(Des Moines, IA) Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds did something this morning she rarely has done. Endorse in a contested primary. Reynolds lent her support to State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) in Iowa’s open U.S. Senate race. She said she believed any of the candidates would be superior to Congressman Bruce Braley she believed that Ernst stood apart for her experience as a battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard and as a mother. She has said she thought Iowa was ready to send its first female U.S. Senator to Washington.
In a statement released by the Ernst campaign today Reynolds said, “I wholeheartedly endorse Joni Ernst for United States Senate. As a mother, soldier and a proven conservative, Joni has the unique qualifications, diverse background and record of accomplishment required to take our shared Iowa values to Washington in an effort to get our great nation back on track, just as we have done here in Iowa. Joni does more than just talk about the policies and values she holds dear – she fights for them. Joni Ernst is the leader we need to help represent our interests in Washington.”
Ernst responded to the endorsement, “I am honored and humbled by the support of Lieutenant Governor Reynolds. She is a strong leader who has helped Governor Branstad and our legislature enact policies that have dramatically turned around the fortunes of our state. Today, Iowa’s unemployment rate has dropped to eighth lowest in the nation and we are still seeing existing businesses expand and new businesses relocate to Iowa thanks in large part to the Branstad-Reynolds team.”
Reynolds said this endorsement was a personal one, and not an endorsement by the Branstad-Reynolds campaign. She said she planed to help fundraise and solicit votes for Ernst on her free time.
Ernst so far is leading in the amount of endorsements by state legislators and other elected officials. Prior to Reynolds, Ernst has been endorsed by: State Representative Rob Taylor, State Representative Megan Hess, Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart, Former State Representative Renee Schulte, State Senator Tim Kapucian, State Senator Nancy Boettger, State Representative Robert Bacon, State Senator Amy Sinclair, State Senator David Johnson, State Representative Mark Brandenburg, State Representative Clel Baudler, former State Representative Richard Anderson, State Representative Mark Costello, State Representative Cecil Dolecheck, Adel City Councilman Jon McAvoy, Waukee City Councilman Isaiah McGee, State Senator Hubert Houser, and Former State Senator Shawn Hamerlinck.
How much endorsements will make a difference in this race is to be determined. Governor Terry Branstad during his press conference today said, “The only endorsement that counts is the one that takes place on election day. I’m humble enough to recognize what endorsements by officer holders are, but I do respect the Lt. Governor supporting her good friend. They served together as county elected officials, they are from the same part of the state, and when Kim Reynolds was elected Lt. Governor she encouraged Joni to run for that Senate seat. Joni has done a great job. I certainly respect and understand why she would endorse and support her friend. But, I’m also realistic enough to know that the only endorsement that really counts is that of the voters on election day.”