Several races for public office in November’s midterm election in Iowa are very close and will likely come down to the wire. The race for governor is one of them. The race for Congress in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District is also attracting a lot of attention. It’s Iowa’s most rural district and most heavily Republican. The challenger is Dem. J.D. Scholten of Sioux City; the incumbent is Rep. Steve King, whose hometown is Kiron.
Scholten is relentlessly campaigning, and his supporters are betting on a long-shot upset. “If you are frustrated with what’s happening in Washington, D.C., I’m right there with you,” he says. Scholten is 38 years old and promises to do a better job of representing Iowa farmers and workers in Congress. He’s worked most recently as a paralegal. He supports a public option for health care, lower tuition costs for college students, high-speed internet service for rural communities, and a tax code that emphasizes the middle class.
King supporters remain confident
Meanwhile, King’s supporters are confident their candidate will win again. King, at age 69, is a blunt-talking conservative politician who has won eight consecutive terms in Congress. Political analysts say he’s favored to win again. King has led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was passed during the Obama administration. King is a strong supporter of gun rights and tougher enforcement of immigration laws. He easily defeated his last two Democrat challengers with 60% of the vote in each of those elections.
“I share beliefs with a super-majority of the voters in the 4th Congressional District,” King told Wallaces Farmer when he visited this year’s Farm Progress Show at Boone. “They know I haven’t changed. I always give the voters a straightforward, truthful answer. Some people don’t like hearing a straight and truthful answer, but my constituents always know where I stand.”
Letter to the editor
Wallaces Farmer received the following “Letter to the Editor” from Anna Balvance, a member of the Winnebago County Farm Bureau board of directors. She’s a farmer and a grain buyer at Buffalo Center in northern Iowa and her letter explains why she will vote for Scholten instead of King:
Dear editor: “Iowa Farm Bureau recently granted Steve King their endorsement. Here’s why in my county, the Winnebago Farm Bureau, did not.
“Ethanol is under attack. The EPA gave out ‘hardship waivers’ to ‘small’ refineries. This undermined the RFS without doing so legislatively. Ethanol margins have reached disastrous levels with two plants in King’s district dialing back or temporarily shutting down. King has a curious track record when it comes to ethanol for a guy who has so many ethanol plants in his district. When the EPA was attacking ethanol, their champion was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. King hosted Ted Cruz in Iowa for a pheasant hunt and endorsed him in the 2016 Iowa Caucus. There’s a wolf at the Iowa farmer’s door… and King invited it in.
“Trade Wars initiated by President Trump have hit District 4. Farm incomes have declined four years in a row, and as I write this letter to you, soybean prices are 94 cents a bushel lower than they were this time last year. Local basis has been destroyed from lack of demand from traditional customers, like China. Ethanol and ethanol coproduct export numbers have dropped, worsening margins. President Trump campaigned on a trade war and King has supported him.
“Iowa’s two U.S. senators have made headlines working to fix RFS waivers, to mandate E15 use year-round, and for fighting for the Iowa farmer. Steve King is also often in the news, but for the wrong reasons. Recently, King was retweeting a white supremacist for a second time. Does this polarizing behavior benefit farm families in U.S. House District 4?
“Has King campaigned for, endorsed and supported candidates who are supporting farmers, free trade and the ethanol industry? No. That’s why Winnebago County Farm Bureau did not endorse Steve King as a ‘Friend of Agriculture.’ King’s opponent in this race is J.D. Scholten, who if elected, I believe will be a true friend of agriculture by advocating for free trade, protecting ethanol and serving the office with the dignity it deserves.”
Be sure to vote for your top pick
Wallaces Farmer has received several emails and letters from farmers expressing who they will vote for and why in this 4th District congressional race. For information about King and his positions on issues important to Iowa and especially to Iowa agriculture, visit steveking.house.gov. For information about Scholten, visit scholten4iowa.com.
Wallaces Farmer isn’t endorsing either of these two candidates or any candidates in the upcoming Nov. 6 election. The voters in Iowa’s 4th District will decide who will serve as their U.S. representative in Congress. No matter who you support, King or Scholten, or for that matter any candidate in any race, make sure you take time to vote.