Yesterday Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds became the fourth Republican who has won a statewide election to endorse seven-term Representative Steve King in his primary race against State Senator Rick Bertrand. Speaking exclusively to the Sioux City Journal's Bret Hayworth,
Reynolds said she doesn't usually get involved in contested primaries, but said King has been an effective congressman.
"He has been an effective advocate for his district and for Iowans," Reynolds said of King.
Reynolds said she appreciated his support in 2010. She alluded to a floor flight that year at the state Republican convention, where King ultimately placed her name into nomination for lieutenant governor.
I had forgotten that King formally nominated Reynolds. Even in politically active circles, Reynolds was barely known when Branstad announced two days before the Iowa GOP's state convention that the first-term state senator would be his running mate. Many Republican state delegates were social conservatives who had backed Bob Vander Plaats in the gubernatorial race, so when State Representative Dwayne Alons nominated Vander Plaats for lieutenant governor, there was a real chance the vote might go his way. King's support for Reynolds must have been helpful. In the end, 749 convention delegates voted for Reynolds to appear on the GOP ticket, while 579 voted for Vander Plaats.
Reynolds will almost certainly run for governor in 2018, either from her current position or (I suspect) as the incumbent, if Governor Terry Branstad resigns before the end of his sixth term. One of her likely rivals in the next gubernatorial campaign is Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who was the first statewide office-holder to endorse King for the fourth Congressional district primary. U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have also publicly backed King. A poll recently commissioned by a new group supporting the incumbent showed King leading Bertrand among likely voters by more than a 4 to 1 margin.
I enclose below the King campaign's statement on the Reynolds endorsement. Any comments on the IA-04 race are welcome in this thread.
May 4 press release from King for Congress:
King Endorsed by Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds
Wall Lake, Iowa – Congressman Steve King was endorsed by Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
“I have watched Kim serve the residents of Clarke County, her former State Senate District, and now the state as an effective and active elected official. Her enthusiasm and energy are effective tools for public service as she travels across the state and around the globe representing Iowa with dignity,” King stated. “Lt. Governor Reynolds is authentic and I admire her conservative ideals. I am pleased to have her endorsement.”
In her endorsement, Reynolds said, “Steve King was my Congressman for ten years when Clarke County was in the old Fifth Congressional District, and I’m supporting him this year as I have for the last 14. Steve is a good friend and a great Congressman. Most importantly, he’s a hardworking, accessible Representative the Fourth District can trust. I’m looking forward to his continued service to northwest Iowa for years to come.”
Reynolds joins other statewide elected officials Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey with the endorsement of King.
King serves on the US House Agriculture, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees. In 2015, he was named Chairman of the Executive Overreach Task Force by Speaker Paul Ryan. King has long chaired the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS), an organization founded by Speaker Newt Gingrich and others in 1983. COS is the leading voice for Constitutional and conservative principles in the U.S. House and represents one of only a half dozen seats at Speaker Ryan’s discussion table each week.
Congressman King is the founder of King Construction. A former small business owner, King resides in rural Sac County, Iowa, with his wife of 43 years, Marilyn. The Kings have three happily married sons and seven grandchildren; all the Kings live within 10 miles of each other.