US Congressional Candidates Tainted by Antisemitism Defeated in Iowa, New Mexico Primaries
Two high-profile candidates in Tuesday’s election primaries who were tainted by racism and antisemitism lost their bids to serve in the US Congress.
In Iowa, nine-term Republican congressman Steve King lost his party’s primary to State Sen. Randy Feenstra, while in New Mexico, former CIA operative Valerie Plame was defeated by local attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez in the Democratic race to represent the 3rd congressional district.
Anti-immigration hardliner King already had a reputation for inflammatory comments about race when he exclaimed in a New York Times interview in Jan. 2019, “white nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
Notable past comments by King included his 2006 description of Americans who were murdered by undocumented migrants as a “slow-motion Holocaust,” and his 2009 remark that the Affordable Care Act would threaten birthrates in white communities, resulting in a “dying civilization.”
Among those who welcomed King’s defeat was the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).
“Steve King does not represent the Republican Party and it’s time for him to leave Congress,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement. “We are happy that Randy Feenstra, a strong conservative and a friend of Israel, will be our party’s candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 4th district seat this year.”
Meanwhile, Democratic contender Plame lost the New Mexico Democratic primary to Fernandez amid a television advertising campaign that reminded voters of her endorsement of a crudely antisemitic article — “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” published by the far-right Unz Review — in Sept. 2017.
The article, by Holocaust denier Philip Giraldi, opined that American Jews who appeared on television should be marked appropriately — “kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison.”
Initially, Plame vigorously defended her promotion of Giraldi’s article on her Twitter feed, telling critics, “Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.” She later apologized, claiming that she had “missed gross undercurrents to this article.”
The Alliance to Combat Extremism Fund (ACE), which sponsored the ad campaign highlighting Plame’s antisemitic associations, praised Democratic primary voters in New Mexico for rejecting her.
“New Mexicans sent a clear message tonight: hate has no place in our politics,” ACE Fund President Ian Sugar said in a statement. “While others ignored the issue, we made sure that Valerie Plame‘s long record of spreading antisemitic hate and white supremacist propaganda was exposed.”