State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) is running for Congress against Congressman Steve King in the upcoming Republican primary in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.
At least I think he is. Setting aside where Bertrand stands on the issues, who is funding him, and his record in the Iowa Senate – Bertrand is getting a reputation as a candidate who won’t show up.
He was noticibly absent from the Iowa 4th Congressional District convention. He appeared at the Iowa Republican State Convention, but did not speak or stay for the whole event.
Bertrand has also been a no show at several county party central committees where he was scheduled to speak as well. Caffeinated Thoughts has confirmed that Bertrand missed his speaking engagement at the April 16th Buena Vista County Republican Central Committee meeting. Caffeinated Thoughts also confirmed that Bertrand missed the Floyd County Republican Central Committee meeting in March. He also skipped the Carroll County Republican Party Central Committee meeting.
Caffeinated Thoughts has also been told he missed meeting with the Harrison County Republican Central Committee meeting.
Craig Williams, chair of the Carroll County Republican Party, wrote a letter-to-the-editor for his local paper and said:
Bertrand didn’t show up for his county convention. But that’s part of a pattern for him. Buena Vista, Harrison, Floyd and Carroll counties all received calls from Bertrand requesting an opportunity to speak to the local county central committee. We all agreed. He didn’t show. I’m told of other counties in the 4th District where he was scheduled to speak and just didn’t come. At Bertrand’s request, we held a speaking slot for him at the District Convention in April in Fort Dodge. King spoke, but Bertrand did not show up. Last weekend, at the State Convention in Des Moines, King spoke to the crowd of 1,500 plus. Bertrand was there for a few minutes and for some unknown reason declined his speaking slot.
If it weren’t for newspaper articles, it would be difficult to tell Bertrand is running. In a recent Times Herald article, Doug Burns was kind enough not to include a picture of the crowd that came out to see Bertrand in Sac County. That photo would have been a “selfie” since no one else showed up. Bertrand has hosted multiple events where, surprisingly, he actually did show up. But no one else did.
Bertrand’s support, as Williams pointed out, has been a no-show as well.
Some numbers that Caffeinated Thoughts has been given from those who have been in attendance:
May 3rd Ames Event – 4 people
May 3rd Webster City Event – 4 people
May 9th Storm Lake Event – 6 people
May 9th Pocahontas Event – 2 people
May 10th Sac City Event – 0 people
May 14th Spencer Event – 15 people
May 24th Charles City Event – 0 people
May 19th Sheldon – 4 people – Bertrand did not show up at this event.
May 25th Estherville – 6 people – Bertrand did not show at this event either.
Two of the six people who attended spoke out on the event page on Facebook:
“Waited and waited and waited for you to attend your event in Emmet County. Why were you a no show? Is this what you’ll do in Congress? I guess our votes aren’t important to you. You could have called Pizza Hut so they could tell us you weren’t coming. I am not voting for a rookie,” one attendee wrote.
Another said, “Very disappointed this evening that you never showed up at your campaign event in Estherville. If this is any indication of your integrity and work ethic you’ve lost my vote. The very least you could have done was called Pizza Hut and let them know you weren’t coming. No consideration for those waiting for you (including two families with children) at all.”
Tina Goff, who works for the Bertrand campaign, responded, “Something came up at the last minute and Sen. Bertrand needed to head home. It was a miscommunication on our part and we are truly sorry for the inconvenience.”
May 27th in Denison – 2 people. The guy in the pink shirt below is a campaign staffer, Caffeinated Thoughts has been told.
— Gwen Ecklund (@gwenecklund) May 27, 2016
May 27th in Carroll, a King staffer told Caffeinated Thoughts he was kicked out of this event. He was the only person to show up other than Doug Burns, a reporter with the Carroll Daily Times Herald. The staffer was told it was an interview, but the campaign did promote it as a campaign stop.
Frankly I don’t care about the attendance at his events. I do care that a candidate has demonstrated a pattern of skipping out on events. It is reasonable to ask if he does this as a candidate, how will he behave as a Congressman?