Steve King may be the long-time incumbent in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, but this year, that status has not translated into much support from Republican donors.
Instead, well-known Iowa Republicans with deep pockets are turning to state Sen. Randy Feenstra, one of three Republicans challenging Congressman King to a primary.
In the first quarter of fundraising at the beginning of 2019, Feenstra turned heads by securing a $1,000 donation from former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who now serves as U.S. Ambassador to China.
In the second quarter, spanning April 1 to June 30, Feenstra raised $140,451 compared to King’s $91,536. And in cash-on-hand, King was clobbered. The congressman reported only $18,365 compared to Feenstra’s $337,314.
Jim and Patty Cownie of Des Moines — influential local leaders and the parents of former state Rep. Peter Cownie — poured a combined $5,600 into Feenstra’s campaign in Q2. The philanthropists are well-known Republican donors.
Ankeny real estate developers Dennis and Candy Elwell, of Denny Elwell Company, also contributed the max amount at $5,600.
Chuck Larson, a former state lawmaker and past chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, contributed $1,000; Bruce Rastetter, an “agribusiness mogul” that some say is the biggest GOP donor in the state, put in $2,800; Rastetter’s brother, Brent, contributed $2,500; Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s former chief of staff, donated $1,000; and Kathy Latham, the wife of former Iowa congressman Tom Latham, contributed $500.
Though King remains popular with Republican voters in the 4th District, GOP donors and politicians largely have abandoned him after he was stripped of his committee assignments in the House.
Republicans Bret Richards and Jeremy Taylor, also working to unseat King, ended Q2 with $19,579 and $44,968 in cash-on-hand, respectively.
By Elizabeth Meyer
Photo by Julie Fleming