My motivation to run for Congress is marked by a call to serve, a call I answered as a Chaplain and Major in the Army National Guard, and which has led me to answering the call as a Republican candidate in the midst of a five-way primary. With just days to go, I’ve carved out a solid niche—the most conservative constitutionalist who can win in November.
When I saw Randy Feenstra go on CNN’s Don Lemon, I saw the “writing on the wall.“ Rather than speak with conviction about his vision, he stammered through the interview trying to capitalize on what Steve King admitted was a “rookie mistake,” talking to the New York Times unrecorded for an hour.
On January 22, Randy Feenstra called me and said, “I’m begging and pleading you here, you know King is gonna stay in, their people made me solidly aware and if a couple of people jump in, King wins again.” Randy said at the time he’d already raised $200,000. He said his whole passion and goal was to “take King out” and asked me to “stand down.”
Standing down on my principles and passion – and on this country’s freedom and future – is not who I am. Conservatives like the Co-Chair of the Iowa Trump campaign Colonel (Ret.) Brian Miller and other past supporters of Steve King knew the risk of King being our nominee but had a much different approach: they were skeptical of Randy. He showed a penchant for dodging tough questions and surrounded himself with those who had a disdain for King.
In conversations I’ve had with voters throughout the District, you have told me, on one hand, that you have long supported a hardworking, anti-establishment underfunded Tea Party “Freedom Caucus” Steve King. On the other hand, you rightfully worry that there are increasing mistakes, much like the first-string quarterback who through unforced errors or nagging injuries is starting to wane. While we can agree that Steve King is a good and decent man as I acknowledged in yesterday’s WHO debate, voters are genuinely concerned about his ability to beat the Democrat in November for these reasons:
1) Electability. In the last election, J.D. Scholten won counties where Republicans had sizeable victories such as Woodbury, Cerro Gordo, Boone, Floyd, and Webster. For example, Governor Reynolds and I won Woodbury County by nearly 4,000 votes, while Steve King lost by 3,000. Those are huge differences with the same voters. A 22% Republican lead was frittered down to just 3% against a guy holding a baseball and traipsing around with socialist Bernie Sanders.
2) Unforced errors. There’s probably a truth “somewhere in the middle.” Conservatives have long bristled at using accusations of racism as a weapon. But unguarded turns of phrase and social media—and no, I’m not advocating “political correctness”—seemed to spend political capital on things that don’t advance the conservative causes of the sanctity of life, a secure border, and the (hopefully not lost) cause of when a liberty-loving Republicans stood athwart history and banged on the Tea Party drum against reckless spending.
Not one to lay low, Steve King defended Joe Biden on Twitter as merely affectionate and a Facebook meme imagined Iowa as a blue state with rampant gender confusion on the losing side of a Civil War against red states. It was deleted but not before becoming a dozen national headlines.
Conservatives are smart and savvy enough to hold two thoughts in their minds: that Steve King deserves great credit for helping with the “Heartbeat Bill” (He’s right, Feenstra’s wrong when it comes to that issue) but that there are times that courting controversy amounts to spending political capital that doesn’t serve us well. When it comes to losing the seat, the cost of personal loyalty for many is too much. Iowans can be loyal to a fault but just like sticking with the quarterback who has always been the one, it may hurt the cause.
3) Relationships matter. That doesn’t mean succumbing to leadership pressure. I’ve demonstrated that I had to break from leadership and my caucus in the Iowa House. But congressmen like Jim Jordan, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, and others seem to navigate being anti-establishment, yet still maintain these alliances. Even President Trump has seemed to distance himself, e.g. Air Force One return trip to Iowa leaving out Steve King or not mentioning him in the in-state fundraiser.
Not serving on committees means not addressing common-ground issues on the least partisan committee (Ag) where we have critical issues such as the Renewable Fuels Standard, trade markets, and fair beef pricing nor that we can fight on the most partisan committee (Judiciary) where I have a ten-part “Defend Life” plan ready to be introduced.
My approach has been instead to win these folks over. I’ve had some of the very folks who advocated resolutions to get his committee assignments back join my campaign. I’ve had the experience time and again where people said, “You can’t talk to so-and-so … he really likes Steve.” My approach has been to go to that person and to earn their trust—and it’s been fruitful.
There’s a reason over 60 conservative activists, central committee members, veterans, and faith leaders have endorsed my campaign including the Co-Chair of the Iowa Trump campaign, the 4th District representative for the Trump campaign, the lead counsel for Iowa’s Heartbeat Bill, and the Iowa State College Republicans.
Much of my funding likewise comes from former Steve King supporters. That’s different than out-of-district “kingmakers” in Des Moines and outside money propping up Randy. You see, folks in the “Fighting Fourth“ really get their dander up about being told what to do and that it can be paid for. They’ll take a Rick Santorum or a Mike Huckabee with shoe-leather (both of whom I supported) any day of the week rather than a Mitt Romney or a Jeb! with a sense of entitlement.
Here’s the bottom line: I’m in this race to win. I respect Steve King and appreciate his service but want to ensure that unlike Randy Feenstra that we have a constitutionalist who can lead boldly without compromising principle.
I’m asking voters to make the best decision for the cause of virtue, liberty, and freedom reflects the reality that it’s time for change. I’m committed to fighting with every fiber of my being for a balanced budget amendment, the federal spending reduction “Penny Plan,” a once-and-for-all secure border, the repeal of Obamacare, my Defend Life plan, defending our Second Amendment, championing the Renewable Fuel Standard, passing term limits, and making recent tax cuts permanent.
I’ll also fight beside our Commander in Chief President Trump who has vowed in the halls of Congress that we will never be a socialist country. From my experiences living in Communist Vietnam while on a Christian mission to deploying to Romania which has experienced freedom only since 1989, no one in this race knows personally the devastating effects where the Left would have erode our freedoms to worship, speak freely, and engage in pursuing our own happiness under the Constitution.
I believe the Fighting Fourth is best represented by a constitutionalist who can debate, fight, and win, not someone who will “go along to get along.”
I am called to serve to restore the promise of what our founders created, “a republic if you can keep it,” and to preserve and protect the promise of this exceptional nation and this American Dream for future generations. The time is now. I’d be honored to have your vote on June 2.
You can learn more about Jeremy Taylor at JeremyTaylorforCongress.com.
Jeremy Taylor is a member of the Army National Guard. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.