Iowa Republican Steve King – denounced for racist comments and white nationalist links – loses primary in shock defeat

Congressman has propagated white supremacist ideas, once saying ‘we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies’

Steve King on his remarks about immigration and birth rates

Steve King, a controversial Republican congressman who has long given voice to right-wing racist ideas, has lost his primary election after nine terms in Congress.

Mr King, who was removed from his Congressional committee assignments last year for statements apparently expressing sympathy for white supremacy, was defeated by Iowa state senator Randy Feenstra, whom Republicans regard as a safer bet in November given Mr King’s extremism.

Mr King has been repeatedly condemned both for his words and for his relationships with openly racist figures both at home and abroad. He has espoused ideas such as the “Great Replacement” theory – the notion that white civilisation is under threat from higher birth rates among other races – and has more than once retweeted white nationalists.

Congressional Republicans stripped him of his committee assignments last year after he told the New York Times of his regret that language promoting white supremacy had become taboo.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Among his favoured counterparts abroad is the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, whose Islamophobia and intense opposition set him apart among most prominent European leaders. Tweeting his support for Mr Wilders in 2017, Mr King wrote: “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Perhaps his chief concern is immigration, specifically the entry of Latino people into the US. He once showed off a model of a 12-foot-high border wall on the floor of the House of Representatives, presaging Donald Trump’s “build a wall” campaign by years.

On another theme, Mr King was last year condemned for expressing extreme views on abortion, which he opposes under any circumstances.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest?” he told a conservative club meeting in Iowa. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?

“It’s not the baby’s fault for the sin of the father, or of the mother.”

Mr King’s was not the only primary held Tuesday night, as Democrats and Republicans picked their candidates for several highly competitive races, including the governor’s race in Montana and several congressional seats.

Among the highest-profile races, the Iowa senate primary saw the Democrats choose Theresa Greenfield to fight incumbent Republican incumbent Joni Ernst; meanwhile, in the Democratic contest in New Mexico’s third congressional district, former CIA agent Valerie Plame lost to progressive Teresa Leger Fernandez.

And in the seven Democratic presidential primaries that were also held, presumptive Joe Biden managed a clean sweep.

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