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Congressman Steve King Says He’s Ready For Primary Debates

Clay Masters
Iowa 4th District Republican Rep. Steve King speaks at a town hall at the Franklin County Courthouse in Hampton, Iowa on Friday.

Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King says he's ready for primary debates if the time comes.

“If there are debates… I’m ready,” King told Iowa Public Radio after a town hall in Hampton on Friday. “I spend every day getting ready for them. I don’t have to go prep for them or read up. It’s what I do every day.”

King already faces three challengers in next year’s primary election in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. The sprawling 39-county district covers northwest and north-central Iowa, including the cities of Sioux City, Ames and Mason City.

King has raised far less than his most prominent Republican challenger, state Sen. Randy Feenstra from Hull. In June, Feenstra stepped down from chairing the senate Ways and Means Committee to focus on his primary challenge against King. Former Gov. Terry Branstad has contributed to Feenstra’s campaign.

Woodbury County Board of Supervisor Jeremy Taylor and former Irwin Mayor Bret Richards are also running in the primary.

King says the challengers have “every right to run” but he made a promise when he was first elected in 2002.

“If you elect me to this job I will use this seat to move the political center to the right,” King says. “Whether they’re Democrats, Republicans or no-party, they all know that I’ve kept my word.”

King was stripped of his committee assignments in January after comments published in the New York Times where he questioned why the phrases “white nationalist, white supremacist and Western civilization” had become offensive. King says the comments were a misquote.

King faced his toughest re-election challenge in 2018. He defeated first-time Democratic candidate J.D. Scholten by 3 points.

Scholten hasn’t said whether or not he intends to run for the seat again.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.