The Washington Post

New Web ad focuses on Joni Ernst’s Iowa roots

State Sen. Joni Ernst speaks to supporters at a primary election night rally after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. The 43-year-old Ernst won the nomination over five candidates. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The National Republican Senate Committee is out with a brand new Web video all about Joni Ernst, who is running for an open seat in a very competitive race in Iowa.  As we’ve written before, Ernst has had some of the most buzzworthy and creative ads of the cycle.  She’s talked about castrating hogs as a girl in one ad and she is riding a Harley in another ad. Ernst is currently a lieutenant in the Iowa Army National Guard, and is one of the GOP’s best chances of picking up a Senate seat.

The most recent poll by NBC News/Marist taken in July shows the race, with Rep. Bruce Braley as the Democratic nominee, all tied up at 43 percent. Since then, the race has gone to the birds for Braley, or more specifically the chickens, as he has been tied up in the fallout over an only-in-Iowa dispute involving chickens filled with wanderlust.

For Republicans eager to cast Braley as an out of touch lawyer who looks down on the good plain folks of Iowa, the chicken dispute is a perfect catchall.

And the takeaway from the new seven-minute biographical video shows that Ernst’s argument against Braley is basically: I am Iowa, hear me roar.

The video, called “Duty, Honor, and Iowa” offers a pretty good template of what the next months of Ernst’s campaign will be about. It touches on “Iowa values,” how handshakes matter, and how “you knew in the next farm over, there was Joni, someone who is not afraid to show you where she’s from.” As well, it covers her time in Iraq, where she was a company commander in 2003.

Democrats have tried to turn Ernst into “Iowa’s Sarah Palin,” highlighting her conservative views on abortion and contraception, and emphasizing the fact that she campaigned with Palin. It might be a convenient comparison for Democrats to make, but with Braley’s stumbles and Ernst’s fairly sure footed campaigning and compelling biography, Democrats will likely have to come up with a better argument.

Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debate Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Heading into the next debate...
Donald Trump returns to the Republican presidential debate stage Saturday night. Marco Rubio arrives as a sudden star, but fending off ferocious attacks from his rivals. Still glowing from his Iowa victory, Ted Cruz is trying to consolidate conservative support, while Ben Carson is struggling to avoid being typecast as the dead man walking.
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote.
New Hampshire polling averages
Polling in New Hampshire has typically been volatile after Iowa's caucuses, but Bernie Sanders, from its neighboring state Vermont, has been holding a lead over Hillary Clinton.
55% 38%
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 6: GOP debate

on ABC News, in Manchester, N.H.

Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.