GOP candidate with both grassroots and establishment backing
May 27th, 2014
08:49 AM ET
6 months ago

GOP candidate with both grassroots and establishment backing

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET, 5/28/2014

(CNN) - Joni Ernst doesn't have to take sides in the battle between the Republican establishment and the tea party movement.

It seems she's got the backing of both sides.

The latest example: Wednesday the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it's going up with a new ad that supports the GOP state senator from Iowa who's running for the U.S. Senate in the Hawkeye State.

The spot by the pro-business group that usually backs mainstream Republican candidates, comes one day after the Senate Conservatives Action, an arm of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which has a history of backing conservative candidates that launch primary challenges against incumbent Republican senators, went up with its own television commercial in support of Ernst.

"Joni Ernst. Raised on a farm in Montgomery County where she raises her own family. Ernst served our nation's military. A commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom," says the narrator in the Chamber spot.

The Chamber says their ad will run state wide through next Tuesday's primary.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

The new commercial by the Chamber comes just two days before  Mitt Romney comes to Iowa to campaign with Ernst. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee will team up with the state senator at events Friday in Cedar Rapids and Davenport.

Ernst grabbed national attention earlier this year by touting her hog castrating skills in a campaign commercial. The candidate,  a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, also made headlines for another provocative TV ad which showed her riding up to a gun range on a motorcycle.

Ernst has the backing of the National Rifle Association, which also normally endorses more mainstream GOP candidates.

Ernst, who was a little-known state senator from one of the most rural parts of Iowa, also enjoys support (but not the official endorsement) from Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

And she was also recently endorsed by the editorial page of the Des Moines Register, the most well read newspaper in the state.

Tea Party Support

But Ernst also has the backing of anti-establishment groups.

"The mother of three, a veteran, a strong conservative, Ernst is running to shake up Washington," says the narrator in the new spot by Senate Conservatives Action.

The commercial includes a clip of Ernst from a rally, where she was joined by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, saying "I stand for the full repeal and replacement of Obamacare,"

The ad ends with the narrator saying that Ernst is "Iowa’s conservative choice for U.S. Senate."

The group says it will spend just over $100,000 to run the spot in the Des Moines market for the week leading up to primary day. Ernst tops the latest polls in the multi-candidate field in the June 3 primary for the GOP Senate nomination. The winner of the primary will face off in the midterm elections against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who faces token opposition in his party's primary.

The winner of November's general election will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring at the end of the year. Republicans view Iowa as a potential pick-up seat in their drive to win back six Senate seats from the Democrats to retake control of the chamber.

Senate Conservatives Fun, which spent big bucks in support of Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin's unsuccessful primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is also backing state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who faces off next Tuesday in Mississippi's Republican primary against longtime Sen. Thad Cochran.

Ernst also enjoys the backing of the political wing of Tea Party Express, a leading national tea party group, as well as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who's considering a 2016 GOP presidential bid. Rubio's Reclaim America PAC went up this week with a new TV ad titled "Exceptional" in support of Ernst. The group is spending nearly $200,000 to run the spot statewide on cable TV, digital and radio

Key races to watch in 2014

So how has Ernst been able to appeal to both sides in the grassroots vs. establishment divide?

"Her legislative record is that of a pragmatic conservative, which certainly gives comfort to mainstream Chamber of Commerce type Republicans. On the other hand, her campaign has adopted a no-nonsense, tough-talking tone more commonly identified with the ideological right," said Iowa GOP strategist and consultant Matt Strawn.

"This, coupled with the failure of other movement conservative candidates in the race to prove electoral viability, has created this unique coalition of support for Ernst," added Strawn, the former chairman of the state Republican party.

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 2014 • Iowa • Senate • Senate Primaries • Senate Race
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    So Mitt is still the de facto leader of the GOP even though he lost? If I remember correctly many Conservatives didn't even want him. This is just more proof that Willard is walking around thinking he's POTUS. No wonder dude won't sit down, shut up and go away with dignity. Like most losers.

    May 27, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, grabbed national headlines for her provocative TV ads – one of which highlighted her hog-castrating skills while another showed her riding up to a gun range on a motorcycle."

    Yeah. I'm impressed. GOPerville has its next Sarah Palin wannabee. She's was "going" someplace too. Palin that is.

    May 27, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. turd cruzin

    The level of intelligence of the gop voting block is actually scary, energy tomorrow, tries to convince you the keystone is desperately wanted by 75% of americans, right. And it won't directly say it, but they lead you to believe it will reduce our dependency on foreign oil, WRONG! Canadian oil going to other countries, ALL OF IT! We get to use our refineries, reducing production of U.S. oil, driving our prices up, with no reduction to our dependency. And with liabilities for the inevitable spill, we again carry the risks, and will be left cleaning up another spill, and let me tell you, this stuff is like no other, incredibly dangerous stuff, literally killed the Kalamazoo river for miles and miles. The cost will be astronomical, and we will be the ones paying for it, why would the gop want this,if their so patriotic, their! not, all they care about is money, plain and simple.

    May 27, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. salty dog

    I could not, in good conscience, vote for a candidate that can't castrate a pig, wrestle a gator, or carry a gun, those are the qualifications we need in a president. The sad truth is they know how absolutely ridiculous their ads are, yet their voting block eats it like candy, mob mentality at its finest, all day, every day, frightening.

    May 27, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. salty dog

    That's a 2 billion dollar spill liability cap, how much did the deep water horizon cost to clean up? The first thing BP did was lobby your Congress to limit its liability in any spill on us properties, land or sea. I just don't think the average American wants the keystone, would you let your neighbor on one side run a sewage line through your backyard, where you pump your water, for no reason other than they make money on it, and your offered nothing, but promised they will take care of it, with a record that proves otherwise, he11 no you wouldn't, but the gop says how good it will be for you.

    May 27, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The sad truth is they know how absolutely ridiculous their ads are, yet their voting block eats it like candy ..."

    Very sad indeed, salty dog. For America. Which they evidently have no pride in. No pride for America or themselves, that is. GOPerville candidates and their voting block.

    May 27, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    So true Lynda and Salty, so true. The dumbing down of America will be it's downfall.

    May 27, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    -GOP is pretty much gone in drainage tubes. They need to know it is almost 22nd century–not Stone Age.

    May 27, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Its sad that the only thing you get out of a conservative candidate these days is what or whom they are against, rather than what they actually believe in, much less what they will actually do to justify the cost of paying their salary. Shooting guns and castrating hogs make for catchy phrases in a primary, but does little to persuade an Independent tired of partisan and ideologically-driven solutions that is person is a problem-solver. Rather sad, I think.

    May 27, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Lizzie

    turd cruzin, you know a lot about the oil and gas industry, but you probably have no idea how many pipelines are crisscrossing the US

    May 27, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    @Lizzie. He knows far more about it than you. The number of permanent jobs Keystone will generate is a few dozen to maintain the pipeline. Transmitters and automation have reduced pipeline jobs tremendously, and there will be no real surge in jobs at the refinery side for the same reason. In fact, the living a refinery worker will be able to make will be lower because it takes far less training to bring a tech up to speed, once again because of the automation. If you knew anything about the nature of the work, as I do, you would realize what a crock the Keystone supporters have been pushing. Once the construction is done, those jobs will go away.

    May 27, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Sniffit

    So, basically, she got both the herp and the derp. /golfclap

    May 27, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. much thunder...little rain

    and she is not a lawyer...thats refreshing

    May 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Thomas

    With a ticket like Ted Cruz / Joni Ernst America could be back to normal again ?

    May 27, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    @Lizzie. He knows far more about it than you. The number of permanent jobs Keystone will generate is a few dozen to maintain the pipeline. Transmitters and automation have reduced pipeline jobs tremendously, and there will be no real surge in jobs at the refinery side for the same reason. In fact, the living a refinery worker will be able to make will be lower because it takes far less training to bring a tech up to speed, once again because of the automation. If you knew anything about the nature of the work, as I do, you would realize what a crock the Keystone supporters have been pushing. Once the construction is done, those jobs will go away.
    -------–
    Unlike Obama's proposal to to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge. I mean THOSE construction jobs will be there in perpetuity, right Tom?

    May 27, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. turd cruzin

    I know they have sucessfully lobbied to limit their liabilities in a spill, 2 billion, a small fraction of what the likely cost of a spill would be, remember, this isn't crude oil, this stuff is nasty nasty. Why would we take on that risk, its not our oil, we're neither buying or selling it, and our cost will go up, we see it time and time again a refinery goes down, price goes up. And to suggest they will vigilantly maintain the pipeline is ludicrous, they lack on maintaining the ones already here. The Koch brothers have gained control of Canada too, they went so far as to remove and destroy all literature regarding climate change, and mans envolvement in it, China no longer denies it why do we? $$$$$$$ that's why.

    May 27, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. turd cruzin

    Not perpetual, but its our infrastructure, not a big oil company, isn't it?

    May 27, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Claude

    Ernst is the Republican who touts as her main qualification her talent for castrating pigs. I realize this is Iowa we're talking about, but you would think they'd be setting the bar a little higher than that.

    May 27, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Gunderson

    Aw,Humm,
    It would seem if Joni gets elected she is going to take away your rubber ducky, kick you out of bed, make you get dressed and go to work! And if you are lucky you just may get to clean out the cattle barns! No complaints here!

    May 27, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Fair is Fair
    The Real Tom Paine

    @Lizzie. He knows far more about it than you. The number of permanent jobs Keystone will generate is a few dozen to maintain the pipeline. Transmitters and automation have reduced pipeline jobs tremendously, and there will be no real surge in jobs at the refinery side for the same reason. In fact, the living a refinery worker will be able to make will be lower because it takes far less training to bring a tech up to speed, once again because of the automation. If you knew anything about the nature of the work, as I do, you would realize what a crock the Keystone supporters have been pushing. Once the construction is done, those jobs will go away.
    ---–
    Unlike Obama's proposal to to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge. I mean THOSE construction jobs will be there in perpetuity, right Tom?
    *******************
    I guess you really showing you are out of your depth as well, Fair. Maintenance on a bridge going into a major metro area is an ongoing issue, with the alternative being something like what Minnesota experienced, as is the pipeline. My point is that the Right seems interested in projects that benefit billionaires most of all, whereas the bridge you snidely brought up benefits the public as a whole. Given a choice between a pipeline that only ships oil from Canada to be refined( maybe) in the US, as opposed to improving a transportation artery used by thousands each day, I woudl say teh choice is obvious.

    May 27, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Malory Archer

    Didn't crybaby just say last week there's NO DIFFERENCE between the reds and the tp'ers? In other words, this is a non-story.

    May 27, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "Unlike Obama's proposal to to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge. I mean THOSE construction jobs will be there in perpetuity, right Tom?"

    Nope, but the bridge will serve more AMERICAN people than just a Canadian corporation that wants an easier way to get its oil and tar sands to the Gulf. Keystone will do almost nothing to help the American people long-term. Nothing. It's for a foreign corporation, will not increase domestic production, will not decrease reliance on foreign oil and will have ZERO effect on the price of gas. It will, however, make some foreigners and American investors very rich. At least with a rebuilt bridge, there is a direct and immediate profit for the general American populace and its health and welfare.

    May 27, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. turd cruzin

    Gah gah goo goo, all Democrats are unemployed lazy food stamp abusers, you couldn't sound intelligent if you wanted to.

    May 27, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "That's a 2 billion dollar spill liability cap, how much did the deep water horizon cost to clean up? The first thing BP did was lobby your Congress to limit its liability in any spill on us properties, land or sea. I just don't think the average American wants the keystone, would you let your neighbor on one side run a sewage line through your backyard, where you pump your water, for no reason other than they make money on it, and your offered nothing, but promised they will take care of it, with a record that proves otherwise, he11 no you wouldn't, but the gop says how good it will be for you."

    Well, duh, that's because it's not THEIR back yards. Change your hypothetical and it makes perfect sense: you'd do it to your neighbor in a second if the sewage company came to you and promised you money for helping force your neighbor to let them stick sewage pipe through their yard. And that's precisely what we have here...politicians who would be screaming NIMBY if it was their back yard, but who are essentially getting paid to do it in someone else's back yard, so what do they care? Why would it bother them if some small Nebraska neighborhood might be entirely ruined to the extent that nobody can live in it anymore? They don't live in rural Nebraska amongst the serfs. The blood money they take in exchange for deliberately broken governance affords them much better lifestyles removed from the general riff raff over whom they rule....and if you've got to suffer for them to get more of it, then so be it. Now go eat your cake.

    May 27, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. turd cruzin

    Just refuse to accept the facts, your nanny states are prodominantly red states, around 40% of their revenue comes from the feds, almost two dollars received for every one paid, yup, were the lazy ones, reality check please!

    May 27, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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