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Newscast 6.6.2024: Feenstra nabs Republican primary win, but Steve King calls him 'lame duck;' Paper-only voting measures defeated by South Dakota voters; Third case of bird flu in Northwest Iowa

Steve King, of Kiron, Iowa, was a congressman representing Northwest Iowa for 18 years, after first being elected in 2002. (AP Photo)
Steve King, of Kiron, Iowa, was a congressman representing Northwest Iowa for 18 years, after first being elected in 2002. (AP Photo)

Primary elections that reduce the field of candidates and set the nominees for the general election in November have historically been low voter turnout. That proved true again in Iowa and South Dakota, where turnout was 17 percent on Tuesday.

South Dakota voters went to the polls amid a primary election dominated by fallout from a legislative debate over landowner rights, which caused Republican turnover and set the tone for power clashes in Pierre, according to South Dakota News Watch.

The state's largest county, Minnehaha, had a voting turnout Tuesday of 10%.

Of the 38 Republican legislative incumbents who ran to keep the same position Tuesday, 11 were defeated, foiled in many cases by a pipeline debate that surrounds the expansion of ethanol interests in South Dakota. 

Additionally, three counties had measures on whether elections should be conducted by paper ballots only, with no electronic devices or tabulators. Paper-only voting is a measure at times favored by political conservatives, out of distrust for voting technology.

Voters rejected the paper-only-voting measures in all three counties, which were Haakon, Tripp, and Gregory.

*The Tuesday primary voting results in Iowa delivered a win to Congressman Randy Feenstra, who became the Republican nominee for the Iowa 4th Congressional District contest in November.

Feenstra, who is seeking a third term, got 60 percent, a result that apparently has emboldened his Republican challenger, Kevin Virgil, to run again in 2026.

Virgil, a businessman from Sutherland, Iowa, on Twitter/X posted that he plans to run again. Virgil described being proud of getting 40 percent of the Republican primary vote, despite being outspent 45-to-1 by Feenstra.

Steve King, the prior congressman who served Northwest Iowa and North Central Iowa, posted on Wednesday support for Virgil, calling Feenstra a “lame duck.” King had been a congressman for 18 years, until fellow Republican Feenstra mounted his ultimately successful campaign to retire King in 2020.

Feenstra in November will face Ryan Melton, a Democrat from Nevada, Iowa, making for a rematch of the 2022 contest.

*In other news, bird flu strain has been detected for the third time in 10 days in Northwest Iowa.

The latest case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu, has been detected in O'Brien County, and is Iowa's first reported case within a dairy herd this year.

The information was released by the Iowa Department of Agriculture on Wednesday. Ag department officials plan to soon announce some response actions.

The first case of bird flu was found in Sioux County on a poultry farm on May 28, and then a second case was found a few days ago in Cherokee County.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture MIke Naig said there are more than 80 confirmed dairy cases on farms in South Dakota, Kansas and aix other states.

“It is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa. While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry,” Naig said.