Difference between revisions of "Joni Ernst"

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  |Project = SLP
  |Project = SLP
  |Name = Joni Ernst
  |Name = Joni Ernst
  |Profile picture = Joni Ernst.jpg
  |Profile picture = Joni Ernst updated.PNG
  |Position = Iowa State Senate District 12
  |Position = Iowa State Senate District 12
  |Status = Incumbent
  |Status = Incumbent

Revision as of 12:37, 29 August 2014

Joni Ernst
Joni Ernst updated.PNG
Current candidacy
Running for U.S. Senate, Iowa
General electionNovember 4, 2014
Current office
Iowa State Senate District 12
In office
Term ends
January 8, 2017
Years in position 4
Base salary$25,000/year
Per diem$135/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedJanuary 4, 2011 (special election)
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sIowa State University
Master'sColumbus College
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army Reserves
Years of service2003-2004
ProfessionMontgomery County Auditor
Office website
Personal website
Joni Ernst is a Republican member of the Iowa State Senate and a candidate for the United States Senate in the 2014 elections in Iowa.[1] In the Iowa State Senate, she represents District 12; a position to which she was elected in a January 2011 special election. She is also the Assistant Minority Leader of the Iowa State Senate.

Ernst won her party's nomination to run for U.S. Senate in the June 3, 2014 primary.[2] If elected to the U.S. Senate, she will be the first woman from Iowa elected to either house of Congress.[3][4]


Born and raised in Montgomery County, Iowa, Ernst was valedictorian of her class at Stanton High School.[5] Ernst earned her B.S. from Iowa State University and her M.P.A. from Columbus College. Her professional experience includes working as Montgomery County Auditor. She has served in the U.S. Army Reserves and the Iowa National Guard for 21 years, earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard[6] and serving as Operations Branch Chief in Logistics for the Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnson, Iowa.

She spent 14 months mobilized and overseas in Kuwait from 2003-2004 as a company commander at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[7] Ernst currently commands the largest battalion in the Iowa Army National Guard.[8][9]

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 state legislative session, Ernst served on the following committees:

Iowa Committee Assignments, 2013
Human Resources
Rules and Administration
Veterans Affairs


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Ernst served on these committees:


Harassment in military

Ernst was sexually harassed during her more than 20 years spent in the military. "I had comments, passes, things like that," Ernst said. She shared this life experience during the campaign, in an article published in August 2014.[10]

Campaign themes


Ernst's 2011 special election Campaign site listed several key policy positions and campaign themes:

  • Eliminate Wasteful Spending
  • Create Jobs on Main Street
  • Reduce Property Taxes

Political positions

In 2007, Ernst took part in a successful lawsuit challenging the legality of the state's bilingual voter registration forms, which were in violation of Iowa's state law.[11][12]

During the 2013 legislative session, Ernst worked on legislation which reduced property taxes in Iowa.[13] She has also received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association for her support of gun-rights issues.[14]

In a May 2014 interview with The Des Moines Register, Ernst expressed her support for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, a reduction in entitlements and discretionary spending, replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with "free market alternatives", a "fairer, flatter, and simpler" tax code and for allowing law-abiding citizens to "freely carry" weapons, and expressed her opposition to cap-and-trade and federal involvement in education.[15]

In a Republican primary debate in May 2014, Ernst said she would have voted against the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, stated her view that the Clean Water Act is damaging for business, expressed her support for private Social Security accounts for young workers, and said that she opposed a federal minimum wage and that the minimum wage should be set at the state level. Ernst said she believes same-sex marriage is "a state issue."[16]

Candidate forum

On December 14, 2010, Ernst and Ruth Smith (D) took part in an open forum sponsored by the Creston News Advertiser and KSIB.[17]

  • Part one of the forum can be found here.
  • Part two of the forum can be found here.



See also: United States Senate elections in Iowa, 2014

Ernst ran as a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in the 2014 elections in Iowa. Ernst officially announced her candidacy on July 10, 2013.[1] She won the nomination in the Republican primary on June 3, 2014.[2][18][1] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

U.S. Senate, Iowa Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoni Ernst 56.2% 88,535
Sam Clovis 18% 28,418
Mark Jacobs 16.8% 26,523
Matt Whitaker 7.5% 11,884
Scott Schaben 1.4% 2,233
Total Votes 157,593
Source: Iowa Secretary of State


  • Sarah Palin endorsed Ernst on March 26, 2014.[19]
    • In a Facebook post, Palin wrote: "If Nebraska’s Deb Fischer can see through the bull in Washington, then Iowa’s Joni Ernst can help her cut through the pork. Growing up on a hog farm in Southwest Iowa, Joni has taken her 'pork cutting' skills to the Iowa State Senate where she has been a champion for life, small government, and lower taxes – voting for the largest tax cut in Iowa history. In Washington, she has pledged to defund Obamacare, limit the size of government, and protect life. As a concealed weapon license holder, she will fight to defend our Second Amendment rights – the NRA has given her an A rating."[19]

Joni Ernst's March 2014 ad, "Squeal."
  • Mitt Romney endorsed Ernst in an email sent to his backers in Iowa on March 5, 2014.[20] In the email he wrote, "...Now, more than ever, we need someone who will demand fiscal responsibility in Washington and will put up a strong fight against Obamacare. Mother, soldier and proven conservative, Joni Ernst, is ready to do just that. Join our efforts by making a contribution to Joni’s campaign today. Any and every contribution will make a difference."[20]
  • Republican activist David Oman endorsed Ernst on March 3, 2014.[21]
  • On October 7, 2013, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her endorsement of Ernst for U.S. Senate.[22]
    • It was assumed that the endorsement would give Ernst some momentum in the competitive, multi-way race for the Republican nomination.[22]
    • “Joni Ernst represents the best of the Republican Party; she represents the best of Iowa,” Reynolds wrote in a guest opinion column in the Des Moines Register. “Joni does more than just talk about the policies and values she holds dear. She fights for them.”[22]
  • She has also been endorsed by 23 current and former state legislators.[23]


Ernst released a 30-second ad on March 24, 2014, "Squeal." The ad began with Ernst saying, "I can castrate pigs so I am the perfect conservative for Iowa to send to the Senate."[24][25] She also said in the ad, "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork. Washington’s full of big spenders. Let’s make ’em squeal.”[25]


See also: Iowa State Senate elections, 2012

Ernst ran for re-election to the Iowa State Senate in 2012. Due to redistricting, Ernst ran in District 12. Ernst ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 5, 2012. No candidates filed to run in the Democratic primary. The general election took place on November 6, 2012.[26][27]


See also: State legislative special elections, 2011; Iowa state legislative special elections, 2011

Ernst defeated Ruth Smith (D) in the January 4, 2011 special election to Iowa State Senate District 48.[28] Ernst won with 67.4 percent of the vote.[29][30]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Ernst is available dating back to 2011. Based on available campaign finance records, Ernst raised a total of $128,208 during that time period. This information was last updated on September 19, 2013.[31]

Joni Ernst's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Iowa State Senate, District 12 Won $55,847
2011 Iowa State Senate, District 48 Won $72,361
Grand Total Raised $128,208


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Ernst's reports.[32]

Ernst raised $252,000 in her first fundraising quarter, according to reports released October 10, 2013.[38]

In a statement, Ernst said: ”I am incredibly thankful to those who have been so generous with their support over the last several weeks. Each and every contribution, no matter the amount, helps my campaign to continue to grow in momentum. I am excited to continue traveling the state and meeting with voters to share my vision of taking our shared Iowa values to Washington, D.C.”[38]


Ernst won re-election to the Iowa State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Ernst raised a total of $55,847.


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in Iowa

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of Iowa scorecards, email suggestions to scorecards@ballotpedia.org.

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2012, the 84th Iowa State Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 9.[39]

Legislators are scored on "their records on constitutional principles and civil liberties."
Legislators are scored on their votes on "key conservative issues."
Legislators are scored on their votes with or against SC's official position.


Ernst resides in Red Oak, Iowa with her husband, Gail, a Command Sergeant Major in the Army Rangers (retired) and their daughter, Libby.[40][41]

Ernst is a member of the Montgomery County Republican Women, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2265 (Life Member), Montgomery County Court of Honor, Altrusa, PEO Chapter HB, National Rifle Association (Lifetime Member) and the Montgomery County Farm Bureau.[41] She is a member of the Mamrelund Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Stanton, Iowa.[7]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Joni + Ernst + Iowa + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Joni Ernst News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Des Moines Register, "Joni Ernst announces bid for Senate seat" accessed July 10, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Associated Press, "Election Results," accessed June 3, 2014
  3. "The Gazette","State Sen. Joni Ernst announces run for U.S. Senate in Cedar Rapids - See more at: http://thegazette.com/2013/07/18/state-sen-joni-ernst-announces-run-for-u-s-senate-in-cedar-rapids/#sthash.qEr0Odu8.dpuf", Juy 18, 2013
  4. "Aljazeera America","Joni Ernst may make history as first Iowa woman to go to Congress", July 1, 2014
  5. "Iowa State","Plaza of Heroines", accessed August 7, 2014
  6. "ABC","Hog-Castrating, Harley Davidson-Riding Joni Ernst Wins Iowa Senate Primary", June 3, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Iowa Republican","Announces Bid for Kim Reynolds Iowa Senate Seat", November 18, 2010
  8. [http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/07/10/republican-joni-ernst-joins-u-s-senate-race/article?nclick_check=1 "Des Moines Register","Republican Joni Ernst joins U.S. Senate race", July 10, 2013[
  9. "Des Moines Register","Ernst mobilizes to crash Washington's 'boys club'", May 29, 2014
  10. Politico, "Joni Ernst: I was harassed in the military," accessed August 16, 2014
  11. U.S. English, "Opening Arguments in Iowa Official English Case Heard Today," December 21, 2007
  12. U.S. English Foundation, "Legal Defense," accessed April 8, 2014
  13. "Newton Daily News","Ernst, Payton speak at local GOP meeting", November 27, 2013
  14. "Des Moines Register","Sirens sound across Iowa as Sarah Palin endorses Joni Ernst", March 26, 2014
  15. "Des Moines Register","Joni Ernst: I was 'extremely offended' by AWOL attack", May 9, 2014
  16. "Politico","Joni Ernst focused on primary in final Iowa debate", May 29, 2014
  17. Creston News Advertiser, "Ernst, Smith focus on social, economic issues," December 15, 2010
  18. KMALand, "Ernst still undecided on Senate bid," May 23, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 Des Moines Register, "Sarah Palin endorses Joni Ernst in Iowa U.S. Senate race," accessed March 26, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 Des Moines Register, "In rare mailing, Romney backs Iowa’s Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate," accessed March 6, 2014
  21. Des Moines Register, "GOP’s David Oman endorses Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate," accessed March 3, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Des Moines Register, "Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds endorses Joni Ernst in U.S. Senate race," accessed October 7, 2013
  23. "Joni Ernst","Endorsements", accessed August 7, 2014
  24. Time, "Iowa Senate Candidate Says Castration Gives Her Conservative Cred," accessed March 26, 2014
  25. 25.0 25.1 Des Moines Register, "Hog castration quip lands Joni Ernst on 'The Tonight Show' (with video)," accessed March 26, 2014
  26. Iowa Secretary of State, "Official Primary Results," accessed April 7, 2014
  27. Iowa Department of Elections, "2012 Primary Candidates," accessed April 17, 2012
  28. Iowa Secretary of State, "Official Iowa Candidate list," January 5, 2011
  29. Iowa Secretary of State, "Unofficial Election Results," January 5, 2011
  30. Des Moines Register, "Republican Ernst wins state Senate seat," January 5, 2011
  31. followthemoney.org, "Ernst, Joni K," accessed September 19, 2013
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Joni Ernst 2014 Summary reports," accessed November 12, 2013
  33. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 13, 2013
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed May 13, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed May 13, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 16, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  38. 38.0 38.1 Des Moines Register, "Ernst raises $252,000 for her U.S. Senate campaign," accessed October 11, 2013
  39. StateScape, "Session schedules," accessed August 2, 2014
  40. "Daily Kos","Does Joni Ernst Support Traditional Divorce?", June 16, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 "Joni Ernst","About Joni", accessed August 7, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Schoenjahn (D)
Iowa State Senate District 12
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Iowa State Senate District 48
Succeeded by
Dan Zumbach (R)