In race for Iowa's 4th District, Rep. Steve King brushes off criticism and challenger Kim Weaver

Omaha World Herald | Joseph Morton | 10/19/16

In race for Iowa's 4th District, Rep. Steve King brushes off criticism and challenger Kim Weaver

WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has carved out a national profile as an outspoken conservative firebrand, but Democratic challenger Kim Weaver is questioning what he’s actually accomplished for his constituents during seven terms in office.

With his advantage in campaign cash and the Republican tilt of northwest Iowa’s 4th District, King is heavily favored to return to Capitol Hill for another two years even as he continues to stir the pot with controversial statements.

His most pointed rhetoric often comes on immigration, such as his recent warning about “cultural suicide by demographic transformation” and earlier references to drug smugglers coming across the border from Mexico with “calves the size of cantaloupes.”

Over the summer he talked about the superior contributions of Western civilization and drew attention for keeping a Confederate flag on his desk.

“That’s not Iowa,” Weaver said. “I was raised to be tough but also be compassionate, to treat people with dignity, not disdain.”

For his part, King expresses no regrets about what he sees as simply telling it like it is.

“I stand by everything that I’ve said and done,” he said. “If I didn’t, I would have apologized for it. If that’s the best they’ve got, then I guess they can go ahead and play that hand all the way to Nov. 8.”

Weaver said her critique goes further, however, and points to a nonpartisan website, Inside Government, that ranked King as the least effective member of Congress based on how many of his bills have moved forward in the legislative process.

King said he’s not sure how anyone could come up with that ranking. He said he’s been an active member of Congress, influencing the debate by frequently offering amendments on a range of topics.

King recently proposed an alternative continuing resolution that would have trimmed overall government spending and defunded a litany of budget items opposed by conservatives. Those include money for Planned Parenthood, the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration. King’s proposal did not pass.

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