The Iowa congressman has long been one of the more outspoken House Republicans, and is known for his socially conservative stands on issues like abortion and being a hardliner on immigration. King also strongly opposed the Democratic healthcare overhaul.
Republicans spent money to boost King after Iowa lost a seat in the House and King’s seat became a lighter shade of red in the redistricting process.
King also had to beat back criticism from Vilsack over the farm bill after the most recent five-year farm bill expired at the end of September.
The Senate passed a farm bill earlier this year, but the House has yet to pass a measure of its own, and the two chambers have sparred over how to bring relief to farms stricken by drought.
With a rural district that leans right, Vilsack also avoided some of the social issues, like abortion, that appear to have helped Democrats in more suburban and urban areas.