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Rep. Feenstra officially announces his reelection bid for Iowa's 4th District

Republican State Sen. Randy Feenstra is running to represent Iowa's 4th Congressional District.
Courtesy of Feenstra For Congress Facebook page
Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra officially announced Wednesday he's is running for reelection in Iowa's 4th Congressional District.

Iowa Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra has formally announced he is running for reelection in the state’s 4th District, as was widely expected. A former college professor and state senator, Feenstra has been endorsed by the state’s leading Republicans.

Officially launching his reelection bid Wednesday, Feenstra says he wants to continue advocating for agricultural interests and “conservative values” in Washington D.C.

“With the support of my family and friends, and through prayerful consideration, I launched my first campaign for Congress because we needed a conservative leader to deliver results for Iowa,” Feenstra said in a written statement.

“In just our first 10 months in Congress, we’ve restored Iowa’s seat on the House Agriculture Committee, passed needed disaster relief for our farmers, promoted our biofuels, passed legislation to stop the Chinese Communist party from stealing our taxpayer funded research, defended our conservative values and fought against the advance of socialism in America,” the statement continues.

A native of Hull in Sioux County, Feenstra was first elected to Congress in 2020 after he primaried longtime Rep. Steve King, after King was removed from his committee assignments for making racist comments.

King, who served nine terms in Congress, had a long history of espousing bigoted, racist and ant-immigrant views and for promoting white nationalists at home and abroad.

It was King’s statements to the New York Times in 2019 questioning how the terms white nationalist and white supremacist became offensive that lead to him being stripped of his committee assignments.

In 2020, Feenstra beat King by 10 points for the Republican nomination. Feenstra then won election by 24 points against Democratic challenger J.D. Schoelten, a former baseball player and paralegal who came within a mere 3 percentage points of ousting King in 2018.

Before his time in Congress, Feenstra served as a local government administrator, county treasurer and business executive. He also taught business and economics classes at Dordt University in Sioux Center and served three terms in the state Senate.

While in Congress, Feenstra has sponsored seven bills, including measures dealing with biofuels and the detention of undocumented immigrants charged with a crime that resulted in the death or serious injury of others.

Feenstra, along with Iowa’s entire congressional delegation, did vote to accept then President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win over former President Donald Trump, following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by Trump supporters.

Feenstra initially made some sympathetic comments about the crowds who rallied in D.C., who were driven by conspiracy theories and disinformation leveled by Trump and condoned by top Republican leaders.

Feenstra told KCRG that a “wonderful group” of peaceful protestors “got carried away” that day.

“We had just a wonderful group over the last 24 hours to protest peacefully,” Feenstra said. “Obviously, in the last 4-6 hours, that changed dramatically. And that’s just tragic. It’s unfortunate. We live in this free country that we have freedoms and liberties, freedom of speech specifically, and this group got carried away. And it’s just sad. It’s a very sad day for our country to see anarchy occur and tearing down and breaking our Capitol.”

Feenstra has been endorsed by Iowa’s leading Republicans, including Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, as well as a slate of state lawmakers.

National Republicans seen as laying the groundwork for a potential 2024 bid for president have also endorsed Feenstra, including former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.

No Democrats have announced plans to run against Feenstra in the reliably Republican district.

With Iowa’s congressional redistricting process still underway, it’s not yet clear exactly what the makeup of the 4th District will be. The Iowa Legislative Services Agency is slated to release the second round of proposed maps on Thursday.

As has been the case in years past, the district is expected to cover a broad swath of northwestern and north central Iowa, characterized by sprawling hog and cattle feedlots, food processing operations, small cities and rural areas, many of which have been losing population for years.

The district is also expected to include some of the most racially diverse communities in the state, such as Storm Lake and Denison, where the Latino population has grown dramatically in recent years.

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter