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ISU Professor Calls PAC Withdrawals "Rare" After Corporations Refuse To Support King In The Future

Clay Masters/IPR file
Rep. King is running for his ninth term in the House.

Three corporations that donate to Republican Congressman Steve King’s campaign have decided not to make future contributions over his comments on race and support of white nationalists. An Iowa State University professor says it’s possible this could affect the 4th Congressional District race.
Dairy food company Land O’Lakes, Inc. said in a statement it’s pulling its support for King because it doesn’t believe King’s values align with its own.

“We take our civic responsibility seriously, want our contributions to be a positive force for good and also seek to ensure that recipients of our contributions uphold our company’s values,” the company said. “On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward.”

The company had contributed $2,500 to King’s campaign between 2017 and 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Purina PetCare and Intel have also pulled their support going forward. A contribution from Purina received by the King campaign Sept. 30, showed they contributed $500, according to the Federal Election Commission. Intel contributed $2,000 between 2017 and 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“In the last days before an election, you don’t really want this kind of negative story about you if you’re a candidate,” said Dave Peterson, a political scientist from Iowa State University.

Peterson said it’s a very unusual scenario to happen this close to an election and the attention from mainstream media to this could be on a lot of voters’ minds next week.

“It’s rare for PACs (political action committees) or other political supporters to actively withdraw their support for a candidate, let alone an incumbent, let alone in the last week of the election,” Peterson said.

On how it could affect voters, Peterson said, "Hearing that [Rep.] Steve King's comments are so outside the bounds of normal politics, that some relatively banal companies are withdrawing their support of him, might give some voters pause who otherwise would've voted for him." 

In addition to the PACs withdrawing their support, Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, condemned King on Twitter Tuesday, calling his recent comments and retweets “completely inappropriate.”

In a statement on Twitter, King said the attacks on his campaign “are orchestrated by nasty, desperate and dishonest fake news. Their ultimate goal is to flip the House and impeach Donald Trump. Establishment Never Trumpers are complicit.”

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.