New ratings recently released on the competitiveness of U.S. House districts reflect positive momentum for Democrat J.D. Scholten and spell trouble for Congressman Steve King.
Inside Elections moved the race for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District from “Lean Republican” to “Tilt Republican.”
“With a combination of Republicans’ self-inflicted wounds, slow recruiting or suburbs continuing to shift against the president, Democratic chances of winning have improved in a dozen House races,” reported Nathan Gonzales, in a Monday article for Roll Call.
King has represented the conservative, western Iowa district since 2003. He historically has won there by double-digit margins, but in 2018, Scholten came within about 3.5 percentage points of unseating the far-right congressman.
“This seat is winnable,” said Scholten, Tuesday in a statement. “These rating changes in our favor prove what we’ve long known and what we’ve been seeing on the ground: if you show up, prove that you’re honest and trustworthy, and that you’re fighting for the people, you’ll earn support.”
King has largely fallen out of favor with the Republican establishment since winning reelection last year. In January, he lost his committee assignments in the House after asking a reporter why white nationalism was offensive. In August, he came under renewed nationwide scrutiny for questioning whether modern civilization would exist without rape and incest.
And in November, King shared fake news articles asserting George Soros’ son was the federal government whistleblower who spoke out against President Donald Trump.
The congressman has lagged significantly in fundraising behind his top primary challenger, state Sen. Randy Feenstra, and has failed to net major endorsements. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said she will not endorse anyone in that race.
Scholten, of Sioux City, launched his second bid for the 4th District seat in August.
Since then, he has held a series of town hall meetings in communities with 1,000 people or less, in an effort to be more competitive in rural Iowa.
“Our race is far from over, but we’re incredibly grateful for the hard work of our supporters and volunteers and we’ll continue to put miles on Sioux City Sue to meet with, listen to, and learn from every voter in this district regardless of their political affiliation,” Scholten said. “We’re just getting started.”
By Elizabeth Meyer