May 9, 2021

LIVE RESULTS: Polls close in Iowas 4th Congressional District, where J.D. Scholten and Randy Feenstra vie for the seat following Rep. Steve Kings primary loss

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House (4 Districts)

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Democrat J.D. Scholten is squaring off against Republican Randy Feenstra to represent Iowa’s 4th Congressional District this November. Polls closed in the state at 9 p.m. CT.

The candidates

Scholten is a former professional baseball player who began his career in law and politics during the baseball offseasons. He is a paralegal with experience working in intellectual property law in Minnesota and Seattle and ran unopposed in the 4th District’s Democratic primary.

Scholten ran against controversial four-term incumbent Rep. Steve King in the 2018 election but lost by just 3.3% — the smallest margin of victory in King’s congressional career. But Scholten will face a much tougher uphill battle in defeating Feenstra, a solid conservative who doesn’t carry any of the controversies and baggage that dogged King for so many years. 

In June, Feenstra ousted King in the Republican primary for the seat with the backing of many conservative groups who wanted to get King out of Congress. 

Politico reported that groups including the Chamber of Commerce, the political arm of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and a number of powerful Evangelical groups in Iowa spent money in the district on TV ads, text messages, and other campaign materials to support Feenstra over King. 

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After years of making controversial comments, King was stripped of his committee assignments in January 2019 after rhetorically opining in the New York Times how terms like “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” became offensive. 

Feenstra, Scholten’s Republican challenger, is a member of the Iowa State Senate where he represents the state’s 2nd District.

In addition to being a state senator, Feenstra teaches business classes at Dordt University. Previously, he spent time as the administrator of Hull City and the treasurer of Sioux County. A staunch conservative, his campaign platform revolves around cutting taxes, curbing illegal immigration, and defunding Planned Parenthood.

A recent Monmouth University poll of the district conducted October 15-20 found Feesnstra leading Scholten by five points, 48% to 43%, among high likely turnout voters. 

The district

Iowa’s 4th Congressional District is located in northwestern Iowa. This largely rural and overwhelmingly white district is home to the cities of Ames, Sioux City, Mason City, and Boone. 

In the 2016 presidential election, this heavily Republican district voted for President Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in a 61-34% split of the vote.

The money race

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Scholten has raised $2.6 million, spent $2.3 million, and has about $338,000 in cash on hand while Feenstra has raised $1.7 million, spent $1.6 million, and has nearly $85,000 in cash on hand. 

What some of the experts say

The race between Scholten and Feenstra is rated as “safe Republican” by Inside Elections, The Cook Political Report, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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