State Sen. Joni Ernst speaks to supporters at a primary election night rally after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, June 3, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall/AP

Shots fired: Joni Ernst is out with her first attack ad


Iowa Republican Joni Ernst is out with her first ad of the general election, slamming her Democratic opponent for making “false attacks” and running a “dirty campaign.”

Ernst, a state senator from rural southwest Iowa, is running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin; she made headlines—and won her five-way Republican primary—with her promise to “cut pork” and make Washington “squeal.” She’s earned national support from the likes of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin who endorsed her at a rally declaring, “it’s like, whoa, nobody’s going to push her around.”

The day after Ernst won her primary, Democratic opponent and state Rep. Bruce Braley began running attack ads against Ernst, claiming she didn’t actually cut any spending as a state senator.

Ernst hits back against Braley’s ad, “Peep,” in her latest ad, “Values.”

“Washington politician Bruce Braley is already running a dirty campaign,” a male narrator says in Ernst’s new ad. “He insults farmers. His ads? Called sexist. He even mocked Chuck Grassley for not having a law degree. The press call Braley’s attacks elitist, false, misleading.”

The ad shifts to Ernst, grinning widely.

“Don’t believe the false attacks,” Ernst says. “I’m Joni Ernst and I approve this message, because I may not have a law degree, but I’ve got something Washington needs a whole lot more: Iowa values.” 

Ernst’s victory lap of an attack ad is backed up: a media fact-check of Braley’s ad rated the ad mostly false, noting while Ernst didn’t specifically cut state spending, as few laws outside of budget negotiations do, she did vote against Democrats spending initiatives and attempt to cut spending through cost-benefit analysis. 

Ernst’s campaign told the Des Moines Register, which first reported on the ad, that the ad “will begin airing tomorrow on broadcast and cable in key markets across Iowa.”

Braley’s campaign pressed back against Ernst’s add in a release.

“While State Senator Joni Ernst’s first ad of the general election includes a lot of misleading character attacks against Bruce Braley, it is noticeably missing any mention of what her “Iowa values” mean for middle class Iowans,” the release said. “That’s because Sen. Ernst knows that when Iowans discover her plans … they will find that her “Iowa values” are out-of-step with the interests of Iowa’s working families.”



Shots fired: Joni Ernst is out with her first attack ad