DES MOINES, Iowa–2020 is not 2018. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds chose U.S. Representative Steve King, 4th District Congressman from Kiron, to serve as one of her ceremonial campaign co-chairs in the 2018 re-election. But she told Channel 13 Wednesday that she will not endorse King in his primary election in 2020.
"The last election was a wake-up call for it to be that close," Reynolds said during an interview in her formal office at the Iowa Statehouse, "That indicates that it does open the door for other individuals to take a look at that."
King won re-election in 2018. But despite a nearly 70,000 registered voter advantage that Republicans have over Democrats in the district, King only beat his Democratic challenger, former professional baseball player J.D. Scholten, by three points.
"I will stay out of the primary," the governor said, "I'm not going to weigh in."
The revelation by Reynolds follows critical comments she made about King following the November election when she said, "I think that Steve King needs to make a decision whether he wants to represent the values of the 4th District or he needs to find something else to do."
King has faced criticism in the past for endorsing a white supremacist mayoral candidate in Toronto last year and comments about immigrants.
Tuesday morning, three-term State Senator Randy Feenstra, a Hull Republican, announced that he would run for King's seat in 2020.
"The President needs effective conservative leaders in Congress who will not only support his agenda, but actually get things done,” Feenstra said in a statement. “Today, Iowa’s 4th District doesn’t have a voice in Washington, because our current representative’s caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table. We don’t need any more sideshows or distractions, we need to start winning for Iowa’s families,” the statement also said.
King's son, Jeff, who serves as the Congressman's campaign manager, responded, "Today, misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers, has revealed that Mr. Feenstra is easily swayed by the lies of the Left. Today’s announcement by Feenstra is the third attempt by the establishment in as many primary cycles to take the 4th District out of the hands of grassroots Republicans. Further, it’s an obvious attempt to undermine an effective and leading Congressional ally of the President’s whom Trump frequently refers to as ‘the world’s most conservative human being.’ From his statements, it appears that Mr. Feenstra offers Republican voters nothing but warmed over talking points from liberal blogs and failed Democratic candidates.”