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Iowa Rep. Steve King in uphill battle for reelection

All eyes will be on Iowa on Tuesday as controversial Congressman Steve King faces the toughest primary battle of his career.

King only won his 2018 election by 50.3 percent of the vote against Democrat J.D. Scholten, an eye-opener for Republicans that the longtime congressman has clearly lost support in the very conservative northwest Iowa district.

King is facing a serious challenge from state Sen. Randy Feenstra, one of four Republican candidates challenging King on Tuesday. Feenstra has spent more than $230,000 on TV ads, and outside groups have chipped in even more on his behalf. Feenstra’s campaign reported having over $120,000 in cash on hand in the latest reporting period, while King had only $32,000.

King’s opponents haven’t focused on his record of offensive comments but instead focused on what’s happened as a result. King, who’s been in office since 2003, was removed from his seat on the Agriculture, Judiciary and Small Business committees after a New York Times article addressing his comments on white nationalism.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” he asked a reporter then.

President Donald Trump hasn’t endorsed King. During a summer fundraiser in Iowa, King wasn’t invited to fly with Trump on Air Force One and the White House didn’t even list him on the official guest list. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Gov. Kim Reynolds haven’t made any endorsements in the race; however, many state lawmakers and political activists have come out against him.

Feenstra has picked up the most endorsements during the primary including from the district’s media.

“In Feenstra, #IA04 Republicans have a candidate that not only represents needed change but a candidate who shares their values, principles and positions and who may in fact strengthen their hand in the general election,” the Sioux City Journal said in their endorsement.

Bob Vander Platts, president of the conservative Family Leader in Iowa has also broken away from King and endorsed Feenstra.

“If you’re going to be a representative, the whole part of being a representative is you got to represent the people,” Vander Plaats, said. “If your voice has been taken away, then it’s time to move on.”

Many political strategists worry that if King wins the primary, his deep red district could go blue and endanger every other Republican on the ticket, including Trump and Ernst.

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