“I called Brandy Finestra a little while ago and I gave him the race,” King said in a video posted to Facebook early Wednesday morning. “And I indicated that there are some powerful elements in the swamp that he will have a great difficulty pushing them against them.”
The primary battle was an undeniable referendum on the king – not on his province, but on his effectiveness in office. His lack of authority, much more than his specific words and history of his remarks on race, has become a central issue in this year’s race, with opponents arguing that he is unable to represent their views in the House or in the administration.
King said his words had been misrepresented and out of context, and blamed the media and Republican leaders for leading his revenge against him.
Speaking in a challenging atmosphere of the Republicans, King said in a recent debate, “who want Steve King to get away from the road:” The extremists are never the people who made all of this.
In the concession speech, King said, those forces pushed him out of office.
“This comes from an attempt to push the strongest voice of a conservative Christian community in the United States Congress,” King said.
Vincra was considered the king’s strongest opponent in the five-way race that included former parliament member Jeremy Taylor, businessman Steve Ridder and veteran Army veteran Brett Richards.
“I am really modest about the flow of support over the past 17 months that made tonight possible and thank Congressman King for his decades of public service contracts,” Venstra said in a statement. “When we move to the general elections, I will continue to focus on my plans to achieve results for the families, farmers, and communities of Iowa. But first, we must make sure that this seat does not reach the hands of Nancy Pelosi, a liberal ally in Congress. Tomorrow we return to work.”
“The fourth chamber needs a seat on the table – an effective conservative voice,” Venstra said in a recent discussion. “Our region, our president, deserves an effective conservative leader in Congress.”
Two years ago, less than 3,000 absent votes were recorded. The high turnout of the absentees appears to help condemn the old congressman by bringing in new Republican voters.
Bob Vander Platz, a supporter of the former king and influential Christian conservative, supported Finestra, worried that if King won the primaries the Democrats would get better not only to win his deep red zone in northwest Iowa but also defeat President Donald Trump and Iowa Senator Johnny Ernst. Democrat JD Schulten, a former professional baseball player, came three points from his victory over King in 2018 as he ran again.
Last week, Vander Platz told CNN that there was “increased fatigue” with King in Zone 4 and a “gradual clarity” that “his voice was no longer desired on the table.”
King countered that Vander Platz and Venstra sacrifice their principles “in their misguided efforts to close down true conservatives and hand this area over to RINOs and NeverTrumpers.”
Jeff Zellini and Mano Raju of CNN contributed to this report.