Steve King, the white supremacist congressman from Iowa, was defeated in a shocking Republican primary Tuesday, bringing an end to the long legislative career of one of Washington’s most explicit bigots.
Former Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated King to earn the GOP nomination for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, according to The New York Times. Feenstra will now face Democrat J.D. Scholten in the general election this November.
“I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support over the past 17 months that made tonight possible and I thank Congressman King for his decades of public service,” Feenstra said in a statement Tuesday night. “As we turn to the General Election, I will remain focused on my plans to deliver results for the families, farmers and communities of Iowa. But first, we must make sure this seat doesn’t land in the hands of Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies in Congress.”
King spent nine terms in Congress and became notorious for his comments about Latinos, Muslims, Blacks and queer people. While a close ally and supporter of President Donald Trump, King had a falling out with the GOP rank-and-file last year after making remarks condoning white supremacy.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King told The New York Times during a January interview about immigration. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Republican leadership in the House took the extraordinary step of stripping King of his committee seats as punishment for the comments.
In 2018, a series of reports by HuffPost and other news outlets exposed the depths of King’s white supremacy.
HuffPost found that King had traveled to Austria and gave an in-person interview with a neo-fascist publication in which he discussed the “Great Replacement,” a white nationalist conspiracy theory.
King also made headlines for repeatedly promoting neo-Nazis on Twitter and for endorsing a white nationalist candidate for mayor of Toronto.
In November 2018, King eked out a general election victory against Scholten, the Democrat, by only 3 percentage points. King had routinely won reelection in his deeply conservative district by over 20 points.
A powerful coalition of GOP figures, fearing King was a political liability for the party, put money into boosting Feenstra’s campaign.