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Public perception of Iowa damaged by King
U.S. Rep. Steve King got more infamous while I was gone on vacation. He was one of the dominant story lines for a couple of national news cycle. It was his racist white supremacist comments that continued to bring the heat. He is the product of the openness that I believe was encouraged by Donald Trump for racist white supremacists to come out of the closet, making their views public. King's promotion of white supremacy as being politically correct is not working out all that well for him. Condemnations of his comments had gotten so hot that he went to the House floor to try to fend off potential censure and loss of committee assignments as Republicans try to disassociate themselves from him. His effort failed.
After the election, which he only narrowly won this time after previous historically large majorities, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, also a Republican, told King that he needed to decide if he was going to represent his district or his ideology. He had chosen to promote his ideology and his district is suffering. He is now the least effective member of Congress. Reynolds said that she would not endorse him in the 2020 primary. He has been ostracized by GOP party leadership, his seniority has been destroyed, any bill that he sponsors is dead before arrival and he is just done in Congress. He can no longer effectively represent our district.
This has Republicans alarmed that he reflects so poorly on the party that they will lose his seat, the last U.S. congressional seat held by a Republican in Iowa after the midterm election. They now want him gone and to that end he is already attracting what will be top tier primary challenges that are getting party support. Republican State Sen. Randy Feenstra who is chairman of the Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee and Bret Richards who is a businessman and professor at Creighton University have announced to run in the 2020 primary against King. I expect there will be more.
I had friends tell me that they still voted for King because they would not vote for a democrat. The district is heavily weighted toward GOP registrations. I had a problem with that, failing to see how our commercial interests are served by supporting a heretic over a democrat but I am not an ideologue. I am not a Democrat either, but hardly saw the last challenger, J.D. Scholten, as being worse than a racist washed up has-been, which is what King had become. In fact, I advised JDS on agriculture issues and found him to be quite competent.
One way or the other, King has got to go. One answer to that problem will be the GOP primary. It will give those voters the opportunity to rebuke a racist and still vote for a Republican. Then they have no excuse for voting for a racist. King was feeling the heat this time as it motivated his speech on the House floor during which, for the first time, he tried to walk back his racist comments but was unsuccessful in doing so. He can't help himself as it is ingrained in him. Before, he was always defiant, unrepentantly doubling down. This time even Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, condemned King. That was good ... but it came way too late. Nothing really changed in his latest comments promoting white supremacy from what he had said pre-election but they conveniently waited until he narrowly won his seat again before taking him to task for his racist stance.
King always attributes criticism to "liberals" but this time it was led by many leaders and former colleagues of his own party because they now see him as a liability for all of them. The GOP congressional campaign said they would not help him in the primary. I am usually out ahead on these things and I was, concerning King. I supported Rick Bertrand in a previous Republican primary challenge of King that was unsuccessful. Back then the governor, senators and such supported King so that is what has now changed. They regret that now.
It would be best for the GOP for King to resign his seat. The bottom line is that this district could sorely use an effective representative. It currently has none. The general public perception of Iowa has been damaged by King. Public companies wonder what kind of people send a racist to Congress to represent them and are therefore leery of associating commercially with this district. That costs us. There is just no way that he can resurrect his role in representing this district effectively again. He has so crapped in our nest in Washington that no one will have anything to do with him and that means that our interests will suffer there. This was entirely unnecessary.
He rebuffed contact with dairies seeking his help with labor problems, did nothing to help the ethanol industry which has been under attack by the Trump EPA and did nothing to weigh in on trade policies impacting agriculture. Being a member of Congress was all about the culture war to him and getting on cable TV to promote the benefits of western civilization and the damage he claims is done from diversity. He is feeling threatened by the browning of America and worked to create fear over immigration and border issues to motivate his evangelical support.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by removing him from office. I have been frustrated that it took Republicans this long to come around to that conclusion.