Nine-term incumbent Republican Steve King was projected to have lost the 2020 Iowa Primary in the 4th Congressional District on June 2.
The call came from Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report just before 11pm Eastern time on election night:
I've seen enough. Rep. Steve King (R) has been defeated in #IA04.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) June 3, 2020
With over 90 percent of the vote reporting just before midnight Eastern, Steve King, first elected in 2002, trailed state Senator Randy Feenstra by a margin of 46 percent to 36 percent. Other Republican contenders included Jeremy Taylor and Bret Richards, both in the single digits.
Election watchers may recall King’s close call in the 2018 House elections. He beat JD Scholten, who will also be the 2020 Democratic nominee, by just three points in a district that Donald Trump carried by 27. After years of controversy, much of which was documented by the New York Times, and too close of a call in the previous election, Republicans came for King and they did not miss.
Fallout from the 2020 Iowa Primary
We previously hedged on Iowa’s 4th District, calling it a strong Republican lean in a presidential year. This was in spite of the fact that King was a damaged candidate, but Democrats would have expanded the map and gone after him. Had Steve King won the primary, our options would have been to keep this a strong lean or demote to a GOP weak lean.
Now that King has lost, we are going to move Iowa-04 to “safe” this week. Us and everybody else, it seems. Feenstra is ideologically in line with this solid Trump district but without King’s baggage. This is the least blue district in Iowa by far and Scholten winning in 2018 would have been more about King than about him, no matter how decent a candidate he may or may not be. Feenstra’s win also frees up Republican bucks and time in the Hawkeye State to focus on other races, like the Iowa Senate race and the other three House seats, all of which were competitive in 2018.
Other Iowa Primary Results
Theresa Greenfield won the Democratic primary to face Joni Ernst (R) in the Senate race. She was projected to win a comfortable victory over Michael Franken.
In the open 2nd District, Mariannette Miller-Meeks won the GOP primary over ex-Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling; she will face Rita Hart (D) in November.
Finally, in the 3rd District, Rep. Cindy Axne (D) is getting a rematch against the man she defeated in 2018, ex-Rep.David Young after the latter easily won the GOP primary.