Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King was defeated on Tuesday night by State Sen. Randy Feenstra in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Iowa’s 4th congressional district.
However, King’s defeat may not be quite as bad as the headlines sound.
King, who served time term’s in office and was first elected back in 2002, has been come under fire several times in recent years for making “racist” comments.
With 98 percent of the vote counted by Wednesday morning, King trailed Feenstra by 7,866 votes, or 45.7 percent to 35.9 percent.
Feenstrea celebrated the victory on Tuesday night after the race was called.
“I said from day one that Iowans deserve a proven, effective conservative leader that will deliver results and I have done that in the Iowa Senate, being in the Iowa Legislature for the last 12 years, and I promise you I will deliver results in Congress,” Feenstra said during a Facebook Live appearance with his family behind him.
The Republican establishment coalesced around Feenstra beginning in January when the Republican Main Street Partnership PAC became the first national GOP organization to publicly endorse and financially support him.
King conceded the race late on Tuesday night.
“I called Randy Feestra a little bit ago and conceded the race to him, and I pointed out that there’s some powerful elements in the swamp and he’s going to have an awfully hard time pushing back against them,” King said, referring to outside groups that spent to support Feenstra and attack King. “He assured me that’s what he would do, and I’m thinking of those super PACs that came into this race and how powerful they are.”
JUST IN: Iowa Rep. Steve King, who was ostracized by Republican congressional leaders after making racist comments, has lost his primary in a major upset, CNN projects https://t.co/1ucQA3UtMa pic.twitter.com/ZlPzeAlsBj
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 3, 2020
BREAKING: Iowa Rep. Steve King loses Republican primary to Randy Feenstra after the party shuns King following white nationalist remarks. https://t.co/38iTZ5J7LT
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 3, 2020
Feenstra had sought to paint King as an ineffective ally to President Donald Trump, and apparently it worked.
President Trump, who did not endorse in the primary, congratulated Feenstra on Wednesday morning.
Congratulations to Randy Feenstra on your big win in the Iowa Republican Primary. You will be a great Congressman!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
According to the Cook Political Report, Feenstra’s victory will likely move the seat into safe Republican territory for the general election in November.
Feenstra will now face Democrat J.D. Schoulten, who lost by 3 percentage points to King in 2018, in November’s general election.
Scholten ran again, unopposed, in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, but his chances are considerably longer against Feenstra given he does not have as much baggage as King.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also had a big night on Tuesday.
Biden added 367 delegates on Tuesday night, bringing his total to 1,921.
Biden needs 1,991 delegates to lock up the Democratic nomination. So, it’s a matter of when, not if, he will secure the nomination.
Bernie Sanders, who quit the race months ago but decided that he wanted to keep his delegates, picked up three delegates, bringing his total to 1,020.