The effectiveness of 18-year incumbent Steve King has been the central debate of the GOP Primary in Iowa’s fourth congressional district. During this week’s TV forum featuring King and three Republican competitors, King again blamed establishment Republicans for his status as a congressman without any committee assignments.

“It’s not on me,” King said “…This is on the people that made those decisions. And people need to realize: what is it about? Being misquoted in The New York Times?”

House GOP leaders removed King from House committees last year after King’s published comments about white nationalism and white supremacy. King accuses fellow Republicans who now oppose his bid for a 10th term of being scared of facing criticism.

“There’s powers that be…that want Steve King out of the
way because they don’t like to do have to do battle on life and on marriage and on budgets and on guns and…on the border,” King said. “They don’t like that. The ‘Never Trumpers’ are the people who ginned this all up.”

Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City, one of the four Republicans running against King in the Primary, said there is no assurance King will regain any committee assignments if he’s reelected.

“To be able to stand for life, we’ve got to be able sit on the Judiciary Committee. If we’re going to fight for the RFS, we’d got to be able to sit on the Ag Committee,” Taylor said. “…Right now we don’t have a congressman that has those committee assignments in hand.”

Randy Feenstra, a state senator from Hull, has also focused on King’s lack of committee clout.

“I’m running for congress because the 4th district — we need a seat at the table,” Feenstra said.

Bret Richards, the former mayor of Irwin, said he’s running against King because 18 years in Washington is too long.

“We need citizen legislators that go and serve and come back home,”  said Richards. “That’s why term limits is so important to me.”

The candidates made their comments during the hour-long forum that aired on WHO in Des Moines on Wednesday afternoon and KCAU in Sioux City on Tuesday afternoon. Steve Reeder of Arnold’s Park, the other candidate in the race, had a negative balance in his campaign account and did not meet the qualifications for participating in the TV forum.