MASON CITY, Iowa — U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Wednesday the presidential election is not "rigged," as GOP nominee Donald Trump has asserted.

But there are irregularities that need fixing, he said.

"Rigged is not the right word," King said. "There is no nationwide network set up to cheat. But there are cells of election fraud that are well documented."

King spoke to a high school leadership class at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce office and then spoke with the news media afterward.

He said he didn't believe what some pundits are saying — that the presidential election is essentially over, "but I certainly feel the mood of the people who think it is.

"What are they basing it on? The polls?" he asked. "I will say this — Trump has to have a good debate (Wednesday night)."

He talked about how Trump was "baited" by Hillary Clinton in the first debate when she mentioned his comments about a former Miss Universe's weight gain.

"He took the bait, hook, line and sinker," he said.

King said he has had many situations in his career in which he thought he was being baited.

"But you never know," he said, laughing, "I might be baiting them, too."

King said "the will and spine" of Congress will be tested, regardless of who wins the presidential election on Nov. 8.

"There will be two clear paths. If Hillary wins, the Republicans will be playing defense. If Trump wins, we will be busy, busy, busy, repealing Obamacare, strengthening the military and all sorts of things," he said.

King has been in Congress 14 years and is opposed by Democrat Kim Weaver in the November election.

He said getting things done in Washington has changed dramatically since Bill Clinton was president, and politics is the cause.

"When he took office, he said he wanted a Cabinet that looked like America. He appointed blacks, Hispanics, women who represented a lot of different backgrounds, regardless of qualifications," King said. "And Obama has raised that to an art form.

"If it was up to me, I wouldn't care if they were all green as long as they were qualified."