Steve King (Iowa)

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Steve King
Steve King.jpg
U.S. House, Iowa, District 4
In office
January 3, 2003-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 12
PredecessorTom Latham (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
Cost per vote$19.07 in 2012
First electedNovember 5, 2002
Next primaryJune 3, 2014
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$7,594,293
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Iowa State Senate
High schoolDenison Community High School, Denison, Iowa
Date of birthMay 28, 1949
Place of birthStorm Lake, Iowa
ProfessionBusiness Owner
Net worth$353,007.50
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Campaign website
Steve King campaign logo


Steven Arnold "Steve" King (b. May 28, 1949, in Storm Lake, Iowa) is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Iowa's 4th Congressional District. King was first elected to the House from District 5 in 2002.

King ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Iowa's 4th District due to redistricting. King ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 5, 2012, and won the general election on November 6, 2012.[1]

He considered a run for outgoing Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat in 2014 before opting not to run.[2][3][4]

He is set to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. If he runs, he will seek the Republican nomination in the primary election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.

He previously was a member of the Iowa State Senate from 1996 to 2002.[5]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, King is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


King was born on May 28, 1949, in Storm Lake, IA, and raised in Denison, Iowa, where he also attended high school. Although he attended Northwest Missouri State University from 1967-1970, he does not have a college degree. Prior to his political career, King worked as a businessman.[5]


  • Iowa State Senate, 1996-2002
  • U.S. House of Representatives, 5th Congressional District of Iowa, 2003-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. House


King serves on the following committees:[6][7]

  • Agriculture Committee
    • Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, & Nutrition (Chair)
    • Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit
  • Judiciary Committee
    • Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
    • Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
  • Committee on Small Business
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade
    • Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce
    • Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access
    • Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology


King served on the following House committees[8]:

  • Committee on Agriculture
    • Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities & Risk Management
    • Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy & Poultry
    • Subcommittee on Horticulture & Nutrition
    • Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, & Credit
  • Committee on Small Business
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy & Trade
    • Subcommittee on Healthcare & Technology
    • Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax & Capital Access
    • Subcommittee on Contracting & Workforce
  • Judiciary Committee
    • Subcommittee on Immigration Policy & Enforcement
    • Subcommittee on the Constitution


WWII Memorial

A group of World War II veterans, associated with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, wanting to pay their respects at the WWII Memorial were met with signs and barriers upon their arrival, due to the October 2013 government shutdown. They refused to let their trip be affected by the shutdown and made their way through the barriers. Many congressional members from both parties spoke of their approval of the move, including Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was in attendance. Rep. Steve King and Rep. Steve Palazzo aided the veterans by distracting park police and helping move the gates.[9]

House Judiciary Committee

Congressman King was first appointed to the House Judiciary Committee in 2003 shortly after he was sworn into the Congress.[10] King still serves on the committee.[11]

Congressman King serves as the Republican Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security & International Law. Also, Congressman King serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Constitution, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties.[11]

Presidential rumblings

Involvement in 2016 presidential election

King said on August 29, 2013, he intends to be involved in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign, but his role will likely be to help frame the debate rather than as a presidential candidate.[12]

King has said he isn’t ruling out the possibility of a presidential candidacy in 2016, but he is not laying the groundwork for a presidential run. He said his goal at this point is to help shape the debate as a “guardrail of constitutional conservatism.”[12]

“I am not an active candidate for president of the United States,” King said in an interview. “I am laying plans to try to move the country in the right direction.”[12]

King’s nationwide travels have sparked speculation about presidential ambitions. He has visited South Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia, and he was listed as a speaker New Hampshire at a conservative conference.[12]

Charleston meeting

King attended the closed-door “Charleston Meeting,” a gathering of influential national conservatives and business leaders hosted by conservative activist Mallory Factor in August 2013.[13] He also held an invitation-only meeting with South Carolina GOP activists in Charleston County.[13][14][15]

The Charleston Meeting and its sibling, the New York Meeting, are semi-regular events hosted by Factor that bring together influential conservative figures from around the country - not necessarily the local activists who will be key players in the state's primary, the first southern contest in the 2016 presidential nomination fight.[16]

King’s office has not yet commented on whether he is looking at a run for president, but such trips are generally only embarked on by politicians angling for a national profile and/or a potential presidential run.[13]

Pheasant hunting with Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz announced on August 30, 2013, that he accepted an invitation to hunt pheasants on October 26, 2013 in northwest Iowa with King on the opening day of Iowa’s pheasant hunting season.[17]

“Yes, we are confirmed for a hunt with King,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in an email statement. “The senator has enjoyed getting to know him and work with him on important issues before Congress. He’s honored to have received the invite.”[17]

Trip to New Hampshire

King has been "tentatively confirmed" for a conservative conference in October 2013. New Hampshire will be one of the early primary states for the 2016 presidential bid.[18]

U.S. delegation to Egypt

King was part of a delegation of U.S. House members who visited Egypt in early September 2013 to express support for the military government that has removed the country’s first elected president and has cracked down on its supporters.[19]

King, in a news conference with Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, said the trio had “outstanding meetings” with the president of Egypt, the general who led the coup two months ago that ousted Egypt’s first elected president, the pope of the Coptic church, and the president of the American Chamber of Commerce there.[19]

“I’m here to congratulate the Egyptian people, for 30 million Egyptians, coming to the streets all over this country to take your country back from the people that were going to deny the future and the freedom of the Egyptian people,” King said during the news conference, referring to the July 3. 2013, coup.[19]

King also said: “We as the American people stand with you, and we stand against the Muslim Brotherhood. The American people do not support the Muslim Brotherhood. We oppose all forms of terror and terrorism.”[19]


Boehner apology

After the annual Republican retreat in January 2014, King said Speaker John Boehner did not apologize for reportedly calling him an “asshole” while speaking with Democratic members.[20]

When asked whether he expected an apology from Boehner, King said,“We have not had that discussion. I don’t expect we will. That’s decorum on the floor of the House that shouldn’t have happened.”[20]

Minimum wage order unconstitutional

On January 28, 2014, King called President Barack Obama’s plan to sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers a “constitutional violation.”[21]

“I think it’s a constitutional violation. We have a minimum wage. Congress has set it. For the president to simply declare ‘I’m going to change this law that Congress has passed,’ is unconstitutional. He’s outside the bounds of his Article II limitations...This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office,” King said.[21]

Government shutdown an Obama tantrum

King said on September 20, 2013, that if the government shuts down, it will be “the equivalent of a political tantrum” from President Barack Obama.[22]

“So the House will make sure that the funds are available. And if the president should decide he’s going to shut down the government, it will never be the House of Representatives, if this happens it will be either an act of either Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate or the president or them working in conjunction with each other,” King said. “If the president decides to shut the government down, it will be the equivalent of a political tantrum, saying ‘I will have my piece of signature legislation even if the American people reject it and I’ll punish you by shutting the government down if I don’t get my way.’"[22]


Steve King's remarks about unemployment in Charleston, South Carolina on August 26, 2013.

King appeared at the "Charleston Meeting" in Charleston, South Carolina on August 26, 2013, where he chastised unemployed Americans, saying “I want to see more Americans step up.”[23][24][25]

King reportedly compared the unemployed to children who refuse to do chores, implying that those who are out of work should not receive a helping hand: “Now what kind of a family — if you had six kids and a third of those kids would say ‘I’m not doing the chores, Mom,’… pretty soon those kids would be on the ‘you get to eat after you do the work.’”[23]

King also said that it wasn’t the economy that was sluggish, but the 100 million non-working Americans giving up jobs to “unskilled” illegal immigrants.[23] “One hundred million Americans aren’t contributing and yet we’re looking out across the board and saying let’s bring in some more people that are uneducated, unskilled and we’re going to put them into the unskilled workforce and somehow we’re going to increase our economy,” King said during the Charleston Meeting. “…I want to see more Americans step up.”[23]

This “middle class standard of living” is the direct result of President Obama propelling the country into a “dependency state,” according to King. “We borrow money from China to pay people not to work and we say we’re going to grow our GDP because we have sympathy for people that are in this country illegally,” he said.[23]

Global warming a "religion"

In comments made on August 6, 2013, King dismissed the concern over global warming, labeling it a "religion" and claiming efforts to address climate change are useless.[26][27]

"It is not proven, it's not science," King said. "It's more of a religion than a science."[28][29]

The congressman spoke at a Fort Dodge event sponsored by the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.[26][28] King said he thought environmentalists should focus on the positive aspects of the earth heating up due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, instead of harping on the negatives.[30][26] King also argued that the push to combat climate change will harm the economy more than it will help the environment.[27]

"Everything that might result from a warmer planet is always bad in [environmentalists'] analysis. There will be more photosynthesis going on if the earth gets warmer. And if sea levels go up four or six inches, I don't know if we'd know that," King said.

King suggested that rising sea levels are not a good measurement of the consequences of global warming. "We don't know where sea level is even, let alone be able to say that it's going to come up an inch globally because some polar ice caps might melt because there's CO2 suspended in the atmosphere," King said.[28][26]


Illegal immigrations responsible for thousands of deaths

King spoke at an Omaha immigration event on September 13, 2013.

At a rally in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 13, 2013, King asserted that thousands of Americans have been killed by people who are in the United States illegally.[31]

The rally was in response to the death of Louise Sollowin, who was raped and beaten in her Omaha home in July 2013, and later died. Police charged a 19 year old Mexican native in the U.S. illegally for her death.[31]

King said he’s now in his 11th year in Congress and during that time, two of his staffers have been victims of car accidents caused by drivers with no license or insurance who he said were illegal immigrants.[31]

King also said a former immigration official once told him the number of deaths is likely “in multiples of the victims of Sept. 11.” He added: “Now that hits home, doesn’t it? … Three thousand times something.”[31]

Remarks on young undocumented workers

King said in an interview with Newsmax in July 2013 that a great number of the immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally as children were smuggling drugs into the country.[32] “Some of them are valedictorians, and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents...For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” said in the interview and added, “Those people would be legalized with the same act.”[32][33]

Steve King's July 2013 interview with Newsmax

Speaker John Boehner said in a statement on July 23, 2013, that comments from King likening young undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers, to drug mules was “wrong.”[32] On July 25, 2013, Boehner called King's comments “deeply offensive and wrong” and added, “What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party.”[34] House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican, said of King’s remarks: ”I strongly disagree with his characterization of the children of immigrants and find the comments inexcusable.”[32]

King defended his remarks saying, “It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real. We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back and if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to characterize this about valedictorians, I gave them a different image that we need to be thinking about because we just simply can’t be passing legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of people.”[35]

Steve King speaks about immigration at rally

King — who previously made remarks about immigrant children as "drug mules" — took his views on the road to rallies, including one in August 2013 in the territory of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a key influence on immigration policy in the House.[36]

“Now think what that is,” King said at the August 2013 rally. “If you bring people from a violent civilization into a less-violent civilization, you’re going to have more violence right? It’s like pouring hot water into cold water, does it raise the temperature or not?”[36]

Republican leaders — eager not to further alienate Hispanic voters — argued they had done all they can to shut up King. “What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party,” said House Speaker John Boehner after one of King’s statements.[36]

King said in an interview that he was not directing a specific message toward his leadership, despite appearances on Cantor’s home turf. He said he just believes that he is a man standing on principle while many of his fellow Republicans “have had a spell cast over them” following the 2012 elections.[36]

“A year ago, almost everybody in my conference agreed with me,” King said. “There’s been no spell cast over me.”[36]

Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[37] For more information pertaining to King's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[38]

National security

DHS Appropriations

Voted "Yes" King voted in favor of HR 2217 - the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[39]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Voted "No" King voted against House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[39]

CISPA (2013)

Voted "Yes" King voted in favor of HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[40] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[39]


Voted "Yes" King voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[39]


Farm bill

Yea3.png On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[41] The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[42][43] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[43] King voted with 161 other Republican representatives in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Nay3.png On January 15, 2014, the Republican-run House approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[44][45] The House voted 359-67 for the 1,582 page bill, with 64 Republicans and three Democrats voting against the bill.[45] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[46] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and protected the Affordable Care Act from any drastic cuts. King joined with the 63 other Republicans and 3 Democrats who voted against the bill.[44][45]

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[47] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[48] King voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[49]

Voted "No" The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[50] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. King voted against HR 2775.[51]

Protect Interstate Commerce Act

King proposed an amendment to the House farm bill in August 2013 in response to California’s 2008 Proposition 2, which required egg-laying hens to be housed in roomier cages so they can stand up and spread their wings.[43][52]

The inclusion of the amendment, or any similar language, in the final farm bill package, would mean that California would no longer be able to apply this standard to the sale of eggs produced in other states.[43]

The measure is designed to prevent states from applying their own standards for “any agricultural product” to those made in other states. Federal law defines an agricultural product broadly. The term encompasses a wide swath of products such as such as livestock, poultry, dairy and plants, and “any and all products raised or produced on farms and any processed or manufactured product thereof.” This language could apply not only to animal confinement, but also to state laws on horse slaughter as well as other food safety and environmental requirements.[43]

The amendment, officially known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, is not included in the Senate-passed farm bill, but may be incorporated into the final bill as the House and Senate move into conference negotiations.[43]

Nearly 200 members of the House and Senate, both Republican and Democrat, signed letters expressing their opposition to King’s proposal.[43]



King supports:[53]

  • Secured and controlled borders - "I believe we must tighten and strengthen our border control efforts. I have traveled to the southern border and have seen the unprotected areas that allow the free flow of illegal immigrants into our country. Allowing illegal immigration to flourish is a threat to our national security."
  • Concrete border wall - "I have seen the fences being built on the border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. I have watched illegal immigrants scale these fences and easily move between the United States and Mexico. To address this, I have designed a concrete border wall proposal. I have 35 years of experience in the earth-moving, drainage and concrete construction business, which gives me the background to design an effective wall. My concrete wall would function as both a human and vehicle barrier, inspired by the success of the concrete wall in Israel. My design is cost efficient, easy to construct and impenetrable. This design would funnel illegal traffic to our ports of entry, where it can be reasonably controlled by our nation's customs and border patrol agents."
  • An immigration policy designed to enhance the economic, social and cultural well-being of the United States.

King opposes:[54]

  • Amnesty - "I believe we only encourage illegal immigration by discussing amnesty for the 12-20 million illegal immigrants living in the United States today. I adamantly oppose amnesty, regardless of the guise under which it is presented. Amnesty pardons immigration lawbreakers and rewards them with the objective of their crime—citizenship."
  • "Job magnets" - "In addition to a physical deterrent, I believe we must shut off the job magnets that encourage illegal immigrants to come to the United States. I have authored New IDEA, the Illegal Deduction Elimination Act, which would protect American jobs for American workers. New IDEA would make wages and benefits paid to illegal immigrants nondeductible for federal tax purposes. This would eliminate the incentive of hiring illegal workers to employ cheap labor. New IDEA would also make E-Verify permanent and provide "safe harbor" for employers who use this employment eligibility system. My legislation would also create an information sharing system between the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. By using an automated system to verify employment authorization, and by sharing this information amongst three federal agencies, false identification documents and illegal workers will be identified more easily."
  • Incentives for illegal immigrants - "In addition to border security and workplace enforcement, our nation must eliminate needless incentives that encourage illegal immigration and cost taxpayers significant amounts of money each year. I do not believe it is in the best interest of our nation to continue tolerating the practice of illegal aliens giving birth to children in the U.S. in order to obtain citizenship for the child, then moving back to their country of origin with the hopes of achieving uninhibited access to our country for as many family members as possible."
Morton Memos Prohibition

Voted "Yes" King voted in favor of House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States. The vote largely followed party lines.[39]


Healthcare Reform Rules

Voted "Yes" King voted in favor of House Amendment 450 - Requires Congressional Approval for Any Rules Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The amendment was adopted by the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 227-185. The amendment requires all changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act be approved by Congress before taking effect. The vote was largely along party lines.[39]

Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act

Voted "Yes" King voted in favor of HR 2009 - Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act of 2013. The bill passed through the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 232-185. The bill would prevent the IRS and Treasury Secretary from enforcing the powers provided to them in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The vote largely followed party lines.[39]

Social issues

Amash amendment

Voted "No" King voted against House Amendment 413 - Prohibits the National Security Agency from Collecting Records Under the Patriot Act. The amendment failed on July 4, 2013, by a vote of 205-217. The amendment would have prohibited the collection of records by the National Security Agency under the Patriot Act. Both parties were split on the vote.[39]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" King voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was 1 of 151 Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[55]




See also: Iowa's 4th Congressional District elections, 2014

King is set to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. If he runs, he will seek the Republican nomination in the primary election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Steve King 2014 re-election bid
Poll Steve King Democratic opponentUndecidedSample Size
Public Policy Polling
October 2-3, 2013
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Possible Senate run in 2014

See also: United States Senate elections in Iowa, 2014

King considered a run for outgoing Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat in the November 4, 2014 U.S. Senate election before opting not to run.[60][61][62]

King conducted after an interview with the Des Moines Register on May 1, 2013, in which he stated that he was “embarrassed” he didn’t have an answer yet about his plans to run for U.S. Senate.[63] He also commented that he never expected to still be undecided in May, saying “Things are stacking up on me so fast, I hardly have time to deal with the issue...There’s a lot of support to do this, and I just don’t know the answer. And I’m embarrassed that I don’t know the answer....I’ve just been pinned down doing my job, believe it or not. It just keeps me busy representing people in Congress," citing events pending in Congress, especially the farm bill and the immigration issue, as the primary issues receiving his attention.[63]

Decision not to run

King announced on May 6, 2013, that he would not be running for the Senate seat.[64][65]

Gov. Branstad indicates preference

Gov. Terry Branstad spoke of his preference for Tom Latham to be the Republican nominee for Iowa's Senate seat at the National Governors Association on February 23, 2013.[66] Branstad said he believes Latham would be more electable statewide than fellow Representative King, who is also considering a run for the seat opened up by Harkin's retirement.[66]

Branstad also made it clear that he expects the two candidates to decide who will be running for the seat without a primary battle. “We’re not going to have a primary, and I’m going to support both of my congressmen. I just think that Latham would be the strongest candidate for the Senate at this time, and I feel confident that he would be a great vote-getter in our state.”[66]

Despite his preference for the strongest Republican nominee, Branstad has praised both candidates. He even suggested that he might support King if Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) retires in 2016 and he makes a run for his seat.[66]

Branstad summed up the situation, stating “I’ve encouraged them to talk to each other, make the decision, but I would hope that and someday I’d love to see them both in the U.S. Senate, but I think Tom Latham would be the most experienced and the strongest candidate at this time.”[66]


See also: Iowa's 4th Congressional District elections, 2012

King ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Iowa's 4th District. King won the nomination on the Republican ticket.[67] King ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Candidate Christie Vilsack ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The two faced off in the general election on November 6, 2012, and King won the contest. Candidates wishing to run were required to file by the signature filing deadline of March 16, 2012. The primary elections took place on June 5, 2012.[68]

U.S. House, Iowa District 4 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSteve King Incumbent 53% 200,063
     Democratic Christie Vilsack 44.9% 169,470
     Independent Martin James Monroe 2.2% 8,124
Total Votes 377,657
Source: Iowa Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race Background

Incumbent Steve King, who defeated 2010 opponent Matthew Campbell by over 65,200 votes, faced a considerably more difficult race in 2012. As the New York Times reports, this occured at the same time support for tea party candidates nationwide has dwindled. In a the election's first debate, Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack asked pointed questions regarding a Farm Bill that the U.S. House failed to pass.[69]

However, Christie Vilsack faced an uphill battle in a socially conservative district. Like other Democratic candidates running in socially conservative areas, notably Jim Graves who is challenging tea-party favorite Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, Vilsack steered away from hot button, national issues like abortion. Instead, she focused on local initiatives and ways the government might assist farmers.[70]


Steve King vs. Christie Vilsack
Poll Steve King Christie VilsackDon't knowSample Size
Public Policy Polling (September 24-25, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Steve King's first TV ad of the election was launched on August 27, 2012.

Steve King "Land"[71]

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for King is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, King raised a total of $7,594,293 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 7, 2013.[77]

Steve King (Iowa)'s Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Iowa, District 4) Won $3,753,859
2010 U.S. House (Iowa, District 5) Won $1,015,039
2008 U.S. House (Iowa, District 5) Won $1,023,904
2006 U.S. House (Iowa, District 5) Won $612,291
2004 U.S. House (Iowa, District 5) Won $539,970
2002 U.S. House (Iowa, District 5) Won $649,230
Grand Total Raised $7,594,293


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are King's reports.[78]


Breakdown of the source of King's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

King won re-election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, King's campaign committee raised a total of $3,753,859 and spent $3,815,764.[86] This is more than the average $1.5 million spent by House winners in 2012.[87]

Cost per vote

King spent $19.07 per vote received in 2012.


Breakdown of the source of King's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

King won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, King's campaign committee raised a total of $1,015,039 and spent $1,013,945.[88]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, King is a "far-right Republican leader." as of June 18, 2013.[89]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[90]

King most often votes with:

King least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, King missed 161 of 7,661 roll call votes from January 2003 to March 2013. This amounts to 2.1%, which is worse than the median of 2.2% among current congressional representatives as of March 2013.[91]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. King paid his congressional staff a total of $967,473 in 2011. He ranked 72nd on the list of the highest paid Republican representative staff salaries and ranked 227th overall of the lowest paid representative staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Iowa ranked 16th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[92]

Staff bonuses

According to an analysis by CNN, King was one of nearly 25 percent of House members who gave their staff bonuses in 2012. King's staff was given an apparent $3,721.49 in bonus money.[93]

Net worth

See also: Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, King's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $155,015 and $551,000. That averages to $353,007.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican representatives in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. King ranked as the 305th most wealthy representative in 2012.[94]

Steve King Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year.


King ranked 12th in the conservative rankings in 2012.[95]


King ranked 74th in the conservative rankings.[96]

Voting with party


Steve King voted with the Republican Party 96.9% of the time, which ranked 82nd among the 233 House Republican members as of June 2013.[97]


King has been married to his wife, Marilyn (nee Kelly) since 1972. They live in Kiron, Iowa, and have three children and five grandchildren.[98]

Recent news

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See also

External links


  1. Politico, "2012 House Race Results," accessed November 6, 2012
  2. The Gazette, "King keeping door open for U.S. Senate seat in 2014," accessed November 8, 2012
  3. Washington Post, "Steve King is out. The next phase of the Iowa Senate race starts now," accessed May 25, 2013
  4. Fox News, "Iowa's Steve King rules out GOP bid for Senate in 2014," accessed May 25, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress, "Steve King," accessed November 9, 2011
  6., "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed March 3, 2013
  7. U.S. House of Representatives, "Committee Assignments," accessed March 29, 2014
  8. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "House of Representatives Committee Assignments," accessed November 9, 2011
  9. Huffington Post, "Badass WWII Veterans Storm Memorial On National Mall, Defy Government Shutdown Closure," accessed October 1, 2013
  10. Government Printing Office, "House Judiciary Committee Members 108th Congress," accessed 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 Congressman Steve King, "111th Congress Committee Assignments," accessed 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Des Moines Register, "Steve King plans to be power broker in '16 campaign for president," accessed August 30, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Washington Post, "Steve King for president? He’s going to South Carolina," accessed August 7, 2013
  14. Huffington Post, " Steve King To Visit South Carolina, Meet With GOP Activists: Report," accessed August 7, 2013
  15., "First on CNN: Iowa's Steve King heading to South Carolina," accessed August 7, 2013
  16. KCRG, "Is Iowa Rep. Steve King Preparing for White House Bid?," accessed August 7, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 Des Moines Register, "Cruz confirms Iowa pheasant hunt on Oct. 26 with Congressman Steve King," accessed August 30, 2013
  18. The Washington Post, "Steve King headed to New Hampshire," accessed August 27, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Des Moines Register, "Iowa’s Steve King tells Egypt’s military government: ‘The American people stand with you’," accessed September 9, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 Roll Call, "Steve King: Speaker Never Apologized for ‘Indelicate’ Insult," accessed February 3, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 Politico, "Steve King rips State of the Union executive order," accessed January 28, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 Politico, "Steve King: Shutdown an Obama ‘tantrum’," accessed September 20, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Right Wing Watch, "Steve King Compares Unemployed to Children Who Don't Do Chores: 'You Get to Eat After You Do the Work'," accessed August 28, 2013
  24. Red Alert Politics, "Rep. Steve King calls on unemployed Americans to get off their butts and start working," accessed August 28, 2013
  25. Daily Kos, "Steve King: Unemployment in America caused by 'a nation of slackers'," accessed August 28, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Huffington Post, "Steve King: Global Warming 'More Of A Religion Than A Science'," accessed August 7, 2013
  27. 27.0 27.1, "Steve King: Global warming “more of a religion than a science”," accessed August 7, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Messenger News, "King: Global warming ‘not proven, not science’," accessed August 7, 2013
  29. Mediaite, "Steve King Blasts Global Warming Claims: Not ‘Everything That Results From Warmer Planet Is Always Bad’," accessed August 7, 2013
  30. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named messengers
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Des Moines Register, "Steve King: Illegal immigrants responsible for deaths of thousands of Americans," accessed September 19, 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Politico, "John Boehner condemns Steve King drug runner comments," accessed July 24, 2013
  33. Des Moines Register, "King suggests many undocumented immigrants carry drugs," accessed July 24, 2013
  34. Politico, "John Boehner blasts Steve King again," accessed July 25, 2013
  35. Politico, "Steve King doubles down on 'drug mules' comment," accessed July 25, 2013
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 Politico, "Steve King hits the road on immigration," accessed August 26, 2013
  37. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  38. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 39.6 39.7 Project Vote Smart, "Steve King Key Votes," accessed October 14, 2013
  40. The Library of Congress, "H.R.624 CISPA (2013) (Referred in Senate - RFS)," accessed August 27, 2013
  41. Clerk of U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 31: H.R. 2642," accessed February 12, 2014
  42. Politico, "House clears farm bill," accessed February 12, 2014
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 43.4 43.5 43.6 New York Times, "Senate passes long-stalled farm bill, with clear winners and losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  44. 44.0 44.1, "House passes compromise $1.1 trillion budget for 2014," accessed January 20, 2014
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 21," accessed January 20, 2014
  46. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  47. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  48. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  49. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  50. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  51. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  52. USA Today, "Chicken cage compromise is not radical: Our view," accessed September 18, 2013
  53. Congressman Steve King, "Issues and Legislation," accessed March 12, 2012
  54. Congressman Steve King, "Issues and Legislation," accessed March 12, 2012
  55. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  56., "H.R. 997: English Language Unity Act of 2005," accessed March 12, 2012
  57. OpenCongress, "H.R.997 - English Language Unity Act of 2011," accessed March 12, 2012
  58. Congressman Steve King, "Issues and Legislation," accessed March 12, 2012
  59. OpenCongress, "H.R.140 - Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011," accessed March 12, 2012
  60. The Gazette, "King keeping door open for U.S. Senate seat in 2014," accessed November 8, 2012
  61. Washington Post, "Steve King is out. The next phase of the Iowa Senate race starts now," accessed May 25, 2013
  62. Fox News, "Iowa's Steve King rules out GOP bid for Senate in 2014," accessed May 25, 2013
  63. 63.0 63.1 Des Moines Register, "King ‘embarrassed’ to still be undecided on Senate run," accessed May 2, 2013
  64. Washington Post, "Steve King is out. The next phase of the Iowa Senate race starts now," accessed May 25, 2013
  65. Fox News, "Iowa's Steve King rules out GOP bid for Senate in 2014," accessed May 25, 2013
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4 Politico, "Terry Branstad prefers Tom Latham for Senate race," accessed February 25, 2013
  67. The Messenger, "Vilsack launches campaign," accessed December 16, 2011
  68. Politico, "2012 Election Map," accessed November 6, 2012
  69. New York Times, "In Iowa and Beyond, Redrawn Districts Test Favorites of Tea Party," accessed: October 12, 2012
  70. New York Times, "In Iowa and Beyond, Redrawn Districts Test Favorites of Tea Party," accessed October 12, 2012
  71. YouTube channel, "Video," accessed 2012]
  72. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  73. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  74. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  75. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  76. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  77. Open Secrets, "Steve King," accessed April 7, 2013
  78. Federal Election Commission, "Steve King 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 24, 2013
  79. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly" accessed July 25, 2013
  80. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly" accessed July 25, 2013
  81. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 24, 2013
  82. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed February 17, 2014
  83. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 21, 2014
  84. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2014
  85. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2014
  86. Open Secrets, "Steve King 2012 Election Cycle," accessed February 20, 2013]
  87. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
  88. Open Secrets, "Steve King 2010 Election Cycle," accessed November 11, 2011
  89. GovTrack, "King," accessed June 18, 2013
  90. OpenCongress, "Rep. Steve King," accessed August 1, 2013
  91. GovTrack, "Steve King," accessed April 1, 2013
  92. LegiStorm, "Steve King," accessed 2012
  93. CNN Politics, "Congressional bonuses in a time of cuts," accessed March 8, 2013
  94. OpenSecrets, "King, (R-IA), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  95. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  96. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  97. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  98. Official House Site, "Biography," accessed November 9, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Tom Latham (R)
U.S. House of Representatives - Iowa District 4
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. House of Representatives - Iowa District 5
Succeeded by
Now defunct
Preceded by
Iowa State Senate
Succeeded by