Ernst gets Republican and Tea Party support
(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: Tuesday the Senate Conservatives Action, an arm of the Senate Conservatives Fund, announced that 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 group, which has a history of backing conservative candidates that launch primary challenges against incumbent Republican senators, comes just a few days before 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney comes to Iowa to campaign with Ernst, who grabbed national attention earlier this year by touting her hog castrating skills in a campaign commercial.
“The mother of three, a veteran, a strong conservative, Ernst is running to shake up Washington,” says the narrator in the new ad by Senate Conservatives Action.
The spot 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.
The group, 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 Palin, and two newer heroes of the right, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah.
But she also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association, which traditionally endorse more mainstream GOP candidates. Romney, who teams up with Ernst on Friday at an event in Davenport, has also endorsed the state senator. And Ernst was also recently backed by the editorial page of the Des Moines Register, the most well read newspaper in the state.
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.
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.