Hours before winning a ninth term in Congress, embattled Iowa Republican Steve King barred the state’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, from covering his election night event, calling the paper a “leftist propaganda media outlet.”
The Associated Press reports that King ultimately beat Democratic newcomer J.D. Scholten, despite condemnation from his own party over his support of white supremacist groups and leaders.
Afterward, the Register’s opinion editors declared in a headline: “Iowa’s national embarrassment continues, for now, as Steve King wins.”
It’s disappointing to many both inside and outside his district that this longstanding embarrassment to Iowa didn’t end Tuesday. We are weary of his hurtful, divisive rhetoric against other people. It’s disingenuous to condemn undocumented immigrants when agriculture in his district depends on their labor and towns have been revitalized by their presence.
The Register’s editorial board had endorsed Scholten, writing: “This one’s a no-brainer for any Iowan who has cringed at eight-term incumbent King’s increasing obsession with being a cultural provocateur. … We endorse [Scholten] not just as an antidote for King’s virulent xenophobia but as a promising new leader.”
King has come under increasing scrutiny for his inflammatory rhetoric on race and immigration as well as what critics say is his embrace of white nationalism. He was favored to win reelection, although his recent actions — including his endorsement of a white nationalist candidate for Toronto mayor and his meeting with members of a far-right Austrian party with historical Nazi ties — earned him rebukes from the Anti-Defamation League, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and others.
On Monday, King again raised eyebrows when he stated at a campaign event that he hopes Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor “will elope to Cuba.”