After the June 5th primary, Iowa Senate District 7, looked like, at best, a toss-up to me since State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) announced his retirement.
Steven Stokes was the Republican nominee running in this district. He is a small business owner in Sioux City. He faced Jackie Smith, a former Woodbury County Supervisor, who was defeated in 2016 by her Republican challenger Keith Radig in Supervisor District 1 55 percent to 45 percent.
Stokes announced that he was dropping out two weeks ago. Last week, Bertrand came out of retirement and announced he was running for a third term, and a special nominating convention of Republicans in the district nominated him.
Radio Iowa reported:
Bertrand says he decided to run again after several Republicans, including Governor Reynolds and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, started asking him to reconsider his retirement. “When you’re asked it’s a good feeling,” Bertrand says, “and the community asked. And when your governor asks and when the party asks, it’s a good place. It’s a good thing for Sioux City. And I think this is a win-win for Sioux City when we win this.”
Bertrand, first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2010, won re-election to a second term after his redistricting in 2014. He defeated his Democratic challenger, Jim France, 57.1 percent (8766) to 37.4 percent (5738). Heading into the race, Bertrand faced a voter registration deficit of 2,475.
Bertrand’s re-entry into the race gives the Republicans the advantage. Democrats have a slightly smaller voter registration (+2,038) than they did in 2014. President Donald Trump won this district by five points in 2016, but Smith lost her district seat, which encompasses most of Iowa Senate District 7, by 10 points in 2016. Then there is the fact that Bertrand won re-election by 20 points in 2014.
Even with a potential Democrat wave, I would move this seat from toss-up to leans Republican.