A primary election challenger to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) raised more than four times as much in campaign donations during the first quarter of the year, a threatening sign for an incumbent who often stokes controversy with white supremacist and racist rhetoric.
King raised $61,666 in the first three months of 2019, according to campaign disclosure reports. The lawmaker spent more than $69,500 in the same period and had just over $18,000 in cash on hand.
A Republican challenger, state Rep. Randy Feenstra, said earlier this month he had raised more than $261,000 in his bid to unseat King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.
Feenstra announced his campaign in January, lambasting King for his “caustic nature” that had left Iowans “without a seat at the table.”
“We don’t need any more sideshows or distractions,” Feenstra said at the time. “We need to start winning for Iowa’s families.”
Earlier this month, Feenstra praised the “incredible support” of voters, saying he received donations from more than 500 people, most in Iowa.
“Iowa conservatives desperately need a seat at the table in Congress and I am humbled that so many supporters have put their trust in us,” Feenstra told the Sioux City Journal.
King won his ninth term in Congress in November by 3 percentage points. He was stripped of his congressional committee assignments in January amid a growing outcry over his white nationalist views, which culminated in King asking why terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were “offensive.” He has continued to spout hate and to defend himself since.
Last month, King disparaged victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in an attempt to praise his own constituents.
“Here’s what FEMA tells me: ‘We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, who’s gonna help me, who’s gonna help me?’” King said, suggesting the agency preferred to work with Iowans. “They’re just always gratified when they come and see Iowans take care of each other, so that’s a point of pride that spreads across the country.”
In addition to Feenstra, King faces two other GOP primary challengers in 2020.