Citing Death Threats, Kim Weaver Drops Bid to Unseat Steve King

Kim Weaver/Facebook

Kim Weaver, the only Democrat so far to announce a bid to challenge white nationalist US Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in 2018, this evening announced that she is ending that bid because of continuing death threats she began receiving after previously challenging King in 2016.

“While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office,” Weaver said in a lengthy Facebook post, “my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.” She also cited concerns about the continued availability of her health insurance in light of GOP efforts to gut coverage for millions of Americans coupled with having “to quit my job and shift to campaigning full-time,” and health problems her mother in Des Moines has been suffering.

Weaver was previously soundly defeated by King in 2016 but rose to national prominence earlier this year after a racist message King tweeted in March saying, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” As a result, her campaign contributions, including one from actress Rosie O’Donnell, flourished, although her support waned the following month after the Des Moines Register revealed that she once worked as an internet psychic.

Earlier in the year, Dirk Deam, a popular political science professor at Iowa State University, announced he was considering entering the race, but he ultimately decided against it in late April.

Here’s the full statement Weaver posted to Facebook:

Over the last several weeks, I have been evaluating personal circumstances along with the political climate regarding this campaign. After much deliberation, I have determined that the best decision for me is to withdraw my candidacy for the US House race in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

One consideration has been raised again by recent events at my home. Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats. While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.

Above this, my personal health is an issue. In order to sufficiently devote myself to the campaign, I would have to quit my job and shift to campaigning full-time. With recent legislation on health insurance, I must admit that the possibility of seeking a new job after the election exposes too much of a risk for me in not being able to secure health insurance.

Most importantly, my mother lives in Des Moines and has been experiencing ongoing health issues. I feel that it’s necessary to be more available to support her. Considering this, along with the time and energy it takes to succeed as a candidate, I realize that I can’t fully commit to both.

With all this in mind, I have made the difficult decision to end my campaign, and to move out of the district and back to Des Moines where I grew up.

Although I’m stepping down as a candidate, I still passionately support the defeat of Steve King. I will remain a part of the effort for a future candidate in this district, as well as help to elect a Democratic Governor and other Democrats across Iowa.

In this effort, the funds we raised will be distributed within the district to continue to oppose Steve King.

We’ve started a significant movement in this district, and it’s important to see that progress continue. I’ve said from the beginning that this isn’t about me–it’s about unseating Steve King and gaining real representation for the 4th District of Iowa.

As I withdraw from this candidacy, I want to share my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have supported and encouraged me along the way. I am especially thankful to my staff consisting of Todd Prieb, Sam Muhr, Sonya McGrady, Esha Krishnaswamy, and Chris Trull for the great work and value they contributed to the campaign. I would also like to mention and thank some of my most active supporters: A.C. Doyle, Dennis and Molly Smith, Jackie Stellish, Jessica Fears, Jamie Saker, Sandy Mostaert, Alyssa Cates, and Jason Frerichs, the Democratic Progressive Caucus, the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and my entire family. The people that stood with me along the way have been the engine that powered this movement and I want to let all of you know how much I appreciate your efforts.

I humbly ask for your support and understanding during this difficult time, as well as your continued support with the effort to unseat Steve King.

Gavin Aronsen
Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.