candidates in the second congressional district and Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa won the nomination for the second time. “Hard work, a lot of grassroots effort, building a team, being consistent with your message and with outreach to voters pays off,” Miller-Meeks said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa.
Miller-Meeks will face Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon in November. Miller-Meeks contends this rematch will wind up with a different result in 2010 because voters are upset with Washington. “People feel their government has betrayed them and they’re looking for a person who can deliver a message and be credible,” she said.
Miller-Meeks emerged after a bruising primary which saw charges and counter-charges among the four candidates in the run-up to yesterday’s voting. “I don’t know that it will help me or hurt me,” Miller-Meeks said of the Primary. “The goal of the candidate is to continue to move people from apathy to action, to build momentum and to get your message out.” Miller-Meeks had been an eye doctor in Ottumwa. She has quit that job in order to campaign full-time.
In Iowa’s first congressional district, Benjamin Lange of Independence is the winner, defeating three other Republicans who placed their names on the Primary ballot. “I’m pretty thankful for the support we received not only here in my local county, but across the entire district,” Lange said during an interview with KMCH Radio. “…And I’m excited about the upcoming opportunities.”
Lange will face Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo on the General Election ballot. “I think people are tired of the same old Republican-Democratic issues,” Lange said. “And they are excited about someone that’s going to offer a compelling, conservative alternative to what’s in office there and somebody that, myself, that won’t be in line with Nancy Pelosi 98 percent of the time.”
Lange, a 31-year-old lawyer, is making his first run for public office. “You know, I’m excited about the opportunity out there because I think this is going to be a new generation of voters out there,” Lange said.
Democrat Matt Campbell of Manning won the Primary in the fifth congressional district. He’ll face Republican Congressman Steve King in November. “There’s going to be a lot of work ahead,” Campbell said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. “I’m encouraged, though, that my message is resonating with Iowa voters.”
Republicans hold a significant voter registration edge over Democrats in the fifth district. Campbell points to the 100,000 “no party” or independent voters in the district who he suggests can “sway” the election his way. “My grandparents were Republicans. I think we’re Americans first and party affiliation is second,” Campbell said. “And I think after the near-financial-collapse that the country had that our residents are looking for leaders that will provide results and I think they like what I’m talking about.”
Campbell charges that King has forgotten the district’s priorities. “I think that residents feel like he’s not as engaged in the local issues that are important to them as what he should be,” Campbell said.