The advantage of incumbency is so strong, it’s rare for a congressional primary to have any real drama. And yet, there were true fireworks in Iowa’s 4th District last week as Republican voters decided to ditch Rep. Steve King, their representative for the last nine terms.
Four Republicans vied to replace King in the ruby-red district. They might have split the vote and effectively reelected King. However, state Sen. Randy Feenstra managed to earn more than 45% of the vote, winning the race decisively.
That outcome was anything but certain. The scant polling that existed was fairly tight and inconclusive in the run-up to the June 2 election. As the race unfolded, it also looked like a test case for whether grassroots Republican voters care who the Washington Republican establishment thinks is suitable to serve in Congress.
Congressional Republicans made it clear that they wanted King gone last year. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stripped King of his House committee assignments after King defended white supremacy in a New York Times interview, which followed on a history of similar troubling incidents. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Main Street Partnership PAC, and the Republican Jewish Coalition all engaged in this race, vocally and unapologetically opposing King.
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