The editorial board of a major Iowan newspaper has endorsed Rep. Steve King’s Democratic challenger for Congress, bucking its longtime support for one of the GOP’s mostly openly racist lawmakers.
The Sioux City Journal’s editorial board on Friday announced its support for J.D. Scholten over incumbent King, who they criticized for repeatedly making “inflammatory or questionable comments” and having ties to “intolerant ugliness.”
“In prior endorsements of King, an eight-term representative, we laid out what we respect and admire about our congressman,” the editorial board wrote. “In Scholten, however, King runs against an opponent with many strengths of his own.”
Aside from Scholten’s strengths, which include his “willingness to consider all sides of complex issues,” the paper’s editorial board condemned King’s partisanship and refusal to distance himself from white nationalist views.
“Each time King immerses himself in controversy, he holds up this district to ridicule and marginalizes himself within the legislative body he serves, neither of which provides benefit to Iowans who live and work here,” they wrote.
King constantly retweets other white supremacists on Twitter, espouses Islamophobic views and has advocated against “mixing cultures.” Earlier this month, he endorsed Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy, a white nationalist who has said she believes homosexuality facilitated the Holocaust.
“As we have said before, we would prefer King spend less time trying to ‘save’ Western civilization and making a national name for himself as a conservative leader trying to move the nation to the political right,” the editorial board wrote.
Scholten, a former professional baseball player, has embraced a progressive platform that includes raising the federal minimum wage, immigration reform and moving toward universal health care. The political newcomer is fighting an uphill battle as he seeks to unseat King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional district, which is predominantly Republican in its voter registration.
“King is the favorite and ahead in polls,” the Journal’s editorial board wrote. “If he wins re-election, we hope he considers the words we have written today.”
“If underdog Scholten springs an upset, we hope he remembers this remains largely a conservative, Republican district and we urge him to take accordingly moderate positions on issues of the day,” the paper said. “Bottom line: We are ready and willing to give him the opportunity to show all of us in the 4th what he can do.”
A representative for King did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
Head over to The Sioux City Journal’s website to read their editorial board’s full endorsement of Scholten.