DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A three-term Iowa state senator says he plans to challenge longtime U.S. Rep. Steve King in next year's Republican primary.
Randy Feenstra, an assistant Republican legislative leader, announced Wednesday he intended to run for the northwest Iowa seat and has opened a federal campaign committee.
Without mentioning King by name, Feenstra said the district doesn't have a voice in Washington "because our current representative's caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table." He added Iowans don't need more "sideshows or distractions."
King just began his ninth term. He's known for hardline views on immigration, abortion and gun rights. Democrats and sometimes Republicans have criticized his blunt comments.
"Just last December 28, Randy Feenstra told Jeff King, ‘as you know, I love your dad and I would never run against him,'" King said, in a statement. "Today, misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers, has revealed that Mr. Feenstra is easily swayed by the lies of the Left."
Democratic leaders in Iowa were unmoved by Feenstra's announcement.
“The Fourth District deserves a public servant who will put the people’s interests ahead of political ambitions, but, unfortunately, that’s not Senator Feenstra," Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price said, in a statement.
King has typically won re-election easily in the solidly Republican district but narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent in November.