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Zaun pulls out of event organized by anti-abortion activist
A fundraising event put together by controversial anti-abortion activist and GOP state Senate candidate Dave Leach that was supposed to include 3rd District Congressional candidate Brad Zaun and Iowa Secretary of State hopeful Chris Sanger will go on as scheduled Friday, although Zaun will no longer attend.
Leach, who has garnered headlines over the past year due to his close relationship with the man convicted of murdering Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, said the event has been booked for several months but due to a problem with campaign disclosure rules Zaun had to back out. The event will go on as planned Friday at 6 p.m. at Leach’s home, 137 E. Leach Ave.
“After I became a candidate, I should have added the legally required statement ‘Paid for by Friends of Freedom for Dave Leach.’ But I forgot,” Leach said in a flier advertising the event. He was advised to send out corrected copies with “paid for by Leach” and “paid for by Zaun” statements, “But Zaun’s campaign believes a better way to escape liability for themselves for my mistake is to cancel their appearance Friday.”
In an e-mail to The Iowa Independent, Leach said the fundraiser, which was advertised as “Meet Brad Zaun for Congress,” should not be construed as an endorsement.
“I am well aware that my endorsement is not universally considered an asset,” he said. “That is one of two reasons I will stick with calling this an opportunity for ‘you’ to meet candidates for yourself. The second reason is that I’m not generally an ‘endorsement’ kind of guy.” He later added: “I will just say that Brad Zaun, and Chris and Elizabeth Sanger, and possibly even me, are candidates well worth meeting.”
While he is disappointed Zaun will not be participating, Leach said there are no hard feelings.When asked if he’s worried whether some will conclude that it is Leach’s controversial stances on abortion, and not a disclosure issue, that caused Zaun to back out, Leach said it’s not something he worries about.
“No doubt some will speculate that Brad pulled out to avoid associating with me, but the fact that this has been scheduled for two months and was only canceled over a legal question, which was the only reason given me for canceling, argues otherwise,” he said.
Over the past year, Leach relationship with Scott Roeder, who before his arrest was an occasional contributor to a newsletter Leach publishes advocating justifiable homicide for abortion providers, has kept his name in the news. Leach drafted a legal brief on Roeder’s behalf arguing the necessity defense, helped organize a fundraiser for his legal fees, regularly attended his murder trial and conducted an in-depth interview with him after his conviction in February. Leach testified as a character witness for Roeder during his sentencing last week.
Leach is running against Democratic incumbent state Sen. Matt McCoy of Des Moines. Zaun, a two-term state senator himself, is running in the seven-man Republican primary for the chance to take on incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell. Sanger is running against two other Republicans in order to challenge incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Michael Mauro.
Representatives of Zaun’s campaign did not respond to numerous requests for comment.