Republican Congressman Steve King last debated a Democratic challenger in 2014, but King faces three Republican competitors in the 2020 Primary.
“If there are debates, I’m ready. I spend every day getting ready of them. I don’t have to go prep for them and read up,” King said after a townhall meeting last week in Hampton. “It’s what I do every day.”
King said he hasn’t given much thought to the idea of debating the three men who’ve emerged as challengers to his bid for a tenth term in the U.S. House. King said he made a promise to voters during his first congressional campaign in 2002.
“If you elect me to this job, I will use this seat to move the political center to the right,” King said. “There isn’t anybody that will disagree that I have done that and whether they’re Democrats, Republicans or no-party they all know that I’ve kept my word and I’ve moved the political center to the right.”
Congressman King has raised far less than his most prominent Republican challenger, State Senator Randy Feenstra from Hull. Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad donated to Feenstra’s campaign and the top Republican in the state senator spoke a Feenstra fundraiser this weekend in Sioux Center.
Republican leaders in congress stripped King of his committee assignments in January. It came after comments published in The New York Times where King questioned why the phrases “white nationalist, white supremacist and Western civilization” had become offensive. King has said he was misquoted.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters, additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson.)