Controversial Republican Steve King appears to be facing a stiff challenge from his own party to hold on to his seat.
As The Hill reported, a number of top GOP figures and conservative groups have supported a primary challenger aiming to knock the Iowa congressman off the ballot in the June 2 primary. King has generated plenty of controversy for his views on race and immigration, and party leaders — including strategist Karl Rove — are supporting businessman Randy Feenstra in an effort to take down King.
The report noted that a number of national groups have also funneled money into the campaign to defeat King, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Realtors, and the super PAC Defending Main Street. The report added that King’s challenger has the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee and Republican Jewish Coalition.
Internal polling showed that the two were in a statistical tie, and Rove told The Hill that he believes it would be good for the party as a whole if King were to lose.
“Yes [Feenstra can win] and I think it’s important for the GOP that he does,” Rove said. “All the ugly, bigoted things Steve King says results in mud thrown on every other Republican.”
King comes from a Republican-leaning district, but faced his toughest challenge in 2018 when he won the seat with 50.4 percent of the vote over Democrat J.D. Scholten.
As The Inquisitr reported last year, King was removed from committee assignments after controversial comments questioning why terms like “white supremacist” would be considered offensive. King, who had frequently been accused by critics of using racially inflammatory language and echoing rhetoric of white nationalist groups, said he did not believe these terms were out of bounds.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked in an interview with The New York Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
King defended the comments amid the controversy they caused, saying he was not racist and claiming that his remarks were misinterpreted. But the House still voted for a resolution that disapproved of the controversial remarks.
This came after a series of other controversial incidents, including a meeting that King held with members of a far-right Austrian political party with ties to neo-Nazi organizations. King spoke at the time of a “great replacement,” which is a phrase that white nationalist groups had used in sharing the idea that white people were being replaced by Jews and minority groups.