Is Congressman Steve King at risk of losing reelection? Every single cycle, Democrats hope and pray that this will finally be the year that the reviled Republican will go down in electoral defeat. And every cycle, the conservative lean of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District dashes those hopes.
But this year at least one major political ranking site is starting to see some danger signs for King. The Cook Political Report saw four risk factors for King, which showed he may not be fully prepared in his reelection campaign “to withstand a hostile political environment.”
Cook laid out seven potential risk factors for incumbents – several had to do with past Democratic performance in the district, which obviously didn’t apply to King’s deep-red seat. But he did qualify for some others – King voted for both the Affordable Care Act’s replacement bill and the Republican tax cut plan, both of which poll poorly.
The other two reasons was thanks to one of his potential Democratic challengers, J.D. Scholten. Two of Cook’s other risk factors were an incumbent getting out-raised by a Democratic opponent at the end of last year and one of those opponents having at least $200,000 cash on hand now. Scholten was the only of the three Democrats running for the 4th District who fit that bill.
Scholten raised $174,343 in Q4 of 2017 compared to King’s $87,543. He also out-raised him in Q1 of 2018, bringing in $227,983 to King’s $124,216. And Scholten currently sits on a much larger war-chest than King. He has $271,098 cash on hand compared to King’s $76,034.
King has often been a very poor fundraiser, and most of his donations just go to pay members of his family to (poorly) run his campaign. But as Cook notes, this is not the year for any Republican, even those in as-to-now safe seats, to be caught resting on their laurels.
Of course, Scholten will need to spend a good chunk of that money to first prevail in the Democratic primary on June 5 (though some of that exposure can help for the general). But his campaign has shown that they’re able to quickly refill their bank account with small dollar donations from across the country.
In other 4th District primary news, Scholten received the endorsement of the Asian & Latino Coalition yesterday. They have a decent number of members throughout the district, especially in the Storm Lake area. And Leann Jacobsen was endorsed two weeks ago by former Lt. Governor Sally Pederson.
The 4th District Democrats gather in Ames on Thursday for a major forum.
by Pat Rynard