If you didn’t know Congressman Steve King was facing a primary challenge this June, the Fourth Congressional District Convention this past Saturday wouldn’t have changed your way of thinking. Not only were the grounds outside of the Fort Dodge High School covered in King for Congress signs, the delegates meeting inside the school’s gymnasium were solidly behind their incumbent representative.
Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, also made no bones about who he is supporting in the primary – Congressman Steve King. When Northey told the assembled convention delegates that the district already has a thoughtful conservative representative in Congress he got a standing ovation from at least 90 percent of gave him a standing ovation.
King’s challenger, State Senator Rick Bertrand, had a booth in the lunchroom, but he opted not to show up to the convention. While the delegates are clearly in King’s corner, the decision not to speak to the grassroots activists he hopes to represent sent a bad message. Speaking to what could be a hostile crowd is never easy, but Bertrand knew what he was signing up for when he decided to challenge King. Regardless of the audience, he should have gone and made his case to the delegates.