Republicans need every House seat they can win next week — but that doesn’t mean Iowa Rep. Steve King, who has been accused of racism, will be getting any last-minute help from the main GOP group responsible for electing party members to Congress.
The National Republican Congressional Committee says it will not help out King, who has supported far-right causes and white supremacists, in the remaining days of his bid to win re-election to his Iowa 4th District seat against Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten.
The NRCC cited King’s “words and actions” for its decision to sit out the race, despite the fact that Republicans in Tuesday’s congressional elections will be hard-pressed to retain their relatively slim majority in the House of Representatives.
On Wednesday, one of King’s Republican colleagues in the House, Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, in an MSNBC interview said, “I would never cast a ballot for someone like Steve King,” even if it meant the loss of GOP control of the House.
“My principles are more important than any of that,” Curbelo said. “His comments and his actions are disgusting.”
King for years has engaged in language viewed as racist. He once described former President Barack Obama, who is black, as “very, very urban.” He has displayed a Confederate flag on his desk, and once predicted “that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before” their combined population exceeded the number of whites in the United States.
Earlier this month, King tweeted an endorsement of far-right Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy, who has appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast.
Nonpartisan analysis site Cook Political Report recently shifted its outlook on the 4th District to “lean Republican,” a notch down from “likely Republican,” after a Democratic poll found King’s opponent trailing by just 1 percentage point. King also has been massively outfundraised by Scholten, who has garnered more than $1.7 million in contributions against the incumbent’s nearly $740,000.
And King will be getting less money from now on.
The political newsletter Popular Information, on Sunday revealed that after it highlighted King’s rhetoric, Intel informed employees that it would no longer donate to King.
“We looked into the congressman’s public statements and determined that they conflict with Intel values,” Dawn Jones, the company’s director of policy and external partnerships, wrote in an email obtained by Popular Information.
The mass murder Saturday of 11 Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue by a gunman, who allegedly told police “I just want to kill Jews,” ramped up pressure on King’s backers to drop him.
Two other companies followed Intel’s lead Tuesday.
The political action committees of dairy products giant Land O’Lake and Purina, the pet-food subsidiary of Nestle, bowed to online pressure and announced they would not longer support King.
Amid those moves, GOP Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio, chairman of the NRCC, in a tweet Tuesday said he “strongly condemned” King’s conduct.
Later Tuesday night, Matt Gorman, spokesman for the NRCC, told Fox News that the group was joining the boycott of King.
“The NRCC and Congressman Stivers haven’t been afraid to show moral leadership when the time calls for it,” Gorman said.
“We believe Congressman King’s words and actions are completely inappropriate and we strongly condemn them. We will not play in his race,” he added.
King fired back at the NRCC in a tweet Tuesday that said “Establishments Never Trumpers” are complicit with enemies of President Donald Trump in the effort to “flip the House” and impeach the president.
Vice News reported Wednesday that AT&T’s PAC, which has already made its contributions for 2018 campaigns, “will take all concerns” about King “very seriously” when it decides who to give money to in future years, according to an email from an AT&T spokesman.