While Trump-endorsed Vichy Republican, Renee Ellmers, was being humiliated in her primary last night (she was relying on a “Trump bump” to win — I am not making that up), Ted Cruz surrogate, Iowa Representative Steve King, was racking up a 2:1 win, beating his challenger by a whopping 34 points.
Steve King is not popular with the political power structure in Iowa for a lot of reasons, some of them quite valid reasons. When he supported Ted Cruz, who is against the RFS boondoggle, he went too far. The crony capitalist establishment recruited a state senator, Rick Bertrand, to challenge Steve King. This is not to say Bertrand would not have been a good Congressman. He was an early endorser of Texas Governor Rick Perry and is solid on life issues and the Second Amendment. But the primary reason he was drawn into the race was to simply beat Steve King at the behest of the RFS cartel:
While Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) touched the third-rail of Iowa politics and (briefly) lived to tell about it — winning the Iowa GOP presidential caucus in February despite his longtime criticism of ethanol mandates — it remains to be seen whether the issue could still singe one of his key supporters in the Hawkeye State, Republican Rep. Steve King.
State Sen. Rick Bertrand (R) announced a primary challenge in March against King, who is seeking an eighth term in his 4th District seat, pointing in part to the Republican lawmaker’s endorsement of Cruz.
State Sen. Rick Bertrand (above) is challenging Rep. Steve King in the Iowa Republican primary. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Senate.
Bertrand has also relied heavily on a message that King is a career politician, more interested in his television appearances than in the Sioux City-based seat he has held since 2002.
“The question is, why did Steve King turn his back on Iowa agriculture? You can paint that pig anyway you want. But the bottom line is that the cattlemen, the corn growers, the soybean growers, the ethanol people, they understand what that endorsement meant,” Bertrand told the Sioux City Journal last month. Iowa voters will head to polls June 7 to decide congressional slates for the November election.
If there is any lesson to be learned from this it is that the populist chain-reaction that Donald Trump has unleashed runs independently of Trump. We could be entering an era where the quiet apparatchik go-along-get-along legislator is a relic. I don’t know what that will look like but it will be as interesting as hell.