The Slatest

Democratic Challenger to Iowa Lawmaker Abandons Race Due to Death Threats

Rep. Steve King speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Kim Weaver, who was seeking to unseat Rep. Steve King in next year’s midterm elections dropped out of the race over the weekend, in part due to fears over her safety. “Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats,” Weaver said in a Facebook post. “While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.”

Weaver also said she couldn’t risk losing health coverage, which would vanish if she quit her job to campaign full time for the House seat. “Most importantly, my mother lives in Des Moines and has been experiencing ongoing health issues. I feel that it’s necessary to be more available to support her,” she wrote. “Considering this, along with the time and energy it takes to succeed as a candidate, I realize that I can’t fully commit to both.”

In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Weaver also justified her decision by saying that the state office she works for had suffered budget cuts as “punishment” for her candidacy. She told the paper the intimidating phone calls and messages increased after the paper published a story about her efforts to build a career as an internet psychic.

King, a notoriously anti-immigrant lawmaker who is not shy about making racist statements, has been in the House for 14 years. In the previous election, Weaver lost to King in 38 of the 39 counties in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

King responded to news of Weaver dropping out of the race by accusing her of making up the death threats. “Death threats likely didn’t happen but a fabrication,” King wrote on Twitter.