SIOUX CITY -- A poll released Monday shows U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, with a 10-point lead over Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten in Iowa's 4th Congressional District.
King, an eight-term incumbent, led Scholten, a first-time candidate, 41 percent to 31 percent in the online poll, which Emerson College conducted Sept. 6-8. Sixteen percent were undecided.
Data was collected using an interactive voice response system and an online panel. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percent.
Scholten insisted the poll is the latest sign his campaign is in "striking distance" of knocking off King in the heavily Republican district. In 2016, King defeated Democrat Kim Weaver by 22 points so being within 10 percent in a poll shows a "surge in momentum," Scholten said.
The Democratic challenger also pointed to recent movements by political prognosticators as moving the race in his favor.
King's son, Jeff King, who is an official on the campaign team, said the Emerson College poll has a flawed methodology.
"An eight-term incumbent polling at a pathetic 41 percent shows just how vulnerable Steve King is. No wonder he doesn’t want a debate to discuss his failed record for Iowa," said Scholten, a former professional baseball player and paralegal from Sioux City.
Scholten has challenged King to three debates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
King had a history of not debating his opponents when seeking re-election from 2002 through 2010. He changed that approach in holding debates with Democrats Christie Vilsack and Jim Mowrer in 2012 and 2014.
Scholten also has outraised King in campaign cash over three straight quarters, building a more than 2-to-1 fundraising advantage, with $719,000 to $353,000.
King routinely coasts to re-election victories. His closest call was in 2012 when he edged Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack, 53 percent to 45 percent. Vilsack, the wife of former Gov. Tom Vilsack, entered the race with higher name recognition than other King opponents.
The 4th District, the largest of the state's four congressional districts, covers 39 counties in Northwest and North Central Iowa. Registered Republican voters outnumber Democrats, 190,065 to 119,714.