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 KingOcasio-Cortez on concentration camp remarks: Liz Cheney, GOP 'manipulating pain for political purposes' Ocasio-Cortez fundraises off criticism from Steve King Ocasio-Cortez calls out Steve King, Liz Cheney amid controversy over concentration camp remarks 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.

"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 TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question 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.