While acknowledging that the important work of ridding Congress of racist lawmakers is far from finished, progressives celebrated the ouster of white supremacist Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s Republican primary Tuesday as a significant victory and a step in the right direction.
King’s defeat at the hands of conservative Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra—which came amid a backdrop of a nationwide uprising against police brutality and racial injustice—brings to an end an 18-year congressional career during which King compiled a long record of bigoted remarks and policy proposals. But it wasn’t until last year, when King openly questioned why white supremacy is considered offensive, that the House Republican leadership finally stripped him of his committee assignments.
“Goodbye, Rep. Steve King. You are certainly not the only white supremacist in federal government, but you were among the most prominent,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “It’s a shame Republicans held you up as long as they did.”
Progressive radio host Benjamin Dixon echoed that sentiment, tweeting: “One racist down. Hundreds in office to go.”
Rep. Steve King, the racist from Iowa,
who consistently attacked immigrants,
who defended white supremacy,
who sued to oppress the vote of Spanish speakers,
has lost his primary and is out of Congress.
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) June 3, 2020
To complete the shift of Iowa’s 4th congressional district away from racism and xenophobia, progressives stressed that Feenstra must also be defeated in November.
As Vox‘s Li Zhou noted, “Feenstra’s policy platform isn’t significantly different from King’s: Much like Trump, he’s anti-abortion and supports hardline immigration policies including building a border wall.”
J.D. Scholten, the Democratic nominee who will face Feenstra in the general election, tweeted late Tuesday that “not-Steve King isn’t good enough.”
“Steve King set a low bar. And it was our campaign that defeated him,” said Scholten. “We need leadership and vision and not another corporate-backed career politician.”