SIOUX CITY -- Former Iowa House speaker Christopher Rants has formed a political action committee to raise funds for Rep. Steve King's chief primary challenger.
Rants, who represented Sioux City in the House for 18 year, announced Thursday he had founded the federal group, named Iowa Four PAC. Rants said the committee would support Republican state Sen. Randy Feenstra's bid for Iowa's 4th District seat.
Feenstra, a third-term senator from Hull, last week announced his candidacy to challenge King in the 2020 GOP primary.
Meanwhile, Feenstra has been doing just fine on his own. The prominent lawmaker announced Thursday he had raised more than $100,000 in the first 10 days of his campaign.
Rants, who now runs a government affairs and public relations firm, said he started the PAC because "King has embarrassed the district and has shown he is incapable of providing Iowans representation." He noted House GOP leaders on Monday stripped King of all House committee assignments after King, in a New York Times story, was quoted as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy denounced King's comments and said they "call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity."
In a rare action, the House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution of disapproval designed to rebuke King. The resolution called for the chamber to reject white nationalism and white supremacy as “hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
King has insisted the Times quote has been "completely mischaracterized." The outspoken conservative congressman said he was only wondering aloud: "How did that offensive language get injected into our political dialogue? Who does that, how does it get done, how do they get by with laying labels like this on people?"
Feenstra said the $100,000 haul shows "early financial strength" for his campaign.
"Since launching our campaign, the financial support and encouragement from conservatives across our district and the country has been overwhelming," he said.
Kim Weaver, the Sheldon Democrat who King defeated in 2016, announced she has created a Go Fund Me account to get out the word about her quest to have King resign.
The account says Weaver has a goal of raising $150,000 that would be spent on newspaper ads airing reasons King should resign. Weaver said King is "an out and out racist," who should not be in office. By midday Thursday, the account had raised $205 from six donors.
On Tuesday, King told WHO Radio he had no intention of heeding calls to resign, "No, no chance at all. I'll go out of this place dead before that happens and the Lord will have to make that decision."