At one point, Woodbury County Supervisor and former state legislator Jeremy Taylor was a supporter of nine-term Rep. Steve King — but following the incumbent's mixture of controversy and removal from various committee assignments in Washington D.C. — Taylor said he thinks he might be in a position to unseat King in the June 2, 2020, Republican primary.

“I have admittedly supported (King) in the past and seen him as a conservative ally,” Taylor said during a visit with the Ames Tribune Wednesday. “But I think if you no longer have an effective voice on committees and no longer have an effective partnership with the administration and the president, albeit of the same party, then you no longer are able to move an effective agenda. Whether it's for the Iowa economy, the ag sector or the students here in Iowa State.”

Taylor is one of four candidates who have announced a bid for Iowa's 4th Congressional District, joining state Sen. Randy Feenstra, businessman Bret Richards, and a newcomer to the race, Arnolds Park businessman Steve Reeder, who announced his candidacy on Thursday.

“I believe this (primary race) could be the race for the 4th District,” Taylor said “Historically, the 4th District has been represented by a Republican, and for good reason, because I believe the platform represents the values of the counties in this district.”

However, Taylor noted that the results from the 2018 midterm election, namely Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten's narrow loss to King, doesn't make a Republican win in 2020 a given.

In 2018, Scholten gave King one of his closest re-election races to date, losing by a mere 10,000 votes in a district that holds a plus-11 Republican advantage, according to Cook Partisan Voting Index.

Taylor said his campaign strategy is reach out to King's loyal base of supporters, not alienate them — a plan that Taylor said is coming to fruition.

“One of the strategies that one of my opponents Randy Feenstra used, were these big banners with Cyclone and Hawkeye logos that say 'Beat Steve King,' and everyone agrees,” said Taylor. “That's not our approach, because 65 to 75 percent of folks (in the district) supported Steve King in the last two primaries, and those are the folks we are going after. For us, that's the winning strategy.”

According to the candidate, he raised an estimated $60,000 in the first eight weeks since declaring in January, a majority of the donors are former King donors. In Sac City, Taylor drew a bigger crowd than King in a town hall and has received endorsement from some of the incumbent's long-time supporters.

“My appeal to Republicans, in a primary where there's 45,000 Republicans, is that if Steve King is the nominee we will lose,” Taylor said. “For me, I appeal to folks, as a Republican who is a constitutional conservative who can be effective on kitchen-table issues. There's areas that aren't going to vote for Steve King, that I believe will vote for me.”

On the issues, Taylor is molded in the constitutional conservative archetype — he wants to limit governmental influence and cut taxes to create jobs in the state — but he expanded on the two issues that could potentially decide the primary: immigration and gun control.

While Taylor championed the building of a border wall, increased funding for border control and extensive vetting process for immigrants looking to gain access into the country, he dispelled the notion of the conservative base as anti-immigrant.

His wife, a Vietnamese immigrant-turned-business owner, has shown him that pathways to legal immigration and citizenship are possible, with correct border control policies and fixing systems for those awaiting legal entrance into the U.S., Taylor said.

“To be able to know the lessons of history through my wife and her journey to legal citizenship, there are ways to provide a legal pathway to immigration,” Taylor said. “But there's immigration laws that aren't being followed at the border, and methods that need to be in place to ensure border safety.”

On the issue of gun control, Taylor plans to defend Second Amendment rights but wants to redirect gun control conversation around addressing mental illness and traumatic stress disorders, rather than red-flag laws proposed by state and national Democrats.

“I want to come at this issue from a point of healing those who are wounded, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally,” Taylor said. “I believe we are eight steps behind in this conversation. My worry is that there's a knee-jerk reaction that we need new gun legislation and it must be fixed. That's the wrong answer because it's the focus on the rhetoric not the issue.”

As the field reaches five, with the addition of Reeders, Taylor hopes to continue the momentum required to win the primary, and if successful on June 2 awaits the challenge from Scholten.

“How do we keep this momentum going? Continue to show that I am the conservative that can win this primary race, and also beyond that,” Taylor said. “We have to represent the issues that coming up at the kitchen-table, the issues that are affecting them and their families.”