State Sen. Rick Bertrand to Primary Steve King

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State Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Sioux City businessman and developer, has announced his intentions to primary Congressman Steve King for his 4th congressional district seat in the GOP primary in June.

The Sioux City Journal‘s Bret Hayworth has the exclusive:

Bertrand said King, seven-term incumbent first elected in 2002, has become ineffective as he courts a national reputation and hasn’t delivered for constituents in spite of lengthening tenure.

“I am not going in there to be a national figure. I am going to be likable and effective,” said Bertrand, a two-term state senator and Sioux City businessman and developer.

Bertrand said King hasn’t nabbed important committee posts of power to help Iowans improve their lives through economic growth. He contends King has been in office too long and “is polarizing.”

Hayworth’s article doesn’t get into it, but King got a lot of heat from Iowa Republicans because of his Iowa caucus endorsement of Ted Cruz, who opposes the federal Renewable Fuel Standard that helps drive the state’s ethanol industry. Cruz’s position led to Gov. Terry Branstad calling, ineffectively, for his defeat in the caucuses and, more clownishly, Donald Trump backer Sarah Palin remarking that King was “huffing ethanol.”

King’s district includes much of deeply conservative western Iowa as well as more moderate areas near the center of the state including Ames.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.