Republicans lost an incumbent but gained some peace of mind as Iowa Rep. Steve King finally went down to defeat. He lost to state Sen. Randy Feenstra on Tuesday in the 4th District primary and by a wide enough margin to avoid the contest going to a convention.
President Donald Trump carried the 4th 61-34 percent in 2016, yet King narrowly won re-election in 2018, 50-47 percent to Democrat J.D. Scholten, demonstrating that King’s presence and problems were major factors in making the seat vulnerable for the GOP. Scholten is running again and is a credible candidate, but will have a decidedly more difficult race against Feenstra.
That’s why with King’s loss, we’re changing our rating of the race from Tilt Republican to Solid Republican.
That leaves the House battlefield with 59 competitive races including 31 currently held by Democrats, 27 currently held by Republicans, and Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash’s open seat in Michigan.
Republicans need a net gain of 17 seats for a majority. With five months to go before Election Day, Democrats are likely to maintain their majority and the final margin close to the status quo. Specifically, the most likely outcome range is Republicans +5 to Democrats +5.
King’s loss is also a win for the GOP baseball team because it will likely keep Scholten off the field for the annual congressional game. Scholten is a former professional pitcher who has been training to get his velocity back up to 87 miles-per-hour.…