Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King fell in his primary against Republican state Sen. Randy Feenstra Tuesday night. Feenstra will advance as the Republican nominee for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, consisting of the largely rural northwestern part of the state.
The race was perhaps the most-watched of the night, as many in King’s own party had endorsed his main opponent and were privately eager to see him fall. While King had the advantages that come with incumbency, Feenstra had the backing of most GOP organizations and his party’s leadership in both chambers of Congress.
The nine-term incumbent had a long history of comments that were widely condemned as racist, bigoted, and xenophobic, and has been stripped of his committee seats since early in 2019 after asking when terms such as “white nationalism” and “white supremacism” had become so offensive.
His comments nearly led to him being censured by the House of Representatives in January of 2019 and resulted in bipartisan calls for him to resign.
During the campaign, Feenstra had argued that King being stripped of his committees had made him an ineffective member that was unable to adequately represent those in Iowa’s 4th District. King had attempted to paint Feenstra as an embodiment of the “D.C. Swamp.”
Feenstra’s victory is a sigh of relief for many Republicans, as he was viewed as a much stronger nominee due to his lack of inflammatory comments.
In advancing Feenstra is set to face Democratic nominee J.D. Scholten, who ran uncontested Tuesday night, in the November general election. As the 2018 Democratic nominee, he lost to King by three points, only two years after King had won reelection by a whopping 22 point margin.
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