Iowa's GOP governor won't endorse Steve King in 2020 primary

Iowa's GOP governor won't endorse Steve King in 2020 primary
© Greg Nash

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) won’t endorse Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWhy the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy MSNBC's Donny Deutsch: 'Pathetic' Republicans who stormed closed hearing are 'boring, nerdy-looking white guys' Overnight Defense: Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey | 'Small number' of troops to remain by Syrian oil fields | Defense official's impeachment testimony delayed five hours after Republicans storm secure room MORE (R-Iowa), who faces a contested Republican primary in 2020, according to WHO-DT in Des Moines.

Reynolds, who has been critical of King since his narrow reelection in November, said she’ll remain neutral in the 2020 primary. The Iowa congressman served as one of Reynolds’s campaign co-chairs for her 2018 reelection race.

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"The last election was a wake-up call for it to be that close," Reynolds told the local TV station in an interview. "That indicates that it does open the door for other individuals to take a look at that.

"I will stay out of the primary. I'm not going to weigh in."

King, a conservative immigration hard-liner, has gotten into hot water for making racially charged comments and publicly supporting a white nationalist candidate. That’s prompted deep criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

State Sen. Randy Feenstra (R) announced on Wednesday that he’ll run against King in the GOP primary for his northwest Iowa seat.

Matt Leopold, who is a media contact for Feenstra’s nascent campaign, served as Reynolds’s political director for part of the governor’s 2018 campaign, according to Iowa Starting Line.

“Today, Iowa’s 4th District doesn’t have a voice in Washington, because our current representative’s caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table,” Feenstra said in a Wednesday statement. “We don’t need any more sideshows or distractions, we need to start winning for Iowa’s families.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE easily carried Iowa’s 4th District by more than 27 points in 2016. But King, who’s been in Congress since 2003, narrowly fended off defeat in the 2018 midterms against Democrat J.D. Scholten.

Jeff King, the congressman's son and his campaign manager, responded to Feenstra’s primary challenge, arguing that it’s an “obvious attempt to undermine an effective and leading congressional ally” of the president.

"Today, misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers, has revealed that Mr. Feenstra is easily swayed by the lies of the Left. Today’s announcement by Feenstra is the third attempt by the establishment in as many primary cycles to take the 4th District out of the hands of grassroots Republicans,” he said in a statement.