To 4th Congressional District voters –
It is tempting to list the many reasons Steve KKKing has worn out his tenure as our
representative. Even his own party and major donors have and are withdrawing their support. Let’s
focus on the reasons for endorsing J. D. Scholten.
J.D. Scholten is refreshingly open and honest. His travels throughout our 39 counties have been
open to all and reflect a willingness to listen to different parties and perspectives. His “scripts” are not
canned; he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers.
J.D. Scholten will be an enthusiastic hard-worker for the district. As a fifth-generation Iowan
with deep farm roots, he would offer important insights in agricultural committee assignments. His
career has provided him with understandings of foreign countries and could be beneficial regarding
international trade and tariff issues.
From his conversations with district business leaders, farmers, medical personnel, educators,
families and individuals, he knows the multiple concerns we have. Health care, good paying jobs, the
need for legal immigrant workers, and the sanctity of life are major issues about which he has spoken.
He doesn’t hide behind clichés. He will work with others to find solutions.
Finally, J. D. Scholten’s campaign has been positive rather than negative. He is motivated by
doing what is best rather than casting a dark shadow of fear. He promises to work in a bi-partisan way
rather than play the blame game. He will have the courage to bring sunshine and light to drain the
pollution of the swamp. J.D. will “stand tall for all.”

Storm Lake Times – Enough is enough

Steve King inhabits the netherworld of the “alt-right,” makes racist remarks about brown people, Tweets support for a white supremacist in Toronto, and meets with a leader of Austria’s nationalist movement. Voters of the Fourth District are obliged to stand up and vote him out. It is high time for us to quit pleading ignorance to his openly racist and fascist behavior, or that he consorts with neo-Nazi extremists. That we didn’t know what he said about Latino teens being a bunch of drug runners, that we didn’t know about King supporting white nationalist Geert Wilders in Holland. That he is just being Steve.

What claptrap.

We embarrass and degrade ourselves when we listen to him, agree with him and vote for him. Many of us who don’t think are deluded that King is a man not afraid to say what he thinks, and what he says is the truth — none of us really believes that one kind of baby is less worthy than another kind of baby, but that is precisely what King talks about. It rains down from the Tower of Babel, his gibberish, and confuses otherwise good people into voting for someone who spews hateful propaganda.

There is nothing pro-life about separating families and keeping children in cages.

There is nothing patriotic in defiling the values that drove our fathers into service in World War II.

There is nothing honest or forthright in calling Storm Lake’s youth so much as criminal chattel.

It is one thing to demand law and order. To call for a wall. To demand fair treatment for American workers. To go after employers who lure undocumented immigrants to Iowa. We can understand all that and empathize.

What we cannot endure, as proud Iowans, is someone so callous to our traditions of tolerance and promotion of human rights as a people. King flouts that history and those values.

If he were chairman of the appropriations committee maybe he would be worth your vote. He is forever a nobody in the Republican caucus; his only power is to delay and deny. If he could tell us that he will get a farm bill that will provide a safety net for producers, and that he will force Trump to make trade-damaged sectors whole, then maybe you can justify that vote. Maybe. But King can’t. He can only stand by and ape Trump while our standing in world markets is in tatters. But the Brazilian ag economy is on rocket fuel right now, thanks to that sort of American boastfulness and blunderbuss.

King couldn’t even get Hwy. 20 lined up. Former Rep. Tom Latham and former Sen. Tom Harkin took care of that a long time ago on a bipartisan basis.

All he and Trump have to sell is fear. Fear that the Hondurans will reach Lohrville. Fear that they will hook us on meth or opioids or Busch Light when we did it to ourselves. Fear that they will take something away that we never had.

What we did have was our self-respect. And now, with King as our congressman, it’s getting hard to claim that. What he is talking about does not represent Northwest Iowa. Most people here understand that Sioux County dairy barns need Latino labor, and that a border wall isn’t going to get that hoghouse cleaned out or bridge built when nobody else will do it. Just last January, as we were caging up poor children at the border, The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll reported that 69% of those polled in the Fourth District favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Steve King is out of touch with this district that welcomed refugees from the Prussian wars to the Vietnam war. This is a place of mercy and justice, not fear and prejudice.

Maybe King’s was a voice that was clearer 16 years ago when he said things nobody else said. Now he is saying things that are outside the bounds of the American narrative of opportunity, freedom and one for all. He is positioning himself with foreigners who seek to undermine the very foundations of our understanding of liberty. He is beyond the pale.

Fortunately, we still have a choice if we can reject all the noise and confusion sown by the discord King seeks to create. JD Scholten of Sioux City, a Democrat, is friendly and honest, a common person who did uncommon things on the baseball field as a pitcher and now as a brave young man putting himself out there on a bigger field. He doesn’t harbor that invective. He has no desire to move the nation’s culture in any direction other than one that protects everybody, including the unborn and the frail elderly. Mainly, he wants to be a fair broker of constituent concerns in the nation’s capital. King doesn’t even know what our concerns are because he never asks. Scholten is asking.

We can change history on election day. Vote for JD Scholten. Enough of this race-baiting. Enough embarrassment and shame. Enough of us sticking our heads in the sand thinking this doesn’t reflect on each of us. White supremacy and fascist nationalism is not an American ideal, and it deserves no seat in Congress. JD Scholten is the answer.

Art Cullen

Full article: http://www.stormlake.com/articles/2018/10/31/enough-enough

538 – House Update: Here’s Why We Need Polls In Red Districts — They Might Not Be So Red

Welcome to our Election Update for Tuesday, Oct. 30! Somehow, some way, there is just one week left until Election Day, and Democrats continue to hold the upper hand in the lower chamber. As of 12:45 p.m., our forecast gave the party a 7 in 9 chance of taking control of the House in the Lite version, a 6 in 7 chance in the Classic version and a 5 in 6 chance in the Deluxe version.

It became a cause célèbre here at FiveThirtyEight to lobby for someone to poll the Colorado 3rd District after we identified it as the most underpolled toss-up district. That article also highlighted that many “lean Republican” and “likely Republican” districts have little polling data. Typically, these districts get little attention, but they could be competitive in 2018’s political climate. If so, that could leave us blind to some major upsets in the event of a true blue wave.

Well, online pollster Change Research heeded our call, and late Monday night, it tweeted out poll results from 12 moderately red districts. In seven of those districts, it was the first poll we’ve seen all cycle long. Some of the polls, like those in the Illinois 16th and Ohio 2nd, lined up pretty well with other indicators in our forecast, so they didn’t move the needle too much. But other polls opened up the possibility that certain districts might be more competitive than we realized.

Bear in mind that this is only one pollster’s read on these races. Founded after the 2016 election, Change Research is still pretty new as far as pollsters go, and it currently has a C+ pollster rating. So it’s hardly the gold standard. But its online methodology has an upside — namely, that it’s cheap, so it’s easy for Change Research to poll marginal districts. And some data is better than nothing. Here’s where our forecast changed the most as a result of these polls:

Based on the number of retweets, the most shocking topline came in the Iowa 4th. Controversial GOP Rep. Steve King led Democrat J.D. Scholten just 45 percent to 44 percent. That margin was way worse for King than in previous polls, and his chances of winning plunged 19 percentage points in the Lite version of our model, which just looks at polls.

Full article: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/house-update-heres-why-we-need-polls-in-red-districts-they-might-not-be-so-red/

Bloomberg – Land O’Lakes, Purina Pull Support for Iowa Congressman Steve King Over Racial Remarks

Dairy giant Land O’Lakes announced on Tuesday that it will no longer make financial contributions to Representative Steve King of Iowa after a gun-fueled massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue brought new attention to the Republican’s incendiary comments about race and association with white nationalism. Purina PetCare made a similar announcement Tuesday afternoon.

The murder of 11 people, many elderly, in the mass shooting this weekend resulted in the arrest of a man who allegedly made anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant rants online. King has been at the forefront of a right-wing push to end birthright citizenship, a policy President Donald Trump said in an interview with Axios he would seek to enact, despite protections under the U.S. Constitution.

King, who’s previously made derogatory remarks about immigrants, has also expressed admiration for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and tweeted support for his attacks on George Soros, a billionaire supporter of the Democratic Party who last week was one of a dozen recipients of mail bombs allegedly sent by a Trump supporter. The Iowa Republican also recently tweeted his endorsement of Faith Goldy to be the next mayor of Toronto. Goldy has been tied to white supremacists and was interviewed by the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. In 2017 she attended the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which a counterprotester was run down and killed.

King, 69, is running against Democrat J.D. Scholten, a former paralegal and minor league baseball player from Sioux City. A poll of likely voters conducted by Change Research earlier this week shows Scholten and King neck and neck with just a week until the election, with a one-point lead for King. Trump won the district by 27 points in 2016. Through Oct. 17, King raised $739,553 and had $176,311 in cash on hand. Scholten, who raised $1.7 million, had $316,358 in the bank, Federal Election Commission filings show.

“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. On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. King moving forward.” Purina said its “PAC contributions are typically made to elected officials from both parties who represent the local communities where we have operations and associates. Representative King’s recent statements are in conflict with our values and we are no longer contributing to his campaign.” (Land O’ Lakes owns Purina Animal Nutrition, which makes animal feed. Purina PetCare, the St. Louis-based pet food company, is owned by Nestle.)

In an extraordinary disavowal this afternoon, Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a post on Twitter that “Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.” Two days ago, however, Stivers defended the continued use of Soros by Republicans in campaign ads, despite the attempted bombing of his New York home and the mass-murder in Pittsburgh.

In a post on Twitter, King said Tuesday that “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.” His office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Stivers’ statement.

“Obviously, these are very serious allegations. We are always evaluating our PAC contributions and will continue to do so.”

Arden Hills, Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes, known for its dairy business, is also a 97-year-old cooperative with operations that span the so-called farm-to-fork spectrum. It owns Purina, for example, an animal nutrition company, and WinField United, which sells seeds and crop chemicals. It ranks 216th on the Fortune 500 and had sales of $14 billion in 2017.

On Monday, Judd Legum, author of the newsletter Popular Information, asked why the company had given $2,500 to King. It was retweeted 11,000 times and liked 22,000 times. Many responses included consumers saying they would stop buying the brand. King recently denied he’s anti-Semitic, according to the Washington Post.

Iowa is a center for American agricultural production—it ranks first in corn and egg production and raises a third of the nation’s hogs. Other agricultural contributors to King said they haven’t decided whether to stop financial support.

The National Pork Producers Council gave $1,000 through King’s leadership PAC in the 2018 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Its support was specific to the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, said spokesman Jim Monroe, while emphasizing that the group donates to both Republicans and Democrats. “Obviously, these are very serious allegations,” he said, regarding King’s associations with white nationalism. “We are always evaluating our PAC contributions and will continue to do so.”

The United Egg Producers said its work with King was narrowly focused on his role representing Iowa and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, according to spokeswoman Hinda Mitchell. The group, which according to the Center for Responsive Politics made a $2,500 contribution to King’s leadership PAC for 2018, declined further comment.

Tyson Foods Inc. and the International Dairy Foods Association didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Full article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-30/land-o-lakes-pulls-financial-support-for-iowa-congressman-steve-king

People – Former Pro Baseballer Who’s Running for Congress Pays Homage to Field of Dreams in Campaign Ad

J.D. Scholten, a former pro baseball player and the Democratic candidate for Iowa’s fourth congressional district, has released a goosebump-inducing new campaign ad on YouTube that is also a moving tribute to the hit film Field of Dreams.

The ad focuses on Scholten’s deep ties to Iowa, with sweet scenes of cornfields, farmland, and Scholten surrounded by kids in a cornfield-turned-baseball diamond.

The two-minute ad opens with a shot of Scholten sitting next to a cornfield. “There was a man who grew up in Iowa knowing he wanted more,” a voiceover says, as the images move to shots of Scholten throwing a ball and a young boy in glasses throwing a pitch.

“He chased a dream that brought him around the world to play ball,” the voiceover continues.

The ad goes on to show Scholten walking through a cornfield, a lightening bolt coming from a dark sky to strike a field, and a screen shot of his opponent, Republican Steve King, talking about a controversial tweet on CNN. (King has a history of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric regarding immigrants and race.)

“While he was gone, things back home were getting dark.”

Then Scholten’s campaign RV, which he’s used to travel the state to talk to voters, appears parked on the baseball field.

He emerges, and the ad shows images of Scholten walking through farmland, petting cows, and scenes of farmers hard at work.

“He knew he must come back to Iowa, and bring home the values he was raised with. Hard work, commitment, supporting your neighbors. But how do you build a campaign when you are not rich?”

The music builds as Scholten emerges from the RV, runs onto the baseball field amid the cornfield as a group of children run towards him.

“The answer is faith. If you build it, they will come.”


Scholten’s ad isn’t just fiction, like the 1989 film starring Kevin Costner. He has outfundraised King and in this heavily Republican district, a new poll shows Scholten trailing the eight-term incumbent by just a point.

A clearly elated Patton Oswald retweeted the poll early Tuesday morning:

Jon Favreau, the former Obama speechwriter and co-founder of the popular podcast PodSaveAmerica, also retweeted the poll as he wrote:

“Check out @Scholten4Iowa on today’s @PodSaveAmerica, and then donate to his campaign so we can kick a white nationalist out of Congress: http://scholten4iowa.com ”

Busy Philipps also voiced her support for Scholten, tweeting on Tuesday that she “just donated” to his campaign.

Full article: https://people.com/politics/jd-scholten-iowa-congress-field-of-dreams-campaign-ad/

New York Magazine – Steve King May Actually Pay a Price For Being a Blatant Racist

Iowa congressman Steve King keeps a miniature version of the Confederate Battle Flag on his desk (ostensibly, to honor the proud heritage of the treasonous slave-ocracy that Iowa once fought a war against).

In recent years, King has challenged liberals to name a single “subgroup of people,” at any time in human history, that “contribute[d] more to civilization” than “white people”; praised a virulently Islamophobic Dutch politician for understanding that “demographics are our destiny” and that the West “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies”; tweeted, “Diversity is not our strength,” and, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one”; tried to prevent the U.S. Treasury from putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill; endorsed a far-right Austrian party that was founded by Nazis, and is currently led by a former neo-Nazi; and told his followers that if they wish to understand what will happen if America tries to restore its civilization with “whatever washes up on our shore,” they should read Camp of the Saints, a French novel with the following plot:

Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.

The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization.

And yet, despite this long record of overt white nationalist advocacy, Steve King might actually lose reelection in western Iowa this November.

A poll released Tuesday by Change Research, a firm aligned with the Democratic Party, found King leading his Democratic challenger, former baseball player J.D. Scholten, by the razor-thin margin of 45 to 44 percent. King has held his seat since 2012, and won his last two reelection bids with more than 60 percent of the vote. Iowa’s fourth district is heavily rural, and backed Trump in 2016 by a landslide margin. As of last month, an Emerson College poll had King up by 10 points.

By all appearances, this data led King to assume that he could win again this fall — even if he spent much of campaign season palling around with his favorite fascists in Austria, instead of shaking hands in Sioux City. As of mid-October, the congressman had a piddling $176,000 in cash-on-hand. Meanwhile, Scholten has spent $1.4 million, and has been airing anti-King advertisements in the district for two weeks. King has yet to air a single campaign commercial.

And the congressman’s financial disadvantage could deepen in the final week of the campaign. In recent days, a man who believed that Jews were trying to destroy Western civilization by flooding it with non-white immigrants murdered 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh — and Land O’Lakes suddenly decided that it was no longer interested in funding the political career of a neo-Nazi sympathizer.

“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,” the butter company said in a statement Tuesday. “On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward.”

Meanwhile, even the chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee felt compelled to pretend that he’d just realized that Steve King was a bit racist.

One day earlier, the historically Republican Sioux City Journal endorsed Scholten. All this prompted the Cook Political Report to shift its rating of Iowa’s 4th district House race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”

If Steve King lost a thoroughly safe Republican district — as a result of embracing overt white nationalism — it would send a powerful message to other GOP lawmakers who are currently flirting with going “full racist.” And there’s some reason to think that he will.

But, for the moment, there’s still a bit more cause for thinking that King won’t be overthrown — as of last week, an internal poll commissioned by the King campaign had the congressman leading Scholten by 18 percentage points.

Full article: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/2018-midterms-poll-steve-king-tied-with-democrat-in-iowa.html

Roll Call – NRCC Sends Message That It Won’t Support Rep. Steve King

The campaign arm of House Republicans will not be sending any last-minute support to controversial Rep. Steve King, who faces a competitive race in a deep-red Iowa district.

King has been the subject of renewed attention for racist remarks and social media posts backing white nationalists, following the shooting last week at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 people dead.

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, tweeted Thursday that King’s “recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”

The committee had not been spending in the race. An NRCC spokesperson confirmed that Stivers’ tweet should be interpreted as a signal that the group would not be making any last-minute expenditures in the race despite the district appearing to be in play.

King faces Democrat J.D. Scholten, a former professional baseball player and a native of the northwestern Iowa district, which President Donald Trump carried by 27 points in 2016. Scholten has outraised King, and recent polls have shown a more competitive race.

A new poll from Change Research found Scholten ahead by 1 point over King, 45 percent to 44 point. King countered with his own poll that gave him a 52 percent to 34 percent lead, according to the Sioux City Journal.

King tweeted a general statement Tuesday afternoon amid the renewed attention and after the NRCC chairman signaled the committee would not back King.

“These attacks are orchestrated by nasty, desperate and dishonest fake news,” King said. “Their ultimate goal is to flip the House and impeach Donald Trump. Never Trumpers are complicit.”

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.

Full article: https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/nrcc-sends-message-that-it-wont-support-steve-king

Letter: Scholten epitomizes North Iowa

Following the recent passing of my aunt (a native of Mason City), I began looking through family photos and fondly remembering my Dad’s stories about growing up in Iowa. The warm feelings faded as I was struck with the frustration that these experiences are in stark contrast to Rep. Steve King, to his divisive rhetoric, and to his lack of alignment with Iowan values. King’s opponent, J.D. Scholten, epitomizes the Iowa I know.

Steve King doesn’t represent Iowa, literally and figuratively. King has only authored one bill that has passed in his time in Congress. King has brought shame to our district with his support of white nationalists. King hasn’t even shown up regularly for committee meetings, even those that deal with issues impacting Iowans. King simply doesn’t show up, and he doesn’t represent Iowa.

J.D. Scholten, will represent the 4th District well. J.D. stands tall for all of the constituents in our district. J.D.’s message is unifying, not divisive. J.D. supports farmers (King spends more time visiting Austria that visiting with farmers in his district), education, health care for all, and a living wage. J.D. has visited all 39 counties in the district. King hasn’t held a town hall in a number of years and consistently fails to meet with his constituents.

The contrast is clear, and the choice is clear. It is time to elect a candidate that actually represents Iowa. Please vote for J.D. Scholten as a congressman who stands for Iowans. It is time we get the representation we deserve.

Heather Rissler, Mason City

Full letter: https://globegazette.com/opinion/letters/letter-scholten-epitomizes-north-iowa/article_608d0b65-6999-56bd-b2ee-c2ae75dc7e88.html

Rolling Stone – Chatting With the Prairie Populist Who Wants to Oust the Biggest Racist in Congress

J.D. Scholten is somewhere in rural northern Iowa, aboard a Winnebago named Sioux City Sue after the Gene Autry song, en route to the second-to-last stop on his third tour of all 39 counties in the state’s 4th congressional district. When he calls Rolling Stone, the connection cuts in and out. “We’re in one- and two-bar country,” he says.

Scholten is a 38-year-old former professional baseball player and fifth-generation Iowan trying to oust the most notorious xenophobe and racist in Congress, Rep. Steve King (R-IA). It’s his first campaign, not just for Congress but anything, and Scholten has taken inspiration from the prairie populist Democrats who once represented this ruby-red swath of Iowa. He name-checks former Senator Tom Harkin and ex-congressman Berkley Bedell, who ran with his slogan “The 1% controls our government. Does the 99% have a chance? Berkley Bedell has some ideas.”

Scholten has plenty of his own ideas. Health care dominates the conversation at his events and town halls, and he supports a public option and eventually Medicare-for-all. He gets into the weeds talking about tariffs, agriculture policy, antitrust reform and putting more money into the pockets of Iowa farmers. Yet in this deep-red district, Scholten says he connects with independent and Republican voters on the issue of the corrupting effect of money in politics.

“I start off every town hall by telling folks this stat: the average person in Congress is 58 years old with a net worth of a million dollars,” Scholten says. “I’m different. I’m 20 years younger, and I’m about a million dollars short of that average.”

Scholten was always a long shot in a part of Iowa that Trump won by a 27-point margin. He almost shut down his campaign early on, he says, after nearly running out of money, but then he won the primary, snagged Sen. Bernie Sanders’ endorsement and has pulled in nearly $1.8 million, outraising King by more than double. On Friday, the district’s largest newspaper, the Sioux City Journal, endorsed him after multiple past endorsements of King. A new poll released Tuesday by Change Research shows him trailing King by a single percentage point. Finally, he says, Democrats and Republicans alike in the 4th district are fed up with King’s ugly antics.

Rolling Stone: At a national level, Steve King is known as basically the biggest xenophobe in Congress. He tweets things like “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” He endorses neo-Nazi sympathizers. Yet he keeps getting reelected. Is there a different Steve King than the one that us folks in the bubble see?
J.D. Scholten: There’s a lot of folks here for the longest time who, even if they heard those stories, they usually came from a Democratic opponent, and they were used to saying, “Oh, that’s just Steve being Steve, like that crazy uncle.”

I think with social media, whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, people now get to see that on their own. And what we’re seeing is there are people who are saying, “Enough is enough.”

They’re getting the information directly. It doesn’t feel like it’s intermediated by somebody or it’s in an attack ad.
Here’s the thing that we’re seeing that’s different. In the Sioux City Journal — Sioux City is the largest city in the district, and where I’m from — and the Mason City Globe Gazette, they both had headlines [about King endorsing neo-Nazi sympathizer and Toronto mayor candidate Faith Goldy]. The Mason City paper, it’s front page. In the Journal, it was the second page. It flat-out said, “King endorses white nationalist,” which is a headline that has never been in the district before.

You’re now on your third tour of all 39 counties in the 4th district.
I went to all 39 counties in my personal vehicle, putting 35,000 miles on that. And then we bought a Winnebago RV, because they’re made in this district, and I threw my logo on the side, and we went to all 39 counties in that, and now we’re doing our third one — 39 counties, 39 town halls, in 38 days, but that’s just coincidence. I could have slept in my bed one more night, I guess, if you really want to do 39, 39, 39. Tonight is our second-to-last stop.

I modeled it after my two political heroes: Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Representative Berkley Bedell. Harkin is obviously more well known. Berkley Bedell was a populist Democrat in the late Seventies and early Eighties in northwest Iowa, in the ruby-red areas, and he would win with 60 percent [of the vote]. He would hold town halls and ask folks, “How do I vote? How do you want me to vote on this issue?” He just was really out there and engaged with his constituents.

Is it fair to call you a populist?
I use a line from Paul Wellstone [the former progressive senator from Minnesota]: “I’m from the democratic side of the Democratic Party.” I have no problem calling myself a populist, because this is a very working-class district. I chased a dream playing minor league baseball, but I never made a dime in my life. So when it comes to health care, I tell them in my off-seasons of my baseball career, I would find two part-time jobs while trying to train full time, and at a time when I was maximizing my body, I often didn’t have health insurance.

The whole controversial side of Steve King absolutely disgusts me. But there’s also that backside of how ineffective and how out of touch he is with this district. And he’s tweeted about the mayoral race in Toronto as much as he’s tweeted about an issue in the 4th district in the last two months. It’s nuts.

The Democratic Party is increasingly associated with urban areas, the coasts, and especially big cities. How do you break through as Democrat in a rural region nowadays?
Last week I saw this tweet by David Wasserman about a blue wave for Democrats who are within 20 miles of a Whole Foods.

We don’t have a Whole Foods in this district, but I’m fine. I see so much crossover with what we’re trying to do. There’s Republican voters out there that are saying, “You know what, I’m a Republican, but mental health is a huge deal here in Iowa. Health care is a huge deal here in Iowa. J.D.’s the only one talking about it.”

If you look at the agriculture economy right now, the federal government’s attacking this district in three different ways, whether it’s market consolidation and just squeezing farmers, both on the input side and the output side. What we see is that, of the consumer dollar, less than 15 cents makes it back to the farmer. That’s the lowest of all time, and productions costs are just rising. Senator Grassley (R-IA) talks about this stuff but doesn’t do anything about it. But I’d be willing to work with Grassley, because that’s an Iowa issue, not necessarily a Republican-Democrat [issue]. And then, obviously, the trade war is the third one. We’re borrowing money from China to give to our farmers not to sell their products to China. That just doesn’t make any sense to me.

What are the issues that you hear about the most, or the issues that when you started the campaign you didn’t think you’d be studying up on in the Winnebago between events?
I talk about three issues right away: A healthcare system that works for all. An economy that works for all of us, because we don’t have a workforce. We’re shrinking in population. We’re an aging population. So there’s a lot of issues with that in this 4th District, and I’m trying to modernize it with technology and some other rural revitalization.

And then the third part of it is, we talk a lot about cleaning up Washington. There’s an average of 22 lobbyists per person in Congress. People gasp when I say that. I talk about campaign finance reform and trying to get money out of politics, so we can get a government that’s back to of the people, by the people, for the people — and one that includes the people.

Is money in politics something that has that crossover appeal?
Absolutely. My neighbor is a great guy. He’s probably mowing my lawn, either yesterday or today, while I’m out on the road. He caucused for Mr. Trump, has a truck the size of Texas and has five AR-15s. We don’t necessarily see eye to eye on everything. But any time we go down a rabbit hole, we can always get back out by talking about how frustrated we both are with the special interests that dictate our democracy.

Iowa had more counties that flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016 than any other state. Five of those are in the 4th district. What do you think caused that Obama-Trump flip, and how do you flip those people back to the Democratic Party?
I think both campaigns really ran on hope and change. Trump ran on change and being different, and I think that’s some of the appeal that we have to a lot of these people, too. Because I’m not a traditional candidate. I’m a first-time candidate and people, especially in Sioux City, know me more for baseball than they do as being a Democrat.

People are comforted by that and by our message that says, “Listen, I’m not out there to run and just be a Democrat. I’m out there to fight for the district and work for the people of my district.” But at the same time, I’m not shying away from issues. I’m out there talking to Republican farmers about Medicare-for-all.

One of the issues that I find fascinating about the 4th district is immigration. Rep. King is anti-immigration and anti-reform in every way possible. Yet, as you’ve talked about, immigration is vital to the economy there and many business owners want real reform.
I remember launching this campaign and I was told, “Oh, you should at least try to talk to some consultants about shaping your stances and stuff.” I talked to somebody in D.C. and they said, “Don’t talk about immigration.” I immediately said, “You know what? I’m not dealing with consultants. I’m running my own campaign, and just listening to the people.”

There are two hog plants — one’s about to open and one’s been open for over a year — on two different sides of the district, and both executive directors have talked about a need for an immigrant workforce. And then one of the grain elevators last harvest I went and talked to, and those folks were talking about how they needed 39 people, seasonal workers, to help with their harvest last year. They didn’t get one American citizen to apply. For us to have such an extreme representative that is just so far removed from what this district is on this issue, it’s absolutely insane. It’s so bizarre.

You’re doing these town halls and talking about immigration, that the system is broken, that the economy will thrive if we can fill these workforce needs. Yet Steve King, the incumbent, literally wants to do the opposite of all of that and supports an administration that’s scaring away what workforce is left. How do people respond?
We haven’t had a Democrat willing to get out there and travel as much as we have. You’re not going to win people over by just having a good commercial. The first time we went on the tour, it was mostly Democrats [turning out] at that point, and they said, “Well, somebody should run against King. God bless you.” And then the second time going around, they’re like, “Wow. He’s just not not Steve King. He’s actually standing for something.”

And then the third time around, they see that hope and that change. We started very humbly with this campaign. I’m a first-time candidate, and my first quarter [fundraising] was under $40,000. Now, a year and a half later, we’ve passed $1.8 million. I didn’t hire a campaign manager right away. I didn’t hire a finance director. I hired a comms person, and that’s why we have over 90,000 followers on Twitter because I knew we were running against King. And I knew that if I could have a voice on Twitter, I could reach out to enough folks to draw attention to this race.

That almost backfired when I wasn’t bringing in money and all that stuff. I mean, Thanksgiving last year, if we weren’t bringing in money in the next week, week and a half, I was about to have to collapse the campaign. But we started raising money, and success breeds success. We just haven’t looked back, and here we are with under two weeks left to go, and not only do we have a chance to win, I’m feeling more and more optimistic every day.

Full article: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/who-is-jd-scholten-748733/

Letter: King is no friend of agriculture

Earlier this year an important issue with organic livestock, USDA National Organic Program Animal Welfare Law, was in the review and public comment process. Our farmer-owned marketing cooperative, Organic Valley, which I am a member of, asked its farmers to contact their U.S. senators and representatives in regards to this legislation. There were over 40,000 people that responded with support for this rule. Approximately two dozen people were opposed, yet the legilsation ruled in favor of those who were opposed! And this is a democracy?

Sen. Grassley responded with a two-page letter to me, and while I do not agree with his position, at least a thoughtful reply was received. The only response that I got back from Rep. Steve King’s staff was that “Congressman King is not receiving communication from his constituents.”

As a member of the ag committee, Congressman King has no respect or time for the smaller, family farmer. He supports big ag corporations. What has he accomplished as a congressional representative for this district? You cannot serve the people if you will not communicate with those you represent.

Congressman King is an embarrassment to our state. Let’s elect someone who can represent the needs of our district, and that person is JD Scholten.

Tom Frantzen, New Hampton

Full letter: https://globegazette.com/opinion/letters/letter-king-is-no-friend-of-agriculture/article_02341a53-2432-5978-85e1-2b6c4df00cfd.html