Northwest Iowa — Iowa 4th District U.S. Congressman Steve King has received the endorsements from both of Iowa’s Senators, Chuck Grassley, and Joni Ernst, as well as Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, but Iowa’s Republican Governor, Terry Branstad, says he is remaining neutral.
King is seeking his 8th term in the U.S. House, and for the first time since he initially sought a congressional seat in 2002, will face a primary challenge from a fellow Republican, Rick Bertrand of Sioux City, in the June Primary election.
When asked about his reasons for remaining neutral in the 4th District Primary, Governor Branstad had this to say.
Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey endorsed King earlier this month. Senator Chuck Grassley endorsed King last week. Senator Joni Ernst endorsed King today (Monday), calling him a “friend” to Iowa agriculture and renewable fuels. Branstad and King had a very public falling out just before the Caucuses over ethanol, however. Branstad said he hoped Ted Cruz would be “defeated” in the Iowa Caucuses because of his opposition to the federal ethanol production mandate. King had endorsed Cruz and accused Branstad of making a “de facto” endorsement of Donald Trump. Branstad was asked today (Monday) if he wanted “to see King defeated” in June.
It appears some Democrats in the fourth congressional district plan to switch their party registration and be a “Republican for a day” in order to vote AGAINST King and FOR Bertrand. Branstad says he faced the same issue in 1994 when Republican Congressman Fred Grandy ran against Branstad for governor.
Branstad’s top political contributor is backing Bertrand. Bertrand is commercial property developer who won his second term in the Iowa Senate in 2014.