Friday night, President Trump tweeted his endorsements of Ashley Hinson and David Young, who are competing in primary elections in Iowa’s third and first Congressional districts. But Trump said nothing about Iowa’s lone Congressional Republican: nine-term incumbent Steve King.
The silence is deafening, as they say. That Trump would weigh in on two open primaries but stay silent on Iowa’s only Congressional incumbent tells Iowans all they need to know about where the President is on this race. If he was behind King, it would be easy and expected for him to say so.
Trump isn’t alone in turning away from King. As we reported earlier this week, many Iowa Republicans believe it’s time to move on to someone who can be more effective.
Ramona Nitz, a King supporter for over 17 years and former County GOP chairwoman, said she is not supporting King anymore. “Steve King let us down,” she said. “Right now, he’s our only Republican in Congress, and if he makes it through the primary, I think there is a really good chance he’ll lose it for us. If that happens, not only have we let ourselves down, but we’ve also let Iowa conservatives down.
Asked why he continues to run when he’s in this situation, she replied, “He doesn’t want to go out like this, so he’s running a campaign about him, and that’s not right, this and every campaign should be a campaign about us, the people.”
“We’ve had his back for years and years,” she said becoming emotional, “and now that it’s clear that he has permanently lost his committee assignments and could very well lose this seat, he should step aside”.
Polls show that Trump is extremely popular in Iowa’s fourth district. In 2018, Gov. Kim Reynolds won the 4th district by 21 points as King eked out a three point win.
Many Republicans are concerned that King’s underperformance will be a drag on the ticket in an election where both Sen. Joni Ernst and President Trump are counting on huge margins in the district. Trump’s refusal to endorse King might be the final nail in King’s political coffin.