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Congressman Steve King Not Worried About Current Fundraising

Clay Masters / IPR File
King raised more than $3.7 million in the 2012 election, which he says is a fundraising record for Republican congressional candidates in Iowa. He says he doesn’t ask for money unless he needs it.";

Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King currently has less money to spend on his campaign than his Republican primary challengers, but King says he isn’t worried as he vies for a 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics reported June 30 shows that King has raised more than $153,000 so far for the 2020 election. One of his primary opponents, Republican State Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull, has so far raised close to $250,000 more than King. And Feenstra has an edge in cash on hand: close to $320,000 more than King. King's other two primary challengers, Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor and former Irwin mayor Bret Richards, also have more cash on hand than King, though they are both behind him in the amount of money raised.

King says other candidates’ fundraising and cash on hand doesn’t bother him.

“What I have is more votes that have been racked up over history for the least amount of money for anybody that’s run for Congress in modern history, at least in Iowa,” King told Iowa Public Radio.

King raised more than $3.7 million in the 2012 election, which he says is a fundraising record for Republican congressional candidates in Iowa. He added he doesn’t ask for money unless he needs it.

Feenstra touted his fundraising lead over King in an August email, which said he has "dominated Congressman King in fundraising since announcing his candidacy, currently holding an 18-to-1 cash on hand advantage."

King said his challengers "like to make this all about the money they have now, but it's not about that."

"It's about the votes that go into the bank on Election Day," King said.

The Republican congressman who represents Iowa's 4th Congressional District in northwest and west-central Iowa held his 37th town hall of the year Friday in the city of Onawa in western Iowa’s Monona County. Among topics that came up were trade, the Environmental Protection Agency’s small refinery exemptions and the 2019 Missouri River flooding, which affected communities in his district, including Hornick and Missouri Valley.

King said he is working to put together an area meeting to discuss what communities can do to better protect themselves from future flooding. He also talked about looking more closely at federal and local levees.

“If we have [U.S. Army] Corps [of Engineers] levees that aren’t repaired and we get high runoff, that means that nobody else's levees can hold, because you’ve got all that water pushed on you from the Corps,” King said.

Because congressional boundaries were redrawn in 2010 and King no longer represents southwest Iowa where historic flooding happened this past spring, King said “our communication isn’t the same."

“So I need to figure out how to do a better job on the south side of the line to help tie us all together,” King said. “And that’s one of the things we’re going to try to do when we get this meeting set up and I expect we will get it done.”

A date has not been set for the meeting, but King said it could happen this month. 

Mayor Scott Mitchell of Hornick, who attended the Onawa town hall, said he’s all for the idea of people from up and down the Missouri River getting together. Earlier this year, Iowa's Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst held a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works field hearing with the Corps on flood control. The Corps itself has been holding weekly calls with congressional staff, local and state officials and media to update them on the Missouri River basin conditions and levee repairs.

“We can stand here all day long and say [flooding] isn’t going to happen again, but we all know it’s going to,” Mitchell said. “So anything we can do to help stop or help control it is going to be a good thing.”

The Corps announced Thursday that it plans to keep dam releases high for the next several months because of high runoff predictions. Officials are forecasting runoff for the Upper Missouri River Basin above Sioux City will reach 54.6 million acre feet this year. This would be the second highest amount of runoff in the 121 years the Corps has kept records, if it’s reached.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.