ELECTION 2020

Randy Feenstra not ready to call Joe Biden president-elect

New western Iowa U.S. representative awaits Jan. 6 congressional review

Randy Feenstra speaks to supporters Nov. 3 in Hull after being elected to Congress in Iowa's 4th District in western Iow
Randy Feenstra speaks to supporters Nov. 3 in Hull after being elected to Congress in Iowa’s 4th District in western Iowa. Feenstra said Thursday he is waiting for President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to play out before acknowledging Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect. (Jesse Brothers/Sioux City Journal via AP)

JOHNSTON — Congressman-elect Randy Feenstra said Thursday he is not yet ready to call Joe Biden the U.S. president-elect, given the historic number of early and absentee ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election and President Donald Trump’s legal challenges to the election’s outcome.

“This is the first time ever in our country that we’ve had mail-in ballot predominantly,” Feenstra said during the Thursday taping of “Iowa Press” at Iowa PBS studios.

“So I think we all want to make sure to protect what we have, and there’s still some litigation out there. For me, it’s all about, let’s make sure that litigation is done. And let’s move forward.”

More than 100 million early ballots were cast nationwide in the 2020 general election.

Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, is the newly elected U.S. representative for western Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, the most conservative of the state’s four districts.

Feenstra, a state senator, defeated U.S. Rep. Steve King in the June Republican primary and was elected to succeed King in the November general election.

Feenstra said he is looking forward to Jan. 6, when Congress will receive the Electoral College results.

Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump, the Republican incumbent, in the presidential election in November. But Trump and his allies have mounted dozens of legal challenges to those results, almost all of them rejected by courts, including by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Electoral College this week confirmed the results, with Biden receiving 306 Electoral College votes and Trump 232.

That prompted many Republicans, who had previously held back, to finally say they consider Biden the president-elect.

Feenstra isn’t there yet.

He is one of roughly two dozen House Republicans who signed a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for a House investigation of the 2020 election.

“The great thing about our country is that we have this foundation of this electoral process,” Feenstra said in the taped interview. “And we saw that play out this past Monday when the Electoral College cast their votes. And then we have the opportunity to do that on Jan, 6.”

On other issues, Feenstra said he hopes future COVID-19 pandemic relief bills will include more assistance for small businesses and for businesses and workers in the food supply chain.

He also expressed a desire to rein in federal government spending.

When asked about sustaining the Social Security program long-term, Feenstra said one way to help is by balancing budgets and reducing national debt.

“How you make sure that that system is sustainable is managing your debt and managing your budget. And right now, we have an out-of-control system,” Feenstra said.

“So I’m sort of a fiscal hawk, simply saying you have to control your spending,” he said. “If you control your spending, then you can start making sure that everything else is sustainable, like Social Security and Medicare.”

To watch

This week’s episode of “Iowa Press” will air on Iowa PBS at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday and on Iowa PBS World at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. It also is posted at iowapbs.org/iowapress.

Comments: (563) 333-2659; erin.murphy@lee.net

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