Joni Ernst

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Joni Ernst
Joni Ernst.jpg
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
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Term limitsN/A
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, representing District 12 and serving as Assistant Minority Leader. She was first elected to the chamber in 2010.

She is a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in the 2014 elections in Iowa.[1]

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 18 years, earning the rank of Major in the Iowa National Guard and serving as Operations Branch Chief in logistics for the Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnson, Iowa.

Committee assignments


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

Iowa Committee Assignments, 2012
Human Resources
Rules and Administration
Veterans Affairs


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

Campaign themes


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

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

English as Official Language

In 2002, Iowa passed a measure to make English the official language of the State of Iowa. In 2007, Ernst took part in a successful lawsuit challenging the legality of the state's bilingual voter registration forms.[2][3]

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.[4]

  • 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. The general election takes place on November 4, 2014.[5][1]

Ernst officially announced her candidacy on July 10, 2013.[1]


  • Sarah Palin endorsed Ernst on March 26, 2014.[6]
    • 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."[6]

Joni Ernst's March 2014 ad, "Squeal."
  • Mitt Romney endorsed Ernst in an email sent to a substantial number of his backers in Iowa on March 5, 2014.[7] 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."[7]
  • Republican activist David Oman endorsed Ernst on March 3, 2014.[8]
  • On October 7, 2013, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her endorsement of Ernst for U.S. Senate.[9]
    • It was assumed that the endorsement would give Ernst some momentum in the competitive, multi-way race for the Republican nomination.[9]
    • “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.”[9]


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."[10][11] 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.”[11]


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.[12][13]


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.[14] With 62 of 62 precincts reporting, Ernst has won with 67.4 percent of the vote.[15][16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

Ernst raised $252,000 in her first fundraising quarter, according to reports released October 10, 2013.[24]

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.”[24]


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


Ernst and her husband, Gail, have three children.

Recent news

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Joni Ernst News Feed

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External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Des Moines Register "Joni Ernst announces bid for Senate seat" Accessed July 10, 2013
  2. U.S. English, "Opening Arguments in Iowa Official English Case Heard Today," December 21, 2007
  3. U.S. English Foundation, "Legal Defense"
  4. Creston News Advertiser, "Ernst, Smith focus on social, economic issues," December 15, 2010
  5. KMALand, "Ernst still undecided on Senate bid," May 23, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Des Moines Register, "Sarah Palin endorses Joni Ernst in Iowa U.S. Senate race," accessed March 26, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Des Moines Register, "In rare mailing, Romney backs Iowa’s Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate," accessed March 6, 2014
  8. Des Moines Register, "GOP’s David Oman endorses Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate," accessed March 3, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Des Moines Register, "Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds endorses Joni Ernst in U.S. Senate race," accessed October 7, 2013
  10. Time, "Iowa Senate Candidate Says Castration Gives Her Conservative Cred," accessed March 26, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Des Moines Register, "Hog castration quip lands Joni Ernst on 'The Tonight Show' (with video)," accessed March 26, 2014
  12. Iowa Secretary of State, "Official Primary Results"
  13. Iowa Department of Elections, "2012 Primary Candidates," accessed April 17, 2012
  14. Official Iowa Candidate list
  15. Iowa SOS, Unofficial Election Results
  16. Des Moines Register "Republican Ernst wins state Senate seat," January 5, 2011
  17., "Ernst, Joni K," accessed September 19, 2013
  18. Federal Election Commission, "Joni Ernst 2014 Summary reports," Accessed November 12, 2013
  19. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 13, 2013
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed May 13, 2014
  21. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed May 13, 2014
  22. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 16, 2014
  23. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 Des Moines Register, "Ernst raises $252,000 for her U.S. Senate campaign," accessed October 11, 2013
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)