U.S. Rep. Steve King, an eight-term Republican who spent the last days of his campaign defending his inflammatory remarks about diversity and support for far-right political candidates, appears to have survived in Iowa’s 4th District.
Late Tuesday, NBC News projected that King would defeat Democrat J.D. Scholten in the district, the most Republican of the state’s four congressional districts.
Scholten, a Sioux City native who played professional baseball before starting a career as a paralegal, had run a spiriting campaign, seeking an unprecedented upset in a conservative Northwest Iowa district that would have reverberated nationally.
Scholten, 38, said he “was so damn proud” of his campaign team and for pushing the race to the point King was on the defensive.
“No one gave us a shot when we started. We will accept the outcome, whatever happens,” Scholten said before NBC made its call.
At his watch party earlier Tuesday night at a Sioux City hotel, King said “guarded optimism” summed up his summary of the latest call on any of his congressional races.
“I like suspense. I am getting my fill,” King said.
King, 69, drew widespread criticism for his endorsement in October of Faith Goldy, a white nationalist candidate for mayor of Toronto. Last week, he again defended his recent overseas trip to meet with members of a right-wing Austrian group with historic ties to the Nazi Party.
In an unprecedented move, Rep. Steve Sivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, rebuked King for inappropriate actions and remarks related to white supremacy.
King, who argues Judeo-Christian traditions laid the foundation for Western Civilization, pushed back against claims he was racist.
The 4th District covers 39 counties in northwest and north-central Iowa.
3RD HOUSE DISTRICT
Newcomer Cindy Axne held a sizable lead Tuesday night over two-term Republican David Young in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, with almost half the precincts reporting.
She was widely projected to win the race.
Axne, 53, a Democrat from West Des Moines and a small-business owner, made health care the cornerstone of her campaign. Though a political newcomer, she far outperformed Young in fundraising.
Young, 50, a Republican from Van Meter and former chief of staff for Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, was first elected to the seat in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. He focused on deregulation, tax cuts, workforce issues and fair trade.
Libertarian candidate Bryan Jack Holder and three other candidates appeared on the 3rd District ballots.
Political analysts and polls had called the race a tossup leading into the election.
The district has nearly equal numbers of Democratic, Republican and independent voters.
It covers 16 counties in southwest, south-central and central Iowa and includes the cities of Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Atlantic.