Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, lost his re-election bid in one of the nation’s most important agricultural districts when he was defeated Tuesday by Randy Feenstra, who argued that the incumbent had lost critical clout when he was stripped of seats on the House Agriculture and Judiciary committees.
Feenstra, a state senator, got 46% of the vote in a five-candidate field to 36% for King.
King’s loss in Iowa’s sprawling 4th District will be a relief to the GOP establishment, which had been embarrassed by racially tinged remarks that eventually led to the loss of his committee assignments.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported Feenstra, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy undercut King by denying last month that he indicated to the nine-term congressman that he could get his committee assignments back.
McCarthy also pointedly refused to take a position on the race when pressed by reporters.
Primary voters also set up general election races in three other Iowa House districts as well as races important to agriculture in New Mexico and Montana.
Iowa Democrats chose Theresa Greenfield to challenge first-term GOP Sen. Joni Ernst. Greenfield, a real estate developer backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, defeated retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken and two other challengers.
Republican voters in New Mexico’s 2nd District chose former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell to run again against first-term Rep Xochitl Torres Small, who joined the House Agriculture Committee earlier this year.
Herrell, who lost to Torres Small 51% to 49% in 2018, on Tuesday defeated Claire Chase, an oil industry executive whose family are pecan producers, in the GOP primary.
In Montana, Kathleen Williams, a former state lawmaker, easily won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday to challenge Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale for the state’s at-large House seat. GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte, who is vacating the House seat, won the GOP nomination for governor.
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In another Iowa House race, Ashley Hinson, a state House member and former Cedar Rapids TV anchor, won the GOP nomination in the 1st District to challenge first-term Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in November.
The race for Iowa’s 2nd District seat, which is being vacated by the retiring Dave Loebsack, will feature Democrat Rita Hart, a former teacher who runs a 200-acre farm with her husband, against GOP state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist who lost three times to Loebsack. Miller-Meeks defeated former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling in the GOP primary.
In the 3rd District, former GOP Rep. David Young easily won the Republican nomination to run against first-term Rep. Cindy Axne, who unseated him in 2018.
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