Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) on Wednesday afternoon responded news of State Senator Randy Feenstra’s primary challenge in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District’s 2020 race.
“Just last December 28, Randy Feenstra told Jeff King, ‘as you know, I love your dad and I would never run against him.’ Today, misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers, has revealed that Mr. Feenstra is easily swayed by the lies of the Left. Today’s announcement by Feenstra is the third attempt by the establishment in as many primary cycles to take the 4th District out of the hands of grassroots Republicans. Further, it’s an obvious attempt to undermine an effective and leading Congressional ally of the President’s whom Trump frequently refers to as ‘the world’s most conservative human being.’ From his statements, it appears that Mr. Feenstra offers Republican voters nothing but warmed over talking points from liberal blogs and failed Democratic candidates,” King said.
They included a screenshot from a tweet by King’s 2018 Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten:
Unless there was a third-party witness to that conversation between Jeff King and Randy Feenstra I don’t think we can verify that conversation. I’m curious as to why that took place and who initiated it. If that conversation did take place, Feenstra should explain himself.
As far as liberal talking points, it has not just been liberals who have been concerned about some of the statements Congressman King has made especially since President Trump has taken office. There is absolutely no denying he has a conservative voting record. I don’t think anyone is debating that.
In terms of the establishment trying to find a challenger to run against him? I’ve heard Republican donors were looking for a challenger for this upcoming cycle. I don’t know how much of an attempt was made in the past.
For instance, former State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) ran against King in 2016, losing 64.7 percent to 35.3 percent. Bertrand did not have any significant endorsements. Former Governor Terry Branstad did not endorse in that primary. The FEC did not have Bertrand’s financial disclosures posted online so I can’t provide the exact amount he raised, but I don’t recall his campaign being particularly well funded.
Also, Bertrand was not particularly well-liked, especially among -types. Even his roommate during the legislative session endorsed King.
Cyndi Hanson who challenged King in 2018 can hardly be considered an establishment-picked candidate either. Cyndi who? Exactly. I can’t think of any prominent Republican who endorsed her. She lost to King 74.8 percent to 25.2 percent. Hanson raised a total of $12,372.00. She loaned herself more money than she raised (which was only $19,900.00). Not exactly a war chest necessary to successfully take on an incumbent Congressman.
Update: Adam Sullivan with the Cedar Rapids Gazette reminded me of the establishment endorsement that Congressman King received in 2016 – then Lt. Governor, now Governor Kim Reynolds.
Governor Reynolds’ neutrality is interesting, but not totally unexpected as Feenstra is an Assistant Majority Leader and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. She did more or less warn him a challenge was coming. She may be staying neutral, but it’s likely some in her camp are not, as well as, some of her funders. In fact, Feenstra’s press contact is Matt Leopold who served as the Reynolds campaign political director. That said, King nor Feenstra will see a donation from her war chest.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)