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Omaha World-Herald: Democrat J.D. Scholten is taking a second run at unseating Iowa Rep. Steve King

WASHINGTON — Former Husker baseball pitcher J.D. Scholten plans to make another run at unseating Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

Scholten, a Democrat, said in a campaign statement that too many Iowa families feel like they are suffering and the government doesn’t have their interests at heart.

He cited the need to address health care and economic equality.

“We need a system that works for all people — not just special interests and those who are lucky enough to be at the top,” he said.

Scholten also released a launch video heavy on shots of fields and livestock, with narration by actor Kevin Costner.

Scholten fell just a few percentage points short in his 2018 bid against King — the closest a Democrat has come to winning a congressional race in northwest Iowa in a long time.

King’s hard-line rhetoric, particularly on matters related to Western civilization and illegal immigration, has long created headaches for the Republican Party.

He was formally rebuked by the House earlier this year — and lost his committee assignments — due to statements about white supremacy he made to the New York Times.

Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann notably made no mention of King in his own statement responding to Scholten’s launch.

Scholten sought in his previous campaign to avoid getting tied up in national politics, but it’s clear that Republicans will try again to tie him to left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party.

In his statement, Kaufmann invoked national Democrats and their talk about a “Green New Deal,” government health care and tax increases.

It’s not clear who Scholten could be facing next year given that King already has attracted multiple primary challengers.

Federal Election Commission records show that three of those challengers actually finished the most recent reporting period with more cash on hand than King.

As of June 30, the incumbent’s campaign coffers had just $18,366 cash on hand while the best-funded GOP challenger, State Sen. Randy Feenstra, reported having $337,314 cash on hand.

Feenstra touted his fundraising advantage and high-profile endorsements in a campaign statement on Monday. Feenstra said Scholten’s candidacy underscores the need to nominate him rather than King.

“The families of Iowa’s 4th District deserve an effective conservative leader who can win and ensure our voice and our values are represented in Congress,” Feenstra said in the statement.

By Joseph Morton / World-Herald Bureau  Aug 6, 2019