Ding Ding! The Most Racist Member of Congress Just Got Beat.

Iowa will have to make do without Steve King.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, listens to a question during a news conference, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. King affirmed his belief that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. King faced criticism for his comment Aug. 14 that questioned whether there would be "any population of the world left" if not for births due to rape and incest. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Next January, for the first time in years, the most racist man in Congress will be someone other than Steve King. The nine-term Iowa Republican congressman, an anti-immigrant conservative who was stripped of his committee assignments by his own party after defending white nationalism in the New York Times, was defeated by state Sen. Randy Feenstra in Tuesday’s primary.

King’s overt racism made him a notorious figure on Capitol Hill, and was the justification for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision to remove him from the House agriculture and judiciary committees in January of 2019. But his views were never a secret, and as I wrote earlier today, Republicans in Washington never seemed to have much of a problem with him until it looked like he might finally cost them a seat, and Republicans in Iowa stayed on board until he was no longer capable of doing the job:

There is something fitting about the career of a racist Congress member perhaps crashing to a halt amid a national protest against racism. (King’s contribution to the protest discourse is, predictably, a lot of memes.) But if King loses his job, it won’t be because of what he believes. If Republicans in Iowa and elsewhere had a problem with King’s racism before, they mostly kept it to themselves—Feenstra himself once told King’s son (who is also King’s campaign manager) that he would never think of running against the Congress member. As someone who represented more Republican voters than anyone else in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, King was someone ambitious politicians had to suck up to, to praise on the stump or go duck hunting with. Ted Cruz made King his presidential campaign’s national co-chair. They put up with his little replicas of the fence, his comments about immigrant kids with “calves the size of cantaloupes,” his complaints about multiculturalism and replacement theory, his fraternizing with European bigots. First he came for the Mexicans, and then Chuck Grassley endorsed him.

Feenstra, like King, is pro-Trump, pro-wall, and doggedly anti-abortion—and unless Kevin McCarthy threatens to blacklist him, he’ll head into the fall as the favorite against populist Democrat J.D. Scholten.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate