Citing concerns for her personal safety, Iowa Democrat Kim Weaver announced that she is dropping out of the 2018 race against Republican Steve King. The two Iowans were set to battle for the state’s 4th Congressional District, in a repeat of last year’s election. In that election, King handily defeated Weaver by more than 80,000 votes.
In announcing her decision to withdraw from the race, Weaver revealed that the threats against her began during last year’s election cycle.
“One consideration has been raised again by recent events at my home. Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats. While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.”
Weaver’s statement, which she released on her Facebook fan page, also revealed other issues that had influenced her decision.
“Above this, my personal health is an issue. In order to sufficiently devote myself to the campaign, I would have to quit my job and shift to campaigning full-time. With recent legislation on health insurance, I must admit that the possibility of seeking a new job after the election exposes too much of a risk for me in not being able to secure health insurance.”
In addition to her concern that she would not be able to obtain health insurance should she lose to King, Weaver explained that her mother’s health had weighed heavily on her mind. Weaver felt that she would be unable to commit to the level of intensity required to run a campaign, while also being available for her mother.
“Considering this, along with the time and energy it takes to succeed as a candidate, I realize that I can’t fully commit to both.”
In making the decision to withdraw from the race, Weaver also revealed that she would be moving out of Iowa’s 4th District. However, she hoped that the district would be able to come together to defeat Steve King. Weaver pledged the funds that her campaigned had raised towards the goal of opposing King.
“Although I’m stepping down as a candidate, I still passionately support the defeat of Steve King. I will remain a part of the effort for a future candidate in this district, as well as help to elect a Democratic Governor and other Democrats across Iowa.”
Weaver reiterated that her goal has, was, and always will be unseating the provocative politician.
“We’ve started a significant movement in this district, and it’s important to see that progress continue. I’ve said from the beginning that this isn’t about me–it’s about unseating Steve King and gaining real representation for the 4th District of Iowa.”
Steve King, who is seeking his ninth term representing Iowa, is considered a controversial figure in Washington, D.C.
In 2014, King, who is known for his strong, anti-immigration stance, drew the ire of then-Speaker of the House John Boehner for disparaging remarks he made to Newsmax about Hispanics.
“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Boehner called King’s remarks “hateful” and “ignorant,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
“What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party. And we all need to do our work in a constructive, open and respectful way.”
However, King has not backed down from courting controversy. Earlier this year, NBC News reported that the Republican tweeted support for an anti-immigration Dutch politician. King’s Twitter antics led to rebuking from party leaders in Iowa.
Kim Weaver’s goal to see someone unseat Steve King may be a high hurdle to jump. In that same NBC News report, the outlet pointed out that King remains extremely popular in his district. During last year’s election cycle, local reporter Douglas Burns penned the headline “King could use N-word daily, still get reelected here.” When asked if he still believed the sentiment, Burns confirmed that he did.
Steve King took to Twitter after Kim Weaver announced that she withdrawing from the race for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. However, King’s tweet aimed to cast doubt on Weaver’s claim that she had received death threats.
Weaver finished her announcement by thanking her family, friends, campaign staffers, and her supporters. She signed off with another call to unseat King.
“I humbly ask for your support and understanding during this difficult time, as well as your continued support with the effort to unseat Steve King.”
So far, no one has announced if they will take up Kim Weaver’s mission on the Democratic side, but Republican Paul Lunde has announced that he will challenge the incumbent during the GOP primary early next year.
[Featured Image by Kim Weaver/Facebook]