NHHS alum plays a big part in bringing change to Fourth District

Tired-yet-happy Schwickerath served as Feenstra’s political director in winning campaign to replace King

A New Hampton High School alumnus lived the dream, albeit a tired one, last week when Randy Feenstra won the Fourth Congressional District race to replace Steve King in the U.S. House of Representatives.

One of the mainstays in State Sen. Randy Feenstra’s campaign to go to Washington was a former “Chickasaw,” 2015 New Hampton High School graduate Emily Schwickerath, who served as Feenstra’s political director.

“I wasn’t nervous, or at least that nervous,” Schwickerath said when asked about waiting for results on Election Night, “but you know, in politics, anything can happen. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. But we were confident that Randy had put a compelling case to the voters.”

That confidence was warranted as Feenstra garnered 236,867 votes, or just a shade under 62 percent, to Democrat J.D. Scholten’s 144,345, which worked out to 37.8 percent of the vote.

Feenstra challenged and beat the controversial King, who was seeking a 10th term in the U.S. House, in the June Republican primary to earn a spot on the November ballot. That primary win, many political experts believe, kept the Fourth District in Republican hands because Scholten had given King his toughest race to date in 2018.

And Feensta’s victory was sweeping as he carried 38 of the 39 counties in the sprawling district that covers all of northwest Iowa and stretches all the way to Floyd and Chickasaw counties in Northeast Iowa.

The campaign, though, isn’t quite over for the New Hampton connection to Feenstra.
“For another few weeks,” Schwickerath said, “we’ll wrap up the campaign. There’s a lot of little odds and ends that have to be wrapped up. We’ve got to get our signs down, for example.”

Schwickerath’s love for politics began in 2011. Back then, she was an eighth-grader at New Hampton Middle School and part of the annual class trip to Washington, D.C.

— For more on this story, see the Nov. 10 Tribune

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