The Senate Conservatives Fund is wading into Iowa’s contested Republican Senate primary, endorsing state senator Joni Ernst in the race to fill the seat of retiring senator Tom Harkin.
“There are other good candidates in this race, but Joni Ernst stands above the rest,” SCF executive director Matt Hoskins said in a statement. “She’s a principled conservative, she has strong grassroots support in the state, and she can win this race if she gets her message out. If elected, Joni Ernst will fight to cut wasteful spending, repeal Obamacare, and balance the budget.”
Ernst is currently locked in a four-way battle for the GOP nomination, but is leading the pack along with businessman Mark Jacobs. She has managed to gain backing forces associated with the party’s establishment and conservative wings: both Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have lined up behind her.
The primary is set for June 3, but if no candidate gains 35 percent of the vote, the nominee will be chosen at the Iowa GOP convention over the summer.
The Republican nominee will face congressman Bruce Braley, who is running uncontested on the Democratic side. Braley brought attention to the race when video surfaced last month showing him at a private fundraiser mocking six-term senator Chuck Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” His future GOP challenger will surely seize on those remarks.