Approximately 50 people crowded into the new Caribou Coffee in Waukee, IA to hear State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) share why she should be Iowa’s next U.S. Senator. Ernst is the newest candidate in a growing Republican field vying for the chance to take on Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) who is currently running unopposed for the Democrat nomination. Waukee was the fourth stop on a two-day, six-stop campaign kick-off tour.
Ernst launched the tour in her hometown of Red Oak, and then also made stops in Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids and Davenport in addition to the Waukee stop. She centered her message around being a mother, a battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, and being a fiscal and social conservative.
Ernst told Caffeinated Thoughts that she believed her candidacy stood out from the rest of the Republican field because she’s a mother, a solider and a conservative. “As a mother I’m concerned about the economy and what opportunities my daughter will have,” Ernst said. She said because of her military experience she will advocate a strong national defense. “It’s important to me that Americans are protected at home and abroad,” she added.
She also during her remarks said that she believes that life begins at conception, and that she believes in traditional marriage being between one man and one woman. She touted her gun rights credentials being a lifetime NRA member, a holder of a carry permit who does carry, and as a member of the Iowa Army National Guard she is qualified on a 9mm pistol and M-16. Fiscally she discussed her work towards helping to create a better business environment in Iowa through lower taxes and property tax relief, as well as, working to end regulations that she said hinder economic growth.
Chad Airhart, the Dallas County Recorder and chairman of the Iowa Republican County Officials Association, introduced State Senator Ernst with an endorsement. “I’m very excited that Joni has entered the race for U.S. Senate. Her conservative credentials, years of service to her state, her nation, as well as, her accomplishments as a county auditor and state senator make her the best qualified candidate in this race,” Airhart stated in his introduction. “For those reasons I’m not only happy to be here this morning, but also to endorse her candidacy for U.S. Senate.”
Airhart wasn’t alone as several Republican lawmakers were on hand to endorse her candidacy. “The thing that continues to come up over and over again – leadership. Joni Ernst is a model of that in everything that she does.” State Representative Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines) told Caffeinated Thoughts. “She has a compassionate and firm leadership style that I’ve seen respected on both sides of the aisle (in the Iowa Senate).”
Waukee City Councilman and former Iowa Republican State Central Committee member, Isaiah McGee, also endorsed her candidacy. “I’ve known Joni for years and I’ve always been impressed with her character, abilities and involvements,” McGee said. “Her resume alone is impressive, but her character speaks volumes – when you combine those two things she has a unique perspective that sets her apart from the other candidates.”
State Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) was present at the Waukee stop, but he wasn’t quite ready to commit. “She is at the top of my list,” Zaun said. He told Caffeinated Thoughts that he had to yet have a discussion with Matt Whitaker, another U.S. Senate candidate, but that Whitaker and Ernst were the two candidates he narrowed his list down to two.
Ernst’s top supporter, her husband Gale, was excited about her candidacy. “We need her in our nation’s capital. We need those values,” he said.
Ernst’s campaign manager, David Polyansky, was pleased with the tour thus far. Saying he just wanted her to make it around the state early in order to introduce herself to voters and to the local press and share her message.
You can watch her remarks below: