DES MOINES – It was difficult for Joni Ernst to hide her emotions as she took the stage to proclaim victory in the U.S. Senate primary. She choked back tears as family member after family member hugged and congratulated the farm girl from Red Oak on her hard fought win.
Ernst’s voice cracked as she began speaking. Then she noticed one more family member who was not on the stage.
“Hey dad, come on up,” she said to her father who stood 10 feet away amid dozens of fellow supporters. A couple more hugs ensued, and Ernst began publicly thanking all those who helped.
“We absolutely have to do thank yous first and to my family, first. It’s very important. My mom and dad who got me where I am today, thank you so much,” Ernst said, her voice cracking again. Several more thank yous went out to siblings, her husband, her daughters and grandchildren, as well as the supporters in attendance.
The farm girl from Red Oak wiped away a tear in her eye and turned her attention to the field of four candidates she had just ousted.
“We had many other wonderful candidates, great Republican candidates that were in this U.S. Senate race,” Ernst said. “Mark Jacobs, Scott Schaben, Matt Whitaker and Sam Clovis. Wonderful men and if you supported them, thank you for supporting them also.”
Ernst commended the candidates for their hard work on the campaign trail, then vowed to try to unite Republicans behind her candidacy.
“What I’d like to do is work really hard to gain the trust and the support of all of their supporters also because it is going to take all of us pulling together to unite this party and win in November,” Ernst said to cheers from the assembled crowd. “We have one common goal and that is to defeat Bruce Braley.”
The Democrats’ lone candidate then became the target in Joni Ernst’s sights. She railed against his infamous comments pandering to Texas trial lawyers while denigrating Iowa farmers and Senator Grassley. Ernst also brushed off the negative attacks that have already been hurled by Braley and his fellow liberals.
“Democrats are desperate. They are out of ideas and they’re going to wake up tomorrow and they’re going to realize that is a liberal trial lawyer who attacks farmers. And now, he’s running against a farm girl,” Ernst said.
Ernst, the commander of the Iowa National Guard’s largest battalion, also warned her supporters to be prepared for the coming attacks, including the tired “War on Women” meme.
“I have a message for them: I’ve been to war. I have seen the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make every day to defend our freedoms. If Democrats want to start throwing around a word like ‘war’, they’d better be doing it to honor those men and women,” Ernst said. “And for their cheap political attacks, I look forward to Bruce Braley lecture me about what’s best for women.”
Joni Ernst sounded prepared to do battle with the coming liberal attack machine. If she truly works to unite Republicans and can win over independents, Iowa Democrats will rue clearing the field for one of the most liberal members of Congress to replace Tom Harkin.
Bruce Braley’s record is even more liberal than Harkin’s. It’s even more liberal than Nancy Pelosi’s. He was the Dems only candidate. Conversely, Joni Ernst won a difficult primary by a landslide. She is more than battled tested.
This election could determine the fate of the entire U.S. Senate. Joni Ernst seems ready for the challenge.
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