J.D. Scholten tours small towns as he seeks to defeat Steve King


Grant Tetmeyer/ Iowa State Daily

J.D. Scholten discusses his bid to run against Rep. Steve King for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District Aug. 6, 2019 at Mother’s Pub.

Jake Webster

Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten continued his tour of small town Iowa starting Sunday.

Scholten, who was the 2018 Democratic nominee in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Story County, is undertaking a “Don’t Forget About Us” tour of a town with a population in each of the 4th district’s 39 counties. Following this current tour, Scholten will have visited small towns in 28 of the 39 counties.

“Too often, Iowa’s rural communities have been forgotten and left behind by politicians,” said a spokesperson for Scholten in a press release. “As a result of the years of federal neglect and the lack of investment, hospitals consolidate, grocery stores and schools close and more and more of Iowa’s children leave the district due to the lack of opportunity. J.D. is committed to making these towns a priority and revitalizing our rural communities.”

During his 2018 run for Congress, Scholten won just six of the 39 counties located in the district, while the remaining 33 — that mostly contain no major population centers — were won by the Republican incumbent Steve King. King won the overall race by just over three percent in 2018. 

In January, months before Scholten announced he would seek a rematch against King, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included King as a member whose seat they would target to flip to their party. Though no public polling is available of the district, Scholten has heavily out-fundraised King, who is facing multiple primary challengers.

At the end of the third quarter, Scholten had raised nearly $415,000 for his campaign this cycle, according to FEC filings. King had raised $215,000, and his best-funded Republican challenger, Randy Feenstra, had raised more than $531,000.

Running during a presidential cycle that has seen more than two dozen Democratic presidential contenders crisscross Iowa for nearly a year, Scholten has received fundraising boosts from the various Democrats competing in the state for delegates from the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucuses. On Sept. 26, the “Friends of John Delaney” presidential campaign committee donated $346 to Scholten.

In the fourth quarter with the amount of time remaining before the caucuses melting away, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said in a tweet on Monday, “White nationalism has no place in our country, our White House or our Congress. Let’s start by getting Steve King out of office and electing [Scholten] to replace him.”

In an interview with the Daily when he entered the race, Scholten said he is very grateful his message has been amplified on social media by 2020 candidates, but “at the end of the day, it’s about us getting in ‘Sioux City Sue’ and driving all over the district and earning votes, regardless of whether you’re Republican, Democrat or Independent.”