SIOUX CITY -- Steve King may never have had so many people lined up to replace him in the U.S. House, but he's still confident he will win re-election to the Iowa 4th congressional district in November.
First, King has to win a Republican primary on June 5, where Cyndi Hanson, a college administrator from Sioux City, opposes him from a more moderate position. Beyond that, three Democrats also have their own primary to select the one who will move ahead to the November ballot.
There is also a Libertarian Party candidate, Charles Aldrich of Clarion, who the congressman said he presumes may be trying to position himself on some issues to the political right of King.
With a laugh, he cited a notable quote from U.S. military icon Chesty Puller about being beset by an enemies on many sides.
"I am ideologically surrounded," King said.
Still, King is not fazed, feeling the strong Republican voter advantage in the 4th District will still work to his advantage in a year when Democrats feel they've got a wave moving.
"I've been all over this district. We've got a pretty good ear to the ground," he said.
King is a former construction business owner and state senator. He lives in Kiron, and won his first term to a congressional seat in 2002.
King said he sees little amiss in the towns of the 4th District, citing a flourishing renewable industry in Northwest and North Central Iowa, plus the fact that the modernization of U.S. Highway 20 will be done this year.
"We're in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the nation," he said, citing "lousy markets" for agriculture commodities as the chief downside.
King said people are ready to continue supporting him, given his strong embrace of conservative principles.
"I don't have to explain much anymore. People know where I stand. They know that I am pro-Second Amendment, pro-life," he said.
The Democrats running for the position are Leann Jacobson of Spencer, John Paschen of Ames and J.D. Scholten of Sioux City. King in April said he's not met Hanson, and only fleetingly saw her leave a Des Moines event as he arrived.
King has larger campaign coffers than fellow Republican Hanson. Scholten has outraised him in the last two reporting periods to the Federal Election Commission.
In the three months through March, Scholten raised $211,122, compared to King's $124,217 . Once expenses are subtracted from campaign revenues, Scholten also has the lead in cash on hand. Scholten had $271,098 available as of March 31, while King had $76,034 cash on hand.
"My competition is egging me on to raise more money," the congressman said. "It is not that I can't raise more money, but I am busy doing my (congressional) job. Raising money is not my No. 1 priority every day."
King won his last two-year term in 2016. That's when he won a Republican primary over state Sen. Rick Bertrand, of Sioux City, who asserted that King was ineffective in Washington. King handily won that primary contest, then the November election over Democrat Kim Weaver, of Sheldon.