DES MOINES – Republican Randy Feenstra has jumped out to a 20-point lead over second-time Democratic nominee J.D. Scholten in the race for Iowa's 4th District, a new poll shows.
"It looks like Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief in the 4th District with Steve King out of the picture,” said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University Polling Institute, which released the independent poll Thursday morning.
Feenstra, a state senator from Hull, defeated King, a nine-term incumbent, in the June primary. Scholten, of Sioux City, is hoping to improve on his narrow 3-point loss to King in 2018. However, the current poll results suggest otherwise. Feenstra has a commanding 54 percent to 34 percent lead over Scholten among registered voters, with 8 percent undecided.
The most Republican of Iowa's four congressional districts, the 4th District is home to 202,484 registered GOP voters, 128,484 registered Democrats and 155,395 no-party voters. King, a nine-term incumbent who honed a national reputation for a series of controversial comments on race and immigration, was in danger of losing the safe seat after GOP leaders last year removed him from all his committees in the wake of published comments in which he questioned when terms like "white supremacist" and "white nationalism" became offensive.
Feenstra has amassed a 40-point advantage -- 64 percent to 24 percent -- in the 33 counties that King won by 17 points as a group two years ago, according to the new poll. Scholten has a 7-point lead -- 48 percent to 41 percent -- in the six counties he won by 17 points in 2018, including Woodbury, home to Sioux City.
Feenstra leads among both men -- 63 percent to 26 percent -- and women -- 47 percent to 42 percent.
Monmouth polled all four U.S. House races in Iowa.
Iowa’s two freshman congresswomen are leading their races for reelection, while a Republican is also ahead in another open-seat race.
First District Rep. Abby Finkenauer has a 10-point lead over her Republican challenger, state Rep. Ashley Hinson. The race stands at 51 percent for Finkenauer to 41 percent for Hinson among all registered voters, with 8 percent undecided.
In the 3rd District, where Rep. Cindy Axne is in a rematch with former Rep. David Young, the Democrat is leading 48 percent to 42 percent – a wider margin that she won by two years ago.
“At the current stage of the race, voters seem willing to give both Democratic incumbents a second term,” Murray said.
The tightest battle appears to be Iowa’s 2nd District, where 14-year incumbent Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack is retiring. The 2nd was the only congressional seat Democrats held in the run-up to 2018. There, Republican state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks is leading Democrat Rita Hart 47 percent to 44 percent, which is within the margin of error, with 8 percent undecided, according to Monmouth.
In the 1st, Finkenauer has an 18-point edge -- 57 percent to 39 percent -- in Black Hawk, Dubuque, Linn and Winneshiek counties, which she won in 2018. The race is virtually tied – 43 percent Hinson and 42 percent Finkenauer – in the remaining 16 counties, which former GOP Rep. Rod Blum won by 9 points combined two years ago. Men favor Hinson over Finkenauer 46 percent to 44 percent. Women favor the incumbent 58 percent to 34 percent.
Miller-Meeks is running for a fourth time after losing to Loebsack in 2008 by 18 points, but coming within 5 points of defeating him 2010 and 2014. She has a commanding 34-point lead -- 61 percent to 27 percent -- in the counties that Loebsack lost by a combined 14 points. Hart, a former state senator, has an 8-point edge -- 50 percent to 42 percent -- in the nine counties that Loebsack won by 23 points in 2018, including Johnson and Scott.
Men overwhelmingly back Miller-Meeks by 60 percent to 33 percent, while women prefer Hart by a 55 percent to 33 percent margin.
In a rematch of the 2018 contest that saw the 3rd District flip from Republican to Democrat, Axne has a small 48 percent to 42 percent lead over Young among registered voters. Axne has a 21-point lead in populous Polk County, which she won by 16 points in 2018. Young has a 14-point lead in the remainder of the district, which he won by 17 points two years ago. Men back Young by 49 percent to 41 percent for Axne, but women prefer the incumbent by a larger 57 percent to 34 percent margin.
The Monmouth poll of 1,665 Iowa registered voters was conducted by telephone and online from July 25 to Aug. 3. The margin of error ranges from 4.9 percent to 5.1 percent depending on the congressional district.
The Journal's Dave Dreeszen contributed to this story.
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