Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a GOP congressman who was ousted last year due to white Supremacy remarks.
Rep. Steve King, whose hard-right views on immigration and abortion became part of the GOP mainstream over two decades in the House but whose deliberately polarizing rhetoric ultimately became a liability for his party, lost the primary in Iowa.
Support for King started to evaporate last year after he made racially offensive remarks that forced national Republicans to distance themselves from the conservative Iowa firebrand.
That gave an opening to state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who garnered support from national GOP groups and from some prominent Iowa conservatives who argued that King undermined his influence in Washington with his drumbeat of provocative behavior.
Feenstra led by nine points late Tuesday and was projected to beat King, according to the Associated Press.
Iowa’s elections were among dozens of congressional primaries taking place amid a backdrop of a global pandemic, civil unrest and a national reckoning over racism and police violence, with voters in eight states and the District of Columbia casting ballots. Several of the elections, which in some states included the presidential race, had been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 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.
Although Feenstra hesitated to attack King directly for his views, he was not shy about questioning his relevance in Washington; particularly after King lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee, an important sinecure for the rural western Iowa district.
the controversies swirling around King took 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.
The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee made no mention of King in a statement congratulating Feenstra. “I have no doubt that Randy will be a strong, conservative voice in Congress who will make Iowa proud, and I am excited to start working with him in the next Congress,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).
Feenstra 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.