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.

{mosads}But after four terms representing the conservative western part of Iowa, King faced his toughest Democratic challenge this year in Vilsack, whose husband, Tom Vilsack, is President Obama’s Agriculture secretary and was a popular Iowa governor. 

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. 

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