In the four days since Representative Steve King's racist tweet, Democratic challenger Kim Weaver reported a significant fundraising haul in her bid to defeat him in 2018.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is easily one of the most racist members of the House of Representatives.
He has stated that most young Mexican-Americans are drug mules with "calves the size of cantaloupes." He called a woman sitting with Michelle Obama at a State of the Union Address a "deportable." He has said he wants America to be "homogeneous" because "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." In one interview, he predicted that "Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other" before whites become a minority, and urged people to read The Camp of the Saints, a racist 1973 novel which depicts a horde of nonwhite migrants destroying Western civilization after liberals allow them into Europe.
Republicans have refused to censure King in any way or, for the most part, even criticize his remarks. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave a milquetoast statement disagreeing with King, but has refused to punish him and is still allowing him to chair the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he would have to "touch base" with Donald Trump before deciding to condemn King.
But one woman is actually taking a stand and doing something about it.
A longtime Sheldon resident and progressive Democrat, Kim Weaver ran against King in 2016, but she received little support from national fundraising committees. Now she is mounting a new campaign for 2018, and this time, the nationwide outrage against King has resulted in a fundraising blitz.
In the four days since King's "somebody else's babies" tweet, Weaver raised over $100,000 for her campaign, and her Twitter following quadrupled.
— Kim Weaver (@KimWeaverIA) March 16, 2017
In a new Sirius XM radio interview, she discussed, among much else, her electoral prospects against King, and the importance of standing up to online harassment and racism:
WEAVER: I have been saying that we need to make it a national mission to take this guy out. I worked really hard last time, I had a higher vote percentage in all 39 counties — it's the largest district in the state, 39 out of 99 — than both Hillary Clinton and our Senate candidate. And in Story County, our true blue county, I actually had a higher vote total than Hillary, [Senate candidate] Patty [Judge], and the last two congressional candidates. And I did that while working full time, as a single woman, two kids in college, one out of college, and even had back surgery two — two months after I announced my campaign in 2015.
THOMPSON: So you've, you've — you've called him — you've called him right out?
WEAVER: Oh I have — oh I have called him right out last time. And I'll tell you what, I got death threats on Twitter for it, from white supremacists saying that I was anti-white. I said, no, I'm pro-humanity. I'm anti-Steve King. The man does not represent the majority of Iowans.
The whole interview is worth listening to from start to finish. Weaver goes on to describe in detail how King's policies are bad for Iowa, and contrasts that with the details of her proposals to expand Medicare to cover nursing homes and forgive student loans through a national volunteer program.
Iowa's 4th Congressional District leans red, but not so much that a Democratic win is impossible. The Cook Partisan Voting Index gives the district a score of +4R, which is close enough that a well-funded Democrat with name recognition could win in the right circumstances.
The antics of Trump and the Republican Congress have steadily been triggering a wave of Democratic candidates ready to fight back in red territory: Jon Ossoff, who leads the polls to replace Tom Price in Georgia despite a spectacularly bad GOP ad campaign against him; Kathryn Allen, a physician who raised $200,000 in two days to take on Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT); Rob Quist, a folk singer/songwriter who is leveraging his celebrity status to run for Montana's open at-large district. Now, Weaver has become the latest progressive champion to throw her hat in the ring.
The redoubled civic passion of Democrats like Weaver promises to hold Republicans like King accountable. The American people have a new opportunity to vote out those who promote hate and division, and elect some real leadership.