Article from the Sioux City Journal -
Sunday, June 30, 2002
Republicans Crown Their King
By Kate Thompson Journal staff writer
DENISON, Iowa -- The Republican 5th
District Convention in Denison took just over four hours and three votes to
select Iowa Sen. Steve King of Kiron as the nominee for the open U.S.
In the June 4 primary, King won the largest number of votes but fell
short of the 35 percent required to take the nomination. As a result, 533
members of the convention had to choose the nominee.
There were tents, elephants and what some people might call clowns. But
despite the circus-like atmosphere, the 533 delegates were there with just
one mission: choosing a nominee for Congress in the sprawling 5th District
of Iowa which covers 32 counties from Minnesota to Missouri.
"This seat will be used to move the political center of gravity in
Congress to the right," King told cheering delegates, after narrowly
defeating House Speaker Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs, 272 to 253, on the
third ballot. Iowa Sen. John Redwine of Sioux City and Council Bluffs
businessman Jeff Ballenger were the first and second to fall in balloting.
Paul Shomshor is the Democratic nominee and welcomed King to the race.
"What the vote (Saturday) demonstrates is that it is clearly a divided
party that has chosen a candidate," Shomshor said. "I think that I will
represent mainstream Iowa. They may have selected a candidate from the
geographic center of the district but I am from the political center."
King, however, is the favorite in the race because the 32-county district
has 55,000 more Republicans than Democrats.
King vowed to go after every county and visit every one of the 286 cities
in the district.
"Western Iowa is the key to statewide victories," he said. "The future of
Iowa is in our hands."
Bill Salier, the Nora Springs farmer who ran against Ganske in the
primary, introduced King.
"The culture war continues," Salier said. "It means every single day,
every single one of us must pursue the agenda of the Republican Party."
King said he will not compromise his values.
"It's not about compromise if you want to get something done for
Republicans," he said. "It's about negotiating from a position of strength."
The vote ended Siegrist's 18-year political career. He is not running
again for the state Legislature.
"This is the second time in the last couple of months, I have had to say
goodbye," Siegrist said. "This gives me the opportunity to go home to my
family. ... I feel so good about the process and the people that ran."
Siegrist said he now will return to the private sector and look for a
Ballenger, who received 135 votes on the first ballot and 128 on the
second, said it had been a good run.
"Jeff Ballenger is going to support whoever the nominee is 110 percent,
because we are all Republicans," he said. "We've been living family values
as long as Democrats have been talking about them."
He endorsed Siegrist after his defeat.
The convention also ended Redwine's six-year political career in the Iowa
Senate. His seat was thrown into the same district as Iowa Sen. Ken Veenstra
of Orange City, who defeated George Schneidermann of Rock Rapids for the
Republican nomination June 4.
After receiving a disappointing 99 votes on the first ballot, Redwine
endorsed King on the floor.
"Even though there are more Republicans than Democrats in this district,
I don't believe it is going to be a slam dunk," Redwine said. "The candidate
still is going to have to get out and work."
Redwine said he won't immediately be looking for work. He said he will
take some time to spend with his wife and family before determining what's
next in his career.
King's selection as the nominee also changes the face of state politics.
His state senate seat is not currently open but he is expected to resign.
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