Republican Ernst picks up pace, raising $410,000 in 45 days for Iowa Senate race


File: Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst (R) speaks at a campaign rally. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has picked up her fundraising pace, bringing in $410,000 for her U.S. Senate campaign between April 1 and May 14, her campaign told Post Politics Friday, more than she raised during the first three months of the year.

Ernst reported $410,491 on her pre-primary fundraising report, which was due to the Federal Election Commission by Thursday. The campaign would not say how much cash it had on hand. At the end of March, Ernst had $427,000 in the bank. She raised $285,000 from January through March.

The news comes less than two weeks before the June 3 Republican primary election. Ernst is the apparent frontrunner in crowded field of contenders vying for the GOP nomination. Her main competition is self-funding businessman Mark Jacobs.

Recent polling shows Ernst leading the field and hovering around the 35 percent mark. If no candidate eclipses that mark, the race will be decided at a convention.

Jacobs has not yet released his pre-primary totals. He loaned or gave his campaign more than $1.6 million of his own money through the end of March, campaign finance records show. He had $353,000 in the bank at the end of the month and is blitzing the airwaves with ads during the stretch run.

Ernst will get a late boost next Friday from Mitt Romney, who will campaign with her in the state. The Des Moines Register reported that the PAC of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who backs Ernst, will air an ad for her beginning Saturday.

Here is one of Ernst's better-known campaign ads:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) of Iowa has released a new TV ad saying she'll know how to cut pork in Washington. (YouTube: Joni Ernst)
Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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