DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, traveled across the state as part of her Joni’s Ride Across Iowa, a two-day motorcycle trip across the state that replaced her annual Roast and Ride this year. All proceeds benefitted the Puppy Jake Foundation and Cedar Rapids Derecho Relief.
On Saturday, she started in Sioux City and made stops in Carroll and Des Moines on the first day. On Sunday, she began in Des Moines, made a stop in Cedar Rapids, and then ended the trip in Davenport.
The Ernst campaign said between 40 to 80 bikers joined Ernst on each leg of the trip.
Caffeinated Thoughts was present at the Des Moines stop on Saturday.
“This is a really great event. And it’s a little different than the roast and rides that we’ve had in the past. And unfortunately, we’re just not able to do the same thing because of COVID,” Ernst explained to reporters before speaking to supporters.
“It was a beautiful ride for those that weren’t able to do the ride. It was extraordinary. Today, the weather is perfect. And we have some beautiful leaves out there, some great harvesting going on in the field. So it was just a really good time today,” she added.
Ernst was asked about Iowans who support abortion rights in light of the Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court that began on Monday morning. “What do you say to women who are on the fence about supporting you in light of the nomination?” she was asked.
“Because I’m fighting for things like child care for moms and dads, and that was even pre-COVID. Fighting to make sure that preexisting conditions will be covered. My sister and my brother are both type one diabetics. Fighting, of course, for paid family leave is something that I have been working on in the United States Senate. So there are so many things that women really should be focused on,” Ernst said.
She also noted that suburban women are concerned with the riots and violence seen in cities across the nation, saying they are worried about their small businesses and children should it come here.
Ernst was asked about the potential for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.
“I have said time and time again, everyone knows that I am pro-life, I value life. And I think every human being brings something very good into this world. But there is a 50-year precedent there. And it would be very dependent upon the case that would come in front of the Supreme Court. We want justices that will follow the Constitution. I don’t want justices that will be legislating from the bench that so it’s very dependent upon a case at this point. I think the opportunity for overturning Roe v. Wade is minimal. I’ve said that before. So again, I’m not putting a litmus test out there, will you or will you not do this or that? I’m just simply asking, Are you going to follow the constitution? That’s my litmus test,” she replied.
Ernst told Caffeinated Thoughts during an interview for the Caffeinated Thoughts Podcast on Friday that while she thinks the chances of Roe v. Wade being overturned is minimal, she would like to see that Supreme Court precedent reversed.
She was asked if Iowans talked to her about the Supreme Court nomination if it is an issue they care about.
“Well, they are, and surprisingly, probably about two to one, they’re in favor of getting the confirmation done as quickly as possible. So it is an issue people are interested in. But what I hear a lot about too, and maybe even more so right now than even the confirmation process, is getting a COVID release package done,” Ernst said.
“So a lot of folks have been asking, ‘Are you going to do that before the election, are you not?’ And so believe me, we are working in Congress right now, Republicans and Democrats want to see a COVID relief package, at least I am hopeful that they do. I continue to work with my colleagues. We know Iowans need relief. And that’s that’s what we should be focusing on too. We can do two things at once,” she said.
Gov. Kim Reynolds introduced Ernst on Saturday afternoon.
“She is doing a great job representing each and every one of us out in Washington, DC. I am so proud to be here and be supporting Joni, she is a dear, dear friend, but I have seen her, I’ve worked with her in local government, worked with her in the State Senate,” she said.
“And now to see her represent us in the United States Senate. It’s been amazing to watch your heart and how hard you advocate for Iowans, our military men and women, farmers, small business – you represent our values. And we are so grateful to have you out there fighting on our behalf in Washington DC,” Reynolds added.
She pointed out all of the outside spending to flip Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat for Democrats.
“They are trying to throw everything at her. We have a $120 million that’s coming into this state. They think that they can buy this United States Senate seat,” Reynolds stated.
Ernst told supporters that there are two divergent paths in this election cycle.
“Prosperity, freedom, opportunity – that’s the path I want to be on. That’s the path I’m going to continue down. Now the path on the left is the path of my opponent, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, is the path that they want you to choose. And this is the path of defunding the police. This is the path of higher taxes. This is the path of rolling back our Second Amendment gun rights. This is a path of extreme abortion with no restrictions. This is a path that Americans are less likely to choose unless they disguise it as a heck of a lot of other things,” she warned.
Ernst questioned her opponent, Theresa Greenfield’s attempt to paint herself as a moderate.
“If she is so moderate and willing to work with anyone, how is it that we have extreme organizations: extreme environmentalists, extreme abortionists, defund the police activities, rollback your gun rights groups, how come they are investing 100 million dollars in her race if she is a moderate?” Ernst asked.
Ernst shared her background.
“So the past six years I’ve been in the United States Senate, and I have been a fighter for Iowa, Iowa is more than a place to me, Iowa is who I am. I was born and raised on a small farm in southwest Iowa, I live just six miles from where I was raised,” she said.
“Now we are faced with a lot of challenges, challenges up against our farmers. And I’ve been fighting for farmers because I was raised on a small farm, I’m going to continue fighting for farmers, my family’s still engaged in farming. So, of course, I’m going to be a fighter for them. I’m going to fight for our veterans, fight for veterans because my boots have been in that sand. And I know what our young troops go through when they’re deployed and away from their families. And when they come home with those wounds, sometimes you can see them, and as Simon (Conway) said, sometimes you can’t, I’m always going to be a fighter for our veterans. I’m fighting for working families, and I’m fighting for our single moms. Because folks, I have faced those same challenges myself. And I am always going to be an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse because I have suffered from those same consequences. So, folks, I’m telling you today that I am a fighter,” Ernst declared.
She also acknowledged how tough this election would be.
“You’ve seen all the negative campaigns against me the ads, the smears, the lies. Well, you know what, I may come out at this race a little bloodied. I may come out a little bruised on may have a few broken ribs along the way. But for heaven’s sakes, folks, I am going to cross that finish line first. We are going to keep this United States Senate seat. We are going to keep it. We are going to reelect President Donald J. Trump. Yes, we’re going to draw that red line in the sand, and it runs through the Senate. And we are going to (elect) David Young, and we are going to elect Republicans up and down the ticket. Economic prosperity, freedom, and opportunity: that’s the path we’re going to take,” Ernst said to cheers.
At other stops, Ernst was joined by State Senator Randy Feenstra who is running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, former Ambassador and Governor of Iowa Terry Branstad, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and State Representative Ashley Hinson who is running for Congress in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.
See photos from the event: