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Steve King sees support from donors in election fight dip amid controversy

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DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott
Olson/Getty Images


  • Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa has a long history
    of making racially insensitive remarks and associating with
    white nationalists.
  • Several donors have in recent days dropped support for
    King, including the National Republican Congressional
    Committee.
  • A recent poll shows King is nearly tied with his
    Democratic challenger, just one week before Election
    Day.

WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Steve King has come under fire many
times for making racist statements or racially insensitive
gestures.

But the most recent case is unlike the countless others from
years’ past. King’s party leaders are publicly rebuking his words
and actions, and several high-profile donors have dropped their
support for him.

In the past year, King has
endorsed a white nationalist
running for mayor of Toronto in
Canada, repeatedly
retweeted white supremacist accounts
on Twitter, and parroted
Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban’s remarks that
mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life
but a lower one.”

This is not a newfound habit for King. In the past he has
found himself in hot water for
displaying the Confederate battle flag
on his congressional
office desk, despite representing Iowa, which fought for the
Union during the Civil War. King later
removed the flag
from his desk after an Iowa who had man
murdered two police officers had been shown to frequently display
the flag.

Republican leaders, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, have had
to condemn
King’s 

remarks and actions “many times,” but
they have continued to happen with little to no
consequences.

But after a gunman
killed 11 individuals
at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on
Saturday, King’s activities resurfaced.

Jewish leaders in Iowa wrote a
letter
to the Des Moines Register newspaper condemning King
and asking for his donors to withdraw their support for
him.

“We are writing from the depths of our grief, in horror at
the news of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh,”
wrote Alan Steckman and John Pleasants, two leaders of Jewish
congregations in King’s district. “We feel we must speak out
because our congressional representative, Steve King, is an
enthusiastic crusader for the same types of abhorrent beliefs
held by the Pittsburgh shooter.”

King’s reelection campaign is suddenly in jeopardy

And more followed: National Republican Congressional
Committee Chairman and Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers
condemned
King.

“Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and
retweets are completely inappropriate,” Stivers
wrote on Twitter
Tuesday afternoon. “We must stand up
against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly
condemn this behavior.”

Later, a spokesman for the NRCC
announced
 during an interview with Fox News that King
would no longer receive support from the GOP’s premier campaign
arm.

Several donors, including companies like Purina and Land
O’Lakes,
dropped their support
for King.

“The Land O’Lakes, Inc. PAC has traditionally contributed
to lawmakers of both parties that represent the communities
where our members and employees live and work and are also on
committees that oversee policies that directly impact our
farmer owners,” the company said in a statement. “We take our
civic responsibility seriously, want our contributions to be a
positive force for good and also seek to ensure that recipients
of our contributions uphold our company’s values.”


Read more: 


Steve
King defends anti-immigration tweet: ‘I meant exactly what I
said’

The condemnations could not come at a worse time for King, who is
in the midst of a reelection campaign with
recent polling
showing him neck and neck with Democratic
challenger J.D. Scholten. A Change Research
poll released Tuesday showed King leading with 45% to
Scholten’s 44%, with a margin of error of 4 percentage
points.

King issued a statement
in response, calling the condemnations of him a plot by
individuals opposed to President Donald Trump’s political
agenda.

“Americans, all created equal by God, with all our races,
ethnicities, and national origins — legal immigrants &
natural born citizens, together make up the Shining City on the
Hill,” King said. “These attacks are orchestrated by nasty,
desperate, and dishonest fake news. Their ultimate goal is to
flip the House and impeach Donald Trump. Establishment Never
Trumpers are complicit.”

Few have come to King’s defense. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert,
a hardline conservative in the House, backed up King in a

statement
Wednesday morning.

“It’s happening again. Some of the same Establishment
Republicans who thought this country would be better off if
Hillary Clinton won the election in 2016 are now joining with
what calls itself the media in this country to slander
conservatives,” he said. “They’re slinging around terms like
racist and white supremacist at people who haven’t supported
amnesty, like Steve King.”

“As a Christian, Steve has a love of people of all races.
I’ve seen him show a deep compassion and concern for people from
all over the world,” Gohmert added. “Unlike his detractors, Steve
is devoted to keeping his oath to defend our Constitution against
all enemies foreign and domestic–and that doesn’t always line up
wit the interests of some people in political life who would sell
out this nation in exchange for their own power.”

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