Voters in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District ousted longtime GOP Rep. Steve King on Tuesday.
State Sen. Randy Feenstra won the Republican primary contest against King, beating the incumbent congressman with 45.7% of the vote. King earned just 36% of the vote, losing by roughly 8,000 ballots to close out his nearly two-decade career in the U.S. House, according to the Des Moines Register.
“I said from day one that Iowans deserve a proven, effective, conservative leader who will deliver results, and I have done that in the Iowa Senate,” Feenstra said in a late-night victory address streamed on Facebook. “I promise you I will deliver results in Congress.”
Feenstra will face Democrat J.D. Scholten, who lost to King by 3.4% in 2018, in the general. President Trump tweeted out a congratulations to Feenstra following his win.
“Congratulations to Randy Feenstra on your big win in the Iowa Republican Primary. You will be a great Congressman!” Trump said.
Congratulations to Randy Feenstra on your big win in the Iowa Republican Primary. You will be a great Congressman!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
King’s loss comes after Congressional Republicans stripped the nine-term representative of all of his committee assignments last year following some of his comments to The New York Times on white supremacy.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said, according to the newspaper.
The comments triggered backlash from his House colleagues who voted on a bipartisan resolution condemning his language. King, who also voted for the resolution, claimed that The New York Times misquoted him. GOP House leaders also stripped King of his committee assignments, including one on the Agriculture Committee important to Iowa’s farming industry.
Throughout the campaign, Feenstra avoided attacking King for past statements on white supremacy or immigration but asserted that the incumbent congressman was an ineffective representative after losing committee assignments.
“Steve King couldn’t protect our farmers and couldn’t defend President Trump from impeachment. King lost his Congressional committees, can’t do his job, can’t protect us,” one of Feestra’s ads began.
A significant fundraising advantage helped propel Feenstra to victory over King. The state senator received endorsements and financial support from several deep-pocketed GOP-aligned groups and donors such as evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In remarks conceding the race, King jabbed at Feenstra’s outside support and noted the challenger’s line of attack did not include any of King’s past comments that cost the congressman much of his influence in the House.
“There’s some powerful elements in the swamp and [Feenstra] is going to have a hard time pushing back against them … I’m thinking of those Super PACs that came in in this race and how powerful they are. I don’t know that he or anybody has any idea of how powerful they actually are,” King said. “I would also point out that of all of the four opponents that I’ve had in this race, not one of them has raised an issue with a single vote I’ve put up or a single statement that I have made.”
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