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Democratic Challenger Blasts Steve King Over Latest Controversy

Democratic candidate Matt Campbell, who is challenging Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 5th Congressional District, has issued a stinging response to King’s statement, made to talk show host G. Gordon Liddy on Monday, that President Obama “has demonstrated he’s got a default mechanism in him that breaks down [on] the side of race, on the side of it favors the black person.”

Here’s the statement that Campbell just released:

When you look at the history of Mr. King’s statements, it reflects a pattern. Instead of focusing on moving America forward, King is busy making polarizing statements. Comments such as these are why I’m running against Steve King for new leadership in Iowa’s 5th District.

We have seen that members of the GOP have distanced themselves from his remarks — notably by Republican House candidate Gardner’s move to cancel a fundraiser in which King was to speak and the Northern Colorado Tea Party leader saying King’s comments do not reflect tea party values. This shows that individuals on both sides of the aisle take issue with King’s comments.

King’s polarizing statements and failure to lead is preventing the people he represents here in Iowa’s fifth district from having their needs met.

King, for his part, maintains he has no regrets over the comment.

“I stand by what I said because what I said is accurate,” he told an Iowa radio station. “What I said was accurate and it was objective.”

The congressman has even taken to using the latest kerfuffle as a badge of honor. Said King to a local conservative blogger:

The fact that liberals have risen to attack me and call me names without rebutting my assertions concedes my point. … When they start calling you names you know they’ve lost the argument.

King’s comment about Obama and race are just the latest in a string of controversial statements. In recent months, the incumbent has argued for aggressive racial profiling using ESP and stated that the murder of Matthew Shepard had nothing to do with homophobia. Just yesterday, King made news for saying that President Obama’s aunt should be forced to testify before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law, regarding her asylum status.

Even with King’s help, Campbell has his work cut out for him in the messaging wars for Iowa’s 5th. The district covers 32 counties and features a patchwork of media micro-markets. As a former Democratic candidate explained to the Sioux City Journal, “[In] Iowa’s Fifth there’s Sioux City, Council Bluffs/Omaha, Sioux Falls and even Des Moines (which technically is outside the district, but with reach into the Fifth) and then a whole bunch of towns with radio and newspapers with circulations of maybe 5,000.”

*Update: *Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) has also responded to King’s remarks, calling them “deplorable and an embarrassment to the state of Iowa.”

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