Some bad news for Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa’s 4th District this week. As you may be aware, he’s been embroiled in some controversy in the media over a variety of remarks he’s made recently, ranging from opposing abortions stemming from rape and incest to saying that most of us wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for rape. How the voters back home have been viewing this dustup isn’t exactly clear, but we may be getting a hint from his fundraising numbers. Specifically, a number rapidly approaching zero in terms of how much campaign cash he has in his coffers. He’s darned near broke and most of his usual donors have completely ghosted on him. (Daily Beast)
As he gears up for a difficult re-election cycle, Rep. Steve King’s campaign is strapped for cash. Individual donations to the Iowa Republican have continued to flow but support from corporate donors and King’s own colleagues have vanished entirely.
King has not received a single contribution this year from a political action committee associated with a sitting member of Congress. Corporate PACs and interest groups have also completely shunned him. Through the first six months of the year, King received just two contributions from third party political entities: $2,000 donations from PACs associated with two former members of Congress, Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the infamous Todd Akin (R-MO).
The amount King was sitting on at the end of June was $18,365. Even for a House race, that basically nothing. You can’t cover paying your campaign staff for long with that kind of money.
That total supposedly includes a pair of $2,000 donations from the only two PACs that have sent him anything. The rest presumably comes from individual donors, but his financial support appears to have almost entirely dried up. And this is all happening while he’s facing a primary challenge from state senator Randy Feenstra. (Feenstra, by the way, reported nearly $350K in campaign funds at the end of June.) Assuming King somehow makes it past Feenstra, he will be facing the same person who came within three points of beating him in 2018 before all of these latest controversies cropped up.
I think King wouldn’t be in this much trouble for the subjects he addresses if it weren’t for the way he says things. For example, people shouldn’t be surprised that Steve King opposes abortion in all (or very nearly all) cases. This isn’t a new position for him and he’s long been among the most conservative members. But when you take the bull by the horns and specifically say no abortions for rape or incest, you have to be prepared for a response. Public opinion on abortion is polled six ways from Sunday and many oppose late-term abortion, but support for abortion caused through sexual assault and incest remains relatively high.
It’s similar to his comments about the prevalence of rape and incest throughout human history. Yes, he’s technically correct. (One report recently claimed that 0.5% of the male population in the world is related to Genghis Khan because he raped his way across two continents.) And there’s probably still a lot more incest going on than you’d care to think. Just ask the British royal family. (I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.) But as a politician, you don’t just go out there and say it like that.
King is no stranger to controversy and for all we know, he might bounce back from this and win another term. But looking at those fundraising numbers, he’s got to be wondering if the end is actually near.