Randy Feenstra ran as a more effective Trump conservative, not a more moderate one.
The candidate who defeated white nationalist Rep. Steve King on Tuesday in Republican primary voting in Iowa has a far-right record similar to King's.
State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated King 45.7% to 36.0% for the GOP nomination in Iowa's 4th Congressional District after running a campaign framing himself as a more effective advocate for similar causes.
Feenstra received support from much of the GOP establishment, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Right to Life, and operative Karl Rove, who recently signed on as an adviser to Donald Trump's reelection campaign.
Rather than run against King's racism, Feenstra focused mostly on his lack of impact.
He blamed the incumbent for not being able to adequately protect Donald Trump against House Democrats' efforts to impeach him.
"When President Trump needs him most, Congressman King is unable to help due to his bizarre behavior and his removal from key committees. As the Judiciary Committee continues the sham impeachment process, Iowans are once again left without a seat at the table," he tweeted in December.
"King has let us down, and let Pres Trump down," he charged in another tweet.
Trump congratulated Feenstra on Wednesday via tweet, saying, "You will be a great Congressman!"
It is unsurprising that Trump, who endorsed and donated to King's previous campaigns, would be enthusiastic about Feenstra. Feenstra called himself "a pro-Trump effective conservative that delivers conservative results."
Trump and Feenstra share anti-immigrant views. On his campaign website, Feenstra notes that he "agrees with President Trump that we must secure our southern border." He highlights his legislative record of backing a ban on "sanctuary cities" in Iowa and promises to "support building the wall while opposing Nancy Pelosi's and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's reckless open borders policies that are endangering Iowa communities."
"A house without walls isn't safe. Neither is a nation with open borders. In Congress, I will help President Trump get the wall built and stop the left's dangerous border policy." Feenstra tweeted in April.
He has also been an advocate for socially conservative policies, including opposing reproductive choice and LGBTQ equality.
He highlighted the endorsement of religious right activist Bob Vander Plaats, head of an organization that once argued black children were better off under slavery because "sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President."
Feenstra promises to protect "Christian values," noting his work "fighting to defund Planned Parenthood, sponsoring a bill that defined life at conception and [as] a strong supporter of amending the Iowa Constitution to not grant the right to an abortion." In a January tweet, he lamented, "Sadly, Roe v Wade is still the law of the land."
In 2011, Feenstra was the sole state Senate sponsor of a constitutional amendment aimed at overturning marriage equality in the state.
(In 2009, King warned that same-sex marriage was part of a "push for a socialist society where the foundations of individual rights and liberties are undermined.")
Feenstra also boasts of his "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and his record of defending "our God-given liberties, like our 2nd Amendment." He notes that he backed the "largest expansion of 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa history,' the state's 'Stand Your Ground' law, and a 'constitutional carry bill,'" letting people carry firearms with no permit. "Stand your ground" laws, which permit people who feel threatened to shoot or kill without any duty to try to retreat, have been shown to increase the incidence of homicide and make it easier for white people who kill African Americans to escape prosecution.
Last September, Feenstra tweeted: "We can't let Pelosi and her socialist allies in Congress win. Join me standing with President Trump!"
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.