Congressional candidate hopes hearse drives campaign to victory over Ryan
The American flags make the front of Tom Breu's 1998 Cadillac DeVille look downright political. The rest of it? Downright wacky.
\"As a grassroots campaign, I don't have millions of dollars to spend on 30-second commercials,\" Breu said. \"So every time I drive it around, it's a moving billboard.\"
Breu's Cadillac is also a former hearse. It features an eclectic mix of quotes from Star Trek, The Hunger Games and James Madison -- all calculated attention grabbers in his quest to unseat U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan.
\"Winning isn't everything,\" Breu said. \"But it is one way to get out the word.\"
Breu, a democrat who's lived in Janesville since 1995, spent more on applying the messaging to the side (more than $4,000) than the hearse itself ($3,900).
\"Just by having [people] look at it, that gets them involved,\" Breu said. \"Maybe they read the next thing or maybe they go to my website.\"
Breu first decided to look into politics ten years ago. He attended a debate with his son featuring Congressman Ryan and thought Ryan had a narrow view of the world. Breu nearly ran in the 2014 election, but decided against it.
The democrat and his wife decided to buy the hearse several months before he announced his campaign in November 2014. Breu says it gets 20 miles to the gallon and has practical uses too.
\"It's got a nice big trunk, so I can throw a lot of [campaign] stuff in,\" Breu said.
The odds don't exactly rest in Breu's favor. Ryan has held the first congressional seat since 1999. The Republican, who also chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, beat challenger Rob Zerban by nearly 30 percent last fall. But to Breu, who quit his job as a mechanical engineer to focus on the campaign, the time was right.
\"You know, it could happen,\" Breu said of his long shot candidacy. \"And we'll see where we're at a year from today.\"
Breu hopes more candidates join the race soon. He says once more people sign up, he'll be able to start driving his hearse in parades.
You can learn more about Breu's campaign through his webpage here.