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Controversial GOP Rep. Steve King gets primary challenger

Iowa Rep. Steve King, one of the most right-wing members of Congress who has attained notoriety for his controversial and white-nationalist positions, is facing a primary challenge in 2020 from state Sen. Randy Feenstra. King fended off a challenge from Democrat J.D. Scholten in 2018, although he won by a narrower margin than he has in the past.

Feenstra argued in his announcement of his primary challenge against King that "Iowa's 4th District doesn't have a voice in Washington, because our current representative's caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table." Indeed, King's history of controversial comments caused the National Republican Congressional Committee to rescind all support for him before the 2018 election, with NRCC chairman Steve Stivers saying in October that King's positions constituted "white supremacy and hate."

King has supported far-right politicians in Europe such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France and autocrat Viktor Orban in Hungary. In August 2018, he gave an interview with an Austrian site affiliated with the country's Freedom Party, which was founded by neo-Nazis. In that interview, he agreed with the idea that white Europeans were being replaced by foreigners and criticized Democratic donor George Soros, who is a common target of anti-Semitism. King also endorsed white nationalist Faith Goldy, who once participated in a neo-Nazi podcast, for mayor of Toronto.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds criticized King in November for controversies about his views on race and ties with people linked white nationalism, CBS affiliate KCCI Des Moines reported.

"I think that Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do something else, and I think he needs to ... he needs to take a look at that," Reynolds said at an event a week after the election.

Reynolds' criticism came after The Weekly Standard released a tape last week that they say shows King, an eight-term congressman who won re-election last week, calling immigrants "dirt."

Several of King's corporate contributors also said they'll no longer donate money to him. Purina Petcare, part of Swiss-based food conglomerate Nestlé S.A., followed Land O'Lakes and Intel in vowing to end campaign contributions to King.

Feenstra said in his announcement that he was a staunch conservative, making the point that this should not be construed as  a challenge from the left. He also referred obliquely to the controversy around King, saying Iowa doesn't "need any more sideshows or distractions."

"What we've seen this past week from the new Democratic majority in Congress is appalling," he said. "The president needs effective conservative leaders in Congress who will not only support his agenda, but actually get things done."

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