State Senator Randy Feenstra announced today that his campaign has recruited over 600 county chairs. Feenstra is running to unseat Congressman Steve King in Iowa’s fourth congressional district. The announcement from the campaign adds over 100 new county chairs to their grassroots team. It announced its first 500 county chairs last fall. Iowa’s fourth congressional district comprises of 39 counties, mainly in western and north-central Iowa. It is a deeply conservative area.
Representative Steve King has a history of making controversial and offensive comments. In January of 2019, GOP House Leadership stripped King of his committee assignments, essentially neutering King of any role in congress besides floor voting. This removal of his assignments was a direct result of a New York Times interview that suggested King did not find the terms White Nationalist and White Supremacist offensive. King has consistently denied he said this and claims he was taken out of context.
Feenstra has been campaigning hard to unseat King. The campaign touts its fundraising as a testament to its success. They note that the campaign has consistently outraised King in every quarter since the start of the primary campaign. In their 3rd quarter Fundraising reports, Feenstra’s campaign holds a 10 to 1 COH advantage over King.
Many of the individuals on the county chair list were former Steve King supporters. They are not alone. Bob Vander Platts, former gubernatorial candidate, and Former Governor Terry Branstad are supporting Feenstra’s campaign to unseat King. Both were previous King endorsers. Branstad served previously as King’s campaign co-chair. In 2016, Gov. Kim Reynolds, Senator Joni Ernst, and Senator Chuck Grassley all endorsed Steve King. This year, none of them have. It also appears that he is not on excellent terms with the White House. CNN reported last summer that King was not allowed to ride on Air Force One to Iowa, a customary gesture usually afforded members of congress.
However, the power of incumbency is strong in Iowa, and King has been in congress for over 15 years. It will be interesting to see if Feenstra’s endorsements and money will be enough to unseat King. Whoever wins the primary will likely face Democrat J.D. Scholten. In 2018, Scholten came Just 3% shy of beating King in the General Election.