Sources indicate there’s a two-man race to replace the GOP leader who resigned from the Iowa Senate Monday after images of his kissing session with a lobbyist were posted online.
Five months ago Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City called for his colleagues to replace Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix for fumbling the response to a senate staffer’s sexual harassment allegations.
“I’d be probably lying to you if I said there wasn’t a little bit of vindication here,” Bertrand said in an interview Tuesday. “To me it validates, in my mind, that I’m a good judge of character.”
But Bertrand said it’s now time for Republicans in the senate to “move forward” and he said both Senate President Jack Whitver of Ankeny and Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull would be able leaders for the 28 Republicans in the state senate.
“I’ve always been a Sioux City guy and a northwest Iowa guy and to say that I wouldn’t like to see Randy Feenstra, I’d love to see it, just simply because we have to work for everything in northwest Iowa,” Bertrand said, “and to get a leader in this position, I think, would be great for our side of the state.”
Jerry Behn of Boone is a former Republican leader in the Iowa Senate. Behn said he spoke one-on-one with the other Republican senators before winning that leadership race over Dix back in November of 2011.
“You can kind of gauge your support based on the responses. I mean if you’re getting all people going, ‘Eh, I don’t know,’ that’s not a good sign,” Behn says, with a laugh. “If you get people saying, ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay’, that’s a lot better and you can gauge your support and if you end up with over half, you know you’ve got a lock and you’re good to go.”
Behn is in the midst of his 22nd year as a legislator, but has no interest in serving again as the top-ranking Republican in the senate.
Dix had been the Senate GOP leader since November of 2012.