Rep. Steve King, who was shunned by GOP leaders for his racist remarks, loses in Iowa primary

Rep. Steve King, who was shunned by GOP leaders for his racist remarks, loses in Iowa primary

6/3/2020 7:08:00 AM

Rep. Steve King, who was shunned by GOP leaders for his racist remarks, loses in Iowa primary

The fate of the controversial conservative was the most closely watched of numerous House and Senate races as voters cast ballots amid the backdrop of a pandemic and racial unrest.

ADIn Pennsylvania, officials prepare for coronavirus, civil unrest to disrupt Tuesday primaryThe key issues in King’s race have been years in the making. He lost his House committee assignments in January 2019 after questioning in a New York Times interview why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” should be considered offensive. It was perhaps the most egregious in a long record of pointed comments demeaning minorities, immigrants and multiculturalism, punctuated by dealings with far-right European activists.

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Although Feenstra hesitated to attack King directly for his views, he was not shy about questioning his relevance in Washington — particularly after losing his seat on the House Agriculture Committee, an important sinecure for the rural western Iowa district.

AD“The 4th District needs a seat at the table, an effective conservative voice,” Feenstra said in a May 26 debate held by WHO-TV. “To me, this election is about real results, not campaign rhetoric. . . . Our district, our president deserves an effective conservative leader in Congress.”

ADThe district is historically conservative, but the controversies swirling around King have taken a toll on his popularity. In 2016, he won by 22 percentage points over his Democratic opponent. In 2018, he beat first-time candidate J.D. Scholten by barely three points, and now Scholten is running again with a campaign war chest five times as large as that of any GOP candidate — and many prominent Republicans feared that King may not survive.

With King’s loss, two prominent nonpartisan forecasters – the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections – moved the race from “lean Republican” to “safe Republican,” indicating Feenstra should have no trouble dispatching Scholten in a district that voted for Donald Trump by 27 points in 2016.

ADFeenstra had raised about $926,000 to King’s $331,000 — a paltry sum for a nine-term incumbent in a competitive race. Meanwhile, Defending Main Street, a GOP super PAC affiliated with the moderate Main Street Partnership, spent $100,000 to oust King, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $200,000 more behind Feenstra.

ADBut there have been notable changes of heart in Iowa, too. Among those who backed Feenstra was activist Bob Vander Plaats, a GOP political kingmaker in western Iowa who once was one of King’s staunchest allies. In an ad funded by the Priorities for Iowa super PAC, Vander Plaats said King was “no longer effective” in Washington — echoing Feenstra’s central campaign message.

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“He can’t deliver for President Trump, and he can’t advance our conservative values,” he said. “Thankfully, Iowa has a better choice.”ADKing fought back, leveraging his high profile in the district and long record as an archconservative nemesis of immigration and abortion. In a recent

, he called the primary race against Feenstra the “epicenter of the battle against the swamp,” labeling his opponents — and Feenstra’s backers — “billionaire coastal RINO-NeverTrumper, globalist, neocon elites.”AD“This race is nationalized because I’m effective,” he wrote. “I have run to the sound of the guns in every important fight. I have walked towards the fire and through the fire. I’m deeply tempered by the experience. I can face the swamp down because we’re right and they’re wrong and they know it.”

Countering his loss of committee assignments, King claimed at a candidate forum last month that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised his “time for exoneration” would come if he’s reelected and his committee seats would be restored.

ADMcCarthy denied any such promise, telling reporters last month: “Congressman King’s comments cannot be exonerated, and I never said that.”Craig Robinson, who runs the website, said Feenstra offers the district everything King does as a conservative, but with no baggage.

AD“How much does the voter want to put up with? The activists like the guy who gets on talk radio and is fighting the good fight, but when you represent a district, there’s a lot of things that your district needs, and that’s where there’s an appetite to move on,” Robinson said.

The recent civil unrest was little more than an atmospheric issue in the Iowa race. King has posted memes critical of protesters to his Facebook page in recent days, but Feenstra has not addressed the crisis on his own social media accounts, opting instead to focus on King’s effectiveness and his efforts to get out the vote. The 4th District is 92.8 percent white, making it one of the least diverse districts in the country.

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ADElsewhere in Tuesday's primaries, Democratic voters chose business executive Theresa Greenfield to take on first-term Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in what promises to be one of most competitive Senate races of the year.ADRepublicans grow nervous about losing the Senate amid worries over Trump’s handling of the pandemic

Greenfield has won the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and benefited from millions of dollars of spending by outside groups that believed she had the best chance of unseating Ernst. With Greenfield holding a 20-point lead on retired Navy Adm. Mike Franken, the Associated Press projected her victory early Tuesday evening.

Although Greenfield raised a staggering $7 million for her campaign, she spent only about $2.3 million ahead of the primary, leaving her with a significant war chest for her battle with Ernst.ADIn other Senate races, voters in Montana nominated Sen. Steve Daines (R) and Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to face off. Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is abandoning a promising climb up the House leadership ranks for a run at the other chamber, will face former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti in a race that tilts Democratic, according to nonpartisan forecasters.

ADVoters will also pick nominees for open House seats being vacated by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Peter J. Visclosky (D-Ind.), as well as Lujan’s safely Democratic seat.In one of the evening’s earliest results, voters in Indiana’s 5th District nominated two candidates with state legislative experience, Sen. Victoria Spartz (R) and former congresswoman Christina Hale (D), to face off in an affluent suburban district where national Democrats believe they have a chance to win the seat being vacated by Brooks.

The race in New Mexico has garnered particular attention because of the candidacy of Valerie Plame — a former CIA officer whose cover was blown by a top aide to then-vice president Richard B. Cheney, leading to a major Washington scandal and turning her into a figure of national intrigue. But her profile has not translated into an easy path to the nomination.

Key figures in New Mexico and nationally have backed civil rights lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez, who has played up her deep roots in the district. Among her backers is Emily’s List, an influential Democratic women’s group, whose affiliated super PAC spent $300,000 on her behalf, as well as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s political committee, which has spent more than $400,000.

Leger Fernandez held a lead over Plame in early returns Tuesday, while Plame appeared in danger of possibly finishing third behind state Rep. Joseph Sanchez.Colby Itkowitz contributed to this report.Election 2020: What to know Read more: The Washington Post »

👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I hope SteveKingIA has to file for unemploymentbenefits He can still run as an independent. about time! What? 9 terms? Iowa, love you! Does anybody remember what happened to the pharaoh when he refused out right flat out refuse to let god's people go?asking for a friend All the political programs of the Democratic Party are the propaganda slogans of the CCP! politicians are the worst....on both sides Unfortunately, he is not gone for long. He will be back as an “analyst” at Fox News, the sanctuary station for all the racists.

Iowa Rep. Steve King Ousted In GOP Primary, AP ProjectsJUST IN: Iowa Rep. Steve King has lost his GOP primary, the AP projects. For years, he fired off incendiary comments about abortion and race, which lost him the support of many Republican Party leaders. Good, joe 2020 The era of 'calves the size of cantaloupes' has come to an end. RIP

Rep. Steve King ousted in Iowa GOP primary, NBC News projectsBREAKING: Iowa Rep. Steve King, who has a long history of racist remarks, loses Republican primary, NBC News projects. ✌️ These types are being removed. I smell an AG nomination...

GOP Rep. Steve King Loses His Iowa PrimaryIowa GOP Rep. Steve King, who has spoken positively about white supremacy, lost his bid for a 10th term after Republicans abandoned his campaign and endorsed a primary challenger. BlackLivesMatter JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 광수의 안면인식은 괴변의 원천이 중공이라 주장해도 전혀 손색이 없는 나쁜의원 하태경 I’m disgusted that people voted for him for 9 terms!!

SHOCK: White Supremacist Congressman Steve King Defeated In GOP PrimaryBREAKING: Steve King, the white supremacist congressman from Iowa, was defeated in a shocking Republican primary Tuesday, bringing an end to the long legislative career of one of Washington’s most explicit bigots. 👏👏👏👏👏 Thank heavens. Trump: 'he was a good man with great ideas, sad to see him go'

Rep. Steve King's future on the line in Iowa GOP primary tonightRep. Steve King's future on the line in Iowa GOP primary tonight. The primary challenge to King is the fiercest since he was first elected to Congress in 2002. Please God hear our prayers and have SteveKingIA retire to his farm and tiny town of Kiran. Amen. I care that innocent people are killed by those charged with protecting them and the thousands that have died in this pandemic. BUT, there are even more serious problems that will unquestionably take far far more lives; global warming and the destruction of 'our' ecosystem!

Rep. Steve King—Who Embraced White Supremacy—Loses Primary Amid Nationwide Protests Against RacismIowa Republican Steve King had his committee assignments stripped over racist comments and associations with hard-right and neo-Nazi politicians. To another white supremacist. A sign of things to come for the GOP It’s about time!