(CNN) - Sarah Palin announced Wednesday she's throwing her support behind Joni Ernst for an open U.S. Senate seat in Iowa, picking up on the GOP candidate's new campaign theme of cutting "through the pork" in Washington.
The former Alaska governor, 2008 vice presidential nominee, and conservative firebrand said in a post to her Facebook page that if Deb Fischer, a Republican senator from Nebraska who Palin backed in 2012, "can see through the bull in Washington, then Iowa's Joni Ernst can help her cut through the pork."
Palin's farm analogy comes from Ernst first campaign ad, released Tuesday, where the candidate touts her Iowa background.
"I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm so when I get to Washington I'll know how to cut pork," Ernst says in the 30 second ad. "Washington's full of big spenders, let's make them squeal."
Ernst, a state senator, is battling a bunch of other candidates to win Iowa's June primary for the GOP Senate nomination. The winner of November's general election will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who's retiring at the end of this year rather than run for a sixth term in the chamber.
Democrat takes heat
Rep. Bruce Braley, the all but certain Democratic nominee for Senate in Iowa, has come under fire for dismissing longtime Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school"
If the GOP captures the Senate majority, "you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee," Braley said in a campaign video picked up by a Republican opposition research group on Tuesday.
Ernst pounced on her opponent's comments.
"How out of touch with Iowa can you be? I call on Braley to immediately apologize to Senator Grassley, and every other farmer in Iowa," she said.
Braley later apologized for the comments and noted that both of his parents "grew up on Iowa farms during the Great Depression. It deeply influenced who they are and who I am, and gave me a profound appreciation for what farmers do for the world."
On Wednesday, his campaign continued to tout the Democratic candidate's credentials with farmers, sending out a press release highlighting Braley's work in Congress fighting for Iowa farmers.
Palin's endorsement of Ernst in the Iowa race is the latest in a series of Senate candidates she's thrown her star-power behind in recent weeks. Earlier this month she backed conservatives in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Mississippi for the Senate. Prior to those endorsements, Palin supported conservatives in Texas for a U.S. House seat and the state's gubernatorial contest.
Palin's endorsed a number of conservatives vying for congressional seats in the 2010 cycle, when a tea party-backed wave bumped Republicans into the majority in the House of Representatives. She cut back on endorsements in the 2012 elections.
Between Braley's farmer comments and Ernst pig castrating campaign ad, the Iowa race has received a heavy-dose of national attention this week. "The Tonight Show" host and comedian Jimmy Fallon played the "castrating hogs" bit of the ad twice before quickly cutting the video off during his show on Tuesday.
Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states, like Iowa.
CNN's Dana Davidsen, Paul Steinhauser, Alan Silverleib and Cassie Spodak contributed to this report.