Racist GOP Rep. Steve King's campaign is very, very close to broke as fellow Republicans shun him

Racist GOP Rep. Steve King's campaign is very, very close to broke as fellow Republicans shun him
Gage Skidmore

The Republican Party has long made noises to distance themselves from Iowa Rep. Steve King's most overt forays into racism and white nationalism. These were always token and temporary, until King in January publicly piped up to question whether the phrases "white nationalist" and "white supremacy" should really be considered offensive at all; House Republicans considered that one too toxic for a brushing over, or perhaps had just finally had their fill of King after a November election in which he came perilously close to losing his seat, and stripped him of his committee assignments.

This new resolve—King remains stripped of committee assignments, over half a year later—appears to have both baffled King and positively enraged him. Worse, however, it appears his House "colleagues" aren't done turning the screws on him: The Daily Beast reports that King has collected a grand total of zero dollars from House Republican-associated political action committees, corporate political action committees, and outside interest groups.

The result: King's 2020 campaign is, at the moment, almost broke. He's got only $18,000 on hand, facing a Republican primary challenger who's sitting on a third of a million bucks; if he makes it through that, he wins a chance to take on the same Democratic challenger who came close to knocking him off the last time around. That challenger, J.D. Scholten, is not likely to be hurting for cash himself.

Nonetheless, Steve King continues to be Steve King, and in large doses. He is standing by his previous mouth-blurt defending no-exception total abortion bans by questioning whether the human race would even be around, if it were not for "the product[s] of rape and incest. He continues to stoke new fires on Twitter, and be a general ass to both his party and everyone outside it.

This may be an intentional strategy, a doubling-down to remind his racist Iowa base that they put him in office for his extremist stances and by golly won't they be sad to lose them—but we are continually told that King's Iowa voters aren't really fans of his racism or extremism, they just like the pork he brings in, which if nothing else will be an extremely testable hypothesis now that King has lost his House ability to deliver any of that pork. But more likely Steve King is just a terrible person, with a history of being a terrible person, and with no ability to be anything other than a terrible person no matter how many PAC checks he loses or how much his poll numbers slump.

For now, House Republican contempt of King seems to be holding. That will likely stay true until his Republican primary is decided, but if King again pulls off a win despite his hollow bank account, those same House Republicans may well use that moment to again forgive his past transgressions and refill his coffers. Republicanism doesn't tolerate racists, the party has long insisted. But they'd rather have racists in office than lose Republican seats.


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