King: Seats could 'upgrade' to stauncher conservatives

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Friday some seats currently held by the GOP could stand to be “upgraded” with a more constitutional conservative. 

The staunchly conservative congressman from Iowa said he would, however, put his energy on conservative candidates in open but contested Republican primaries.  

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“There are a lot of open seats out there with contested primaries, where we can bring resources and leverage to get behind the candidate that's a solid constitutional conservative candidate,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.” “That's where I intend to put my energy. And we can always — every party can upgrade some of the seats that they have.”

King was asked about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has said he would likely stay out of incumbent GOP primaries but has not wholly ruled out participation. In the past, Cruz has helped raise money for a group that has challenged a number of incumbent Republicans.  

King said he would like for Senate Republicans to take the House’s lead in regard to becoming more conservative.  

“I'd like to see it happen in the Republican conference in the United States Senate,” he said. “And we've watched as the House itself has moved to the right as a lot of blue dog Democrats, relatively moderate Democrats, were defeated because of ObamaCare and replaced by conservative Republicans.”

King named a number of GOP healthcare ideas to replace ObamaCare but said the goal of the party — which does not control the Senate or the presidency — should be to “stop bad ideas.”

“When we win majority in the Senate and we have a president that will sign it, then we'll go back to passing legislation that's good for the country again,” he said. “That's a cycle.”

He claimed Republicans got “rolled” by the passage of the healthcare law in 2010 because they were not successful enough in their obstruction, maintaining it would have no chance of passage today.  

“We just weren't successful enough in obstructing its passage,” he said.