Counting Down to the Election, a Daily Quote Highlighting Steve King’s Extreme Views

Steve King Quote of the Day

For most of his years as an Iowa congressman, Steve King was not someone to whom I paid much attention. That changed a few years ago, when the number of Iowa’s districts were cut back from five to four, and my hometown of Mason City became part of the state’s 4th District, represented by King. It was also during these years that King became more notorious nationally with his comments, be they sexist, homophobic, anti-immigration remarks or racist, ignorant, and Islamophobic tweets. His cruelness and insensitivities brought attention to Iowa, and I feel that our state has slowly lost much of its well-earned reputation as a kind, thoughtful, and welcoming place.

This past March, I read a story about a man in northwest Iowa who was also disappointed with King, so much so that he was spending large amounts of his own money to try to defeat him in the upcoming midterm election. Doug Alexander, a self-professed fiscal conservative from Okoboji, has three sons with his wife, who was born in China. He said he was willing to work to defeat King because of the congressman’s negative views on accepting people from other cultures, which includes his family.

I was moved by Alexander’s story and inspired to work in my own way to defeat King as well. Like Alexander, I am not a Democrat, but consider myself to be independent. Unlike him, I have no amount of money available that would make any difference. But I could make some time. For the past eight months, I have been spending my evenings and weekends trying to simply spread the truth about Steve King. My intended audience is independents in the 4th District, as well as Republicans who are not on the same page as King.

My first effort was to launch a website 100 days before the election and offer up a new quote each day by or about King. Seeing a disparaging quote of his in the headlines every few weeks or months allows time to wash away the intensity of such comments. Seeing them en masse, I believe, is powerful. The purpose of the site was centered around highlighting Gov. Kim Reynolds honoring King as one of her campaign chairs, the thinking being that after a few weeks, the governor would be so embarrassed by King she would drop him.

My second effort built upon the research I gathered in the first and was prompted by King’s refusal to debate his challenger, J.D. Scholten. King’s refusal was based on his assertion that his constituents already knew where he stood on the issues, knew who they were going to vote for, and that his opponent was way behind in the polls. I had come across a fair number of King quotes that suggested his views on issues were not always consistent (a president’s use of executive orders, opposing government debt and deficits, to name a couple), and his more extreme views (separating children at the border, claiming 2.4 million fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election) were never challenged.

So, earlier this month, I launched a website offering questions I think King should be willing to answer in a debate with his opponent. I’ve worked hard to make them direct, non-partisan, and non-threatening. My hope was that maybe the questions could be a starting point for debate discussions between the two campaigns during their last weeks. King’s campaign has shown little interest in making the candidate available to the public, so a secondary hope was that maybe some journalist would use the site as a knowledge base, in the chance King takes questions from the press.

Alas, my time-consuming efforts seem to be for not much. I’m from the old school, where sending out a press release involved envelopes and postage stamps. I’ve jumped into social media with little savvy or confidence; I’m convinced I only reach a handful of consistent Twitter followers, to whom my message offers no conversion. As for attempting to influence the governor, she probably does not even know my site exists. And each week I send a column to the Des Moines Register, hoping to maybe get some attention that way.

I so wish I would have an effect on this upcoming election and that J.D. Scholten beats Steve King. But I consider my effort a success no matter the outcome. I am surrounded by friends and family who are downtrodden living in a state represented by King, often feeling hopeless and helpless. This includes my two daughters. Just as Alexander is providing an example to his sons, I’ve shown my girls that one person can do something, even if it’s not much. At the very least, maybe our efforts will inspire friends, family, and other Iowans to devote some extra effort toward their own goals.