It is believed that State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) was recruited to primary Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District largely because of King’s support of Ted Cruz who opposed the Renewal Fuel Standard.
Cruz was opposed by ethanol special interest groups, and received an “anti-endorsement” from ethanol champion Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad’s son, Eric, helped launch America’s Renewable Future, a group supportive of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is essentially a federal mandate for ethanol use. This group ran a radio ad against Cruz. Nick Ryan, founder of Concordia Group, hosted America’s Renewable Future’s ads on his company’s YouTube channel.
King had the *audacity* to defend Cruz’s position on ethanol.
Following the Iowa Caucuses, American Future Fund, a group also started by Nick Ryan, launched a $1.5 million dollars ad campaign against Cruz in South Carolina which falsely accused Cruz of being weak on defense.
King, who is a national co-chair for Cruz’s campaign in response to the ad told Breitbart News that Ryan “has emerged as a political assassin.”
Sources have told Caffeinated Thoughts that Ryan, along with, Bruce Rastetter, an agribusiness mogul who is a supporter of ethanol, were behind finding someone to primary King.
Ryan tweeted out his support after Bertrand made his announcement:
Bertrand said in an exclusive interview with Sioux City Journal:
“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.”
“I like Steve but, you know what, it is time … You become institutionalized after 14 years,” Bertrand said.
Bertrand in that interview also pointed out “with pride” his vote for the 10-cent gas tax, something that was pushed by the Branstad administration. He is also known as a reliable vote for Branstad priorities in the Iowa Senate.
Bertrand also notes in his bio on the website his tie to Big Ethanol:
In 2014, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association awarded Bertrand as a “Champion of Renewable Fuels” for his support of renewable energy. That same year, he also received awards from the Iowa Corn Growers and Iowa Soybean Association, while being recognized by Iowa Farm Bureau as a “Friend of Agriculture”.
The Iowa Farm Bureau endorsed King in his 2014 race also calling him a friend of agriculture. This week Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey endorsed King’s reelection campaign during the Iowa 4th Congressional District Convention in Ft. Dodge.
“I believe this district needs to support a strong conservative, hard working candidate, and we have that candidate, that’s our current Congressman Steve King,” Northey said receiving a standing ovation.
“Congressman King understands Iowa agriculture and has always been willing to fight for our farmers. It is my honor to endorse him and help send him back to Congress to work on our behalf,” Northey said.
Northey called King a “friend of agriculture” and a “proven conservative.”
He addressed the ethanol issue later in the day with reporters according to Radio Iowa.
“I don’t know how that will all play out. We’ve had some conversations with some folks that care a lot about that issue…When I think of who I want in the room talking with conservative congressmen and senators, talking with a potential president on ethanol issues, I want Steve King there,” Northey said.
This endorsement just took wind out of Big Ethanol’s sails. Northey understands King will stand for conservative principles, and he has a good record on agriculture. Bertrand right now has just proven he’s Big Ethanol’s shill. Bertrand did not even take the time to address the convention, not something you’d expect from a candidate with a primary under two months away.