Nine-term Congressman Steve King of Iowa will lose his Republican primary race to state Sen. Randy Feenstra, CNN projected, after King’s racist comments led to his ostracization in Washington and Feenstra mobilized conservative Republicans to his insurgent campaign.
The primary fight was an undeniable referendum on King — not on his conservatism, but on his effectiveness in office. His lack of power, far more than his specific words and history of remarks on race, became a central issue in this year’s race, with opponents arguing that he is unable to represent their views in the House or to the administration.
King, an anti-immigration hardliner, had a well-documented history of controversial statements during his nine terms in office. But only after a New York Times interview in January 2019, in which the congressman questioned how “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” became offensive, did House Republican leaders rebuke him by stripping him of his committee assignments. Last June, the Trump administration barred him from Air Force One when the President visited his state.
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