Sioux City state senator to challenge Steve King

State Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City.

Courtesy of the Iowa Senate Republicans

State Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City.

Alex Hanson

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, will face a primary challenge in 2016, as Iowa state Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City, announced Thursday he plans to run in the Republican primary for Iowa’s fourth district.

Bertrand, who was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2010, officially filed the paperwork to run on Thursday morning and announced his intentions in a news conference Thursday afternoon in Sioux City.

Bertrand’s run comes as King, who has mostly been a popular figure in conservative politics in Iowa, has faced heat for backing Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucus. Cruz repeatedly said he was against the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which is popular in Iowa, and King supports, but King decided to back him anyway.

Bertrand told the Sioux City Journal Wednesday that King has become ineffective as he courts a national reputation in Congress.

“I am not going in there to be a national figure,” he said. “I am going to be likable and effective.”

“I like Steve but, you know what, it is time … You become institutionalized after 14 years,” Bertrand added in his interview with the Journal.

Iowa will vote again in a primary election for statewide seats on June 7. 

Paul Lunde, an attorney from Ames, was also planning to challenge King, but he said earlier this week he did not gather enough signatures to run.

Kim Weaver, a Democrat from Sheldon, the O’Brien County Democratic Party chairwoman and an Iowa State alum, is the only Democrat to enter the race so far.