SIOUX CITY -- Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor jumped into the race for Iowa's 4th District Thursday, as the number of Republicans looking to unseat Rep. Steve King continued to swell.
Just three hours after Taylor announced his candidacy, King's 2018 primary opponent, Cyndi Hanson of Sioux City, said she is considering a rematch in 2020.
Taylor, who is also a former state legislator from Sioux City, is the second prominent Republican elected official to challenge King, who ignited a national firestorm of controversy this month after he was quoted in a New York Times story saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"
State Sen. Randy Feenstra, a Hull Republican and assistant Senate majority leader, has raised more than $100,000 in campaign contributions since he entered the GOP primary on Jan. 9, when he suggested King was an "embarrassment" to the district.
In a subtle reference to King, Taylor, 40, said Thursday "instead of focusing on past controversy," he intends to "make this campaign about how I can best represent and serve our people well at the national level.”
"Iowans in the 4th District have an opportunity to choose a leader during this next election cycle with a conservative track record of results at the state and county level," Taylor said.
Two other Republicans also are eyeing the 4th District seat -- former Irwin Mayor Bret Richards and Story County Board of Supervisors member Rick Sanders, of Ames.
King, who has generated controversy over the years with his outspoken comments on immigration and race, is considered vulnerable for re-election despite the 4th District having 70,000 more registered Republican voters than Democrats.
In November, King edged J.D. Scholten, a Democrat from Sioux City, by just 3 percent. Feenstra has pointed to the slim margin in the state's most Republican district as a reason for a fresh face as the GOP nominee.
In the June primary 2018, King defeated Hanson, 75 percent to 25 percent. Hanson said Thursday the support she received has prompted her to consider another campaign in 2020.
Hanson said King isn't "getting the job done," because he no longer serves on any House committees. House GOP leaders took away all of King's committee assignments for the next two years in the wake of the outrage sparked by his New York Times comments. The next day, the full House approved a resolution designed to rebuke King for the remarks.
"I would desire an opportunity for Iowans to elect a conservative who is willing to engage in a conversation and listen, understand the needs and wishes of Iowans and take action to produce results that advance the district. Iowa's 4th needs a representative who can shift the focus to issues such as fiscal responsibility, smaller government with greater accountability and be a strong advocate for agriculture," said Hanson, an administrator for the College Center in South Sioux City, an academic center operated jointly by Northeast Community College and Wayne State College.
Taylor cited his conservative record on the issues of abortion, gun rights and tax relief during his two-year term in the Iowa House, where he represented a district that took in portions of Sioux City's west and north sides.
“We face real challenges as a nation and Iowans need a conservative, thoughtful voice. I hope to be a representative who will fight for their interests and lead on the issues that matter to them most,” Taylor said.
After losing his re-election bid to the state House in 2012, Taylor won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 2014 and was re-elected last fall. Because his four-year term runs through 2022, he can pursue the congressional seat without giving up his county post.
Taylor, a former board chairman, said he's proud that the county's property tax levy has been reduced in all four years that fiscal year budgets have been set. He said his priorities include reducing the national debt, securing U.S. border and supporting small businesses and the agriculture industry in Iowa.
Taylor is also a chaplain in the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Regional Support Group and an energy specialist for the Sioux City School District.