Politics

Steve King gets ousted, and key 2020 contests are set in Tuesday's primary elections

Key Points
  • Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican known for racist remarks, lost his primary election on Tuesday. 
  • Theresa Greenfield won Iowa's Democratic Senate primary and Steve Bullock carried Montana's Democratic Senate primary, setting up potentially competitive races against GOP Sens. Joni Ernst and Steve Daines, respectively.
  • Joe Biden moved closer to securing enough pledged delegates to become the Democratic presidential nominee at the party's convention later this year. 
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa on the East Front of the Capitol, to highlight crimes committed by illegal immigrants in the U.S., on September 7, 2018.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican known for racist remarks, lost his primary election Tuesday on a night when states across the country voted. 

The congressman, removed from House committees last year after he questioned why the phrases "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" were "offensive," fell short against Randy Feenstra, a GOP state senator. Feenstra will face Democrat J.D. Scholten, who narrowly lost to King in 2018 but likely faces a tougher race without the incumbent on the ballot. 

During his 17 years in Congress representing the 4th District, King has repeatedly made racist comments about immigrants and helped to fuel nativist elements in the GOP. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, he claimed no "subgroup" contributed as much to civilization as white people. 

The race between King and Feenstra was not the only major contest on the ballot Tuesday as seven states and Washington, D.C., held primaries. From Iowa to Montana and New Mexico, Americans voted in key races — with a larger-than-usual emphasis on mail-in ballots as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. 

  • Iowa Senate: Democrat Theresa Greenfield, the candidate supported by the national party, won the primary to face Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in November. The senator and multiple GOP colleagues need to defend their seats in potentially competitive races in order for the party to keep its 53-47 majority in the Senate. President Donald Trump won Iowa by about 10 percentage points in 2016, but Democrats flipped two House seats in the state in 2018. 
  • Montana Senate: Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock carried the Democratic primary in Montana and will face Republican Sen. Steve Daines in November. The two-term governor boosted Democratic hopes of flipping the seat when he entered the race in March. Trump won Montana by a whopping 20 percentage points in 2016, though Bullock won reelection the same year. 
  • Presidential election: Apparent Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continued his push to amass enough pledged delegates to take on Trump in November. He now has 1,943 of the 1,991 delegates needed to become the Democratic nominee after projected wins in Indiana, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Mexico, South Dakota and Montana, according to NBC News. He will likely hit the threshold after Georgia and West Virginia vote next week. 
  • House races: The primary elections set up some 2018 rematches in swing House seats that will help to determine whether Democrats can keep their majority. Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who flipped New Mexico's 2nd District in the midterms, will again face Republican Yvette Herrell after beating her by about a percentage point in 2018. Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne of the 3rd District, who unseated GOP Rep. David Young two years ago, will face the former congressman again in November. 
  • Ferguson mayor: Ella Jones was the first black person and first woman elected as mayor of Ferguson, Missouri, on Tuesday. Her election came during a week of nationwide protests over police-involved killings of black Americans, which echo the demonstrations seen in Ferguson after black teenager Michael Brown's 2014 shooting death at the hands of a white police officer. 

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