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GOP Senate hopeful Ernst fires gun in ad vowing to ‘unload’ on Obamacare

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst of Iowa has released a new TV ad vowing to "unload" on Obamacare, in which she takes target practice at a shooting range with a handgun.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) of Iowa has released a new TV ad vowing to "unload" on Obamacare. (YouTube: Joni Ernst)


The narrator of the ad says Ernst, a state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, "carries more than just lipstick in her purse." The commercial portrays her riding a motorcycle to a shooting range where she takes target practice.

"Joni Ernst will take aim at wasteful spending. And once she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni's gonna unload," the narrator continues. Next, Ernst starts firing a handgun at a target.

"Oh, and one more thing," adds the narrator as the dispersal of her shots on the target come into view. "Joni doesn't miss much."

The ad is reminiscent of a 2010 commercial in which now-Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) shot the "Cap and Trade" bill.

Ernst spokesman Derek Flowers said the ad "will air on broadcast and cable in key markets across the state." But he declined to say how much money the campaign will spend on it.

It's the second Ernst ad this year designed to attract widespread attention with an in-your-face approach. In March, Ernst released an ad saying that she grew up "castrating hogs" and wants to go to Washington to "make 'em squeal." The commercial was mostly designed to earn media coverage and get traction online; it initially only had about $7,000 behind it on television. The campaign campaign subsequently put more money behind it

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threw his support behind Ernst Monday via his political action committee. "Joni is running for United States Senate in Iowa and is the type of tough, no-nonsense conservative that we need in Washington," he said in fundraising e-mail for Ernst.

Ernst is one of several candidates vying for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Iowa. Her main primary competition at this point appears to be businessman Mark Jacobs (R).

9:52 clarification: Ernst's campaign put substantially more than $7,000 behind its March ad, an Ernst strategist noted. That was an initial buy to which more money was subsequently added. 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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