Iowa

Updated at 8:17 a.m. ET

After years of racist comments that lost him the support of many Republican Party leaders, conservative Iowa Rep. Steve King has lost his bid for reelection to a primary challenge by GOP state Sen. Randy Feenstra.

With everything going in the country — from the unrest in many cities after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police to the coronavirus pandemic — it's easy to have missed that elections are being held.

But several states and the District of Columbia have primaries up and down the ballot: Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota.

Pennsylvania is holding primary voting on Tuesday, though Gov. Tom Wolf extended the deadline for voting by mail by one week, until June 9.

Weeks before the 2018 midterm, President Trump stood before a packed arena in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and singled out Rep. Steve King — then running for his ninth term.

"[King] may be the world's most conservative human being," Trump said to a crowd of cheering supporters.

NICK TORKELSON

As meatpacking plants across the country have temporarily closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks, consumers might be seeing less meat on the shelves at the grocery, but farmers are dealing with animals they can’t sell.

Meatpacking plants slaughter livestock and send packaged meat into wholesale and retail channels. Companies spent the better part of the 20th century mechanizing every possible aspect of the process, to maximize efficiency.

Tyson Foods, one of the biggest meat producers in the U.S., is suspending work at its pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa. Officials in Black Hawk County, where the plant is located, say at least 150 people with close connections to the plant have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Iowa Public Radio.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the man largely responsible for making his state's presidential caucuses a prominent early contest, has declined the opportunity to defend caucus systems in an interview with NPR.

"I will talk about that after Super Tuesday, after when we get California and Texas out of the way," Reid said. "Right now, we're gonna make the best we can of the system we have."

As the Democratic primary season rolls on, one big lesson already is sinking in from the party's caucus-night meltdown in Iowa: Secrecy isn't a strategy.

State Democratic chair Troy Price declined to answer questions a month ago about what sorts of tests were conducted on the smartphone app the party was planning to use on caucus night or detail backup plans should it fail.

But he did promise some sort of transparency.

The head of the Iowa Democratic Party filed his resignation Wednesday, as the organization is still picking up the pieces from last week's caucus debacle.

Troy Price had been head of the state party since 2017, but after his role in overseeing a process widely panned as disorganized and opaque, it became an open question whether he would stay on in his job.

Democrats could avoid another tech meltdown like the one that afflicted the Iowa caucuses with a better strategy for building the tools they need, progressive technology specialists say.

The origins of the Iowa debacle are in a boom-and-bust cycle that places technology in competition with other priorities as time-crunched campaigns grapple with how best to spend as they hurtle toward an election.

Aside from times of genuine national crisis, it is hard to recall a week with as many events of political significance as the one we have all just witnessed.

As a kickoff for the re-election year of a president, it could scarcely have been more fraught. And as always, our perception of events was subject to our differing political perspectives.

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