Steve King, a controversial Iowa congressman known for his openly racist, homophobic views, has just lost his bid to secure a 10th term in office.
You might remember Steve King as the man who offered to marry gay people to his lawnmower. Or the man who claimed evidence for gay parenting is “fake” like global warming. Or perhaps, the man who tried to ban trans people from using toilets in the Capitol.
He’s also attacked his own party leaders for supporting gay candidates and pushed a bill that would ban US embassies from flying rainbow flags.
But his bigotry doesn’t stop there: King’s racist rhetoric includes tweeting his support for white nationalists, claiming immigrants have “calves the size of cantaloupes” from hauling drug shipments, and most recently, asking the bewildering question: “White nationalist, white supremacist, western civilisation — how did that language become offensive?”
Steve King loses Iowa primary after being stripped of committee posts.
Despite multiple controversies King managed to hold Iowa’s fourth congressional district for 17 years, but this final, racist comment turned many of his remaining supporters against him and saw him stripped of all his committee posts.
King denied ever supporting white nationalism and claimed the backlash was an orchestrated campaign against him, but the damage was done.
On Tuesday (June 2) he lost the Iowa primary to Randy Feenstra, a state senator who had the backing of many mainstream Republican groups. Feenstra had nearly 46 per cent of the vote in the heavily conservative district, while King trailed far behind him with 36 per cent.
The resounding defeat came amid mass protests in the US against racism and police brutality.
Randy Feenstra has a horrific anti-LGBT+ record himself.
Speaking on Facebook after his loss, King claimed that none of his challengers had ever taken issue with “a single statement that I have made” during his career.
He urged Iowans to continue to teaching children about that “values we care about” including opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
His defeat, he said, was the result of “an effort to push out the strongest voice for full-spectrum constitutional, Christian conservatism” in congress.
However his would-be replacement is hardly an LGBT+ ally himself.
A member of the Iowa Senate since 2008, Fenstra once attempted to reverse marriage equality by introducing an amendment seeking to overrule the state’s 2009 ruling that legalised same-sex marriage. It was never voted on.
In 2019 Feenstra voted for a successful bill banning the use of Medicaid funds for gender-affirming surgeries.
Upon his victory Tuesday, he was congratulated by Donald Trump.