Republican Congressman Steve King opened a campaign headquarters in Ames this week, the city where his Democratic opponent, Christie Vilsack, moved last year to launch her run in Iowa’s new fourth congressional district. King says he has a solid base of support in conservative northwest Iowa, so he’s been focused on introducing himself to people in the 20 counties that are part of the new district that he’s never represented before.
“And the communities that are new and those who present the greatest challenges are Fort Dodge, Mason City and Ames,” King says, “in ascending order.” King’s visit to Mason City this week featured a confrontation with someone who called King a “professional liar.”
“No,” King said, adding: “You’re done.” The man was escorted from the room by police. Democrats also blasted King for comments he made this week in Pocahontas.
King suggested the best immigrants to the country are those who are like “bird dogs” with an “aggressive…frisky” demeanor. While the new fourth district is not as heavily Republican as King’s current congressional district, it still has a sizable Republican voter registration edge with about 40,000 more Republicans than Democrats.
And some areas like Story County where Democrats have held an advantage in the past have seen margins narrow. Cory Adams is chairman of Story County Republicans.
“The Democrats only have…less than 600 voters over us and we’re going to do our best to find 601 Republicans,” Adams says. King in the past has relied on a core of volunteers to run his reelection campaigns and his son has served as campaign chairman.
This year, with the well-financed challenge from former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, King has raised more money and hired two of Governor Branstad’s aides to work on his campaign.