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DES MOINES, Iowa – Critics around the country have long wondered: How does U.S. Rep. Steve King keep getting elected year after year?
King, a Kiron Republican with a history of controversy, has served the northwestern Iowa district for eight terms — and he won a ninth term, despite renewed condemnation and an active campaign against him.
But he is well known in his heavily Republican district and the results show it.
Here is the data that shows the shape of the district that King captures every two years.
Steve King wins by high margins
King may be reviled in some circles, but his district seems to appreciate what he is doing. Every two years since 2002, he has won re-election — sometimes by double digits.
"I share beliefs with a super-majority of this 4th Congressional District as reflected by election results going all the way back to 2002," King said in a recent interview with the Des Moines Register. "They know I haven’t changed."
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He comes from a heavily Republican district
Bobbie Clark, an Algona homemaker, said in September that she supports King, because once he takes a stance on an issue, he doesn't back down.
"If you are really strong about where you stand, you are going to be controversial," said Clark, who chatted with King at a meet-and-greet event at Kossuth County GOP headquarters in Algona.
The district is only becoming stronger for Republicans
While King's district has long been Iowa's most heavily Republican, it has only become more so in recent years.
The gap between Republican Party registration and that of Democrats has gotten larger and larger, making it even tougher for any Democrat to knock King from his House post.
In 2016, King won a majority in nearly every one of the district's 39 counties
It is not just pockets of the northwestern and northern district that support King. It has been nearly all of the district's 39 counties.
Although the King support fluctuates across the district, in 2016, King's Democratic opponent picked up the majority of support in only one county.
That same year, President Donald Trump won the district, besting Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 30 percentage poins.
Having trouble seeing the map? Click here.
He faced a tough race in 2018 — but still won
Democrat J.D. Scholten ran a fierce campaign against King, traveling across the district time and again. He won national attention from folks like Bette Midler, Bernie Sanders and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream fame.
Scholten raised far more money than King and ran multiple television ads. King began running a television ad only in the days before the election.
King still won in November.
But he faced the closest race of his career — besting Scholten by only 2.6 percentage points.
“Our hole card was this: You. You. You knew the truth all along. And you guarded my back. You guarded it at the coffee shops. You guarded it at the dinner table. You guarded it at church. You prayed for this campaign," he told supporters at his victory party (from which the Register was banned). "And that’s the margin, isn’t it? The margin is prayer. In fact, I think we might have lost in a landslide if it wasn’t for prayer."
Read more about the politics of Iowa's congressional elections
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Steve King: Iowa Republican congressional district re-elects him. Why?