Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced Iowa’s freshman senator Joni Ernst will deliver the Republican response to the president’s State of the Union next week.
Parties often use the rebuttal to the night’s keynote address to showcase their budding personalities, and Ernst has emerged as a star since bursting on to the national political scene last year. During the Republican primaries, she gained widespread attention for an ad in which she famously recalled her upbringing castrating pigs on the farm. She went on to defeat Democrat Bruce Braley, who was at one point considered the clear favorite to win the race, and helped ensure Republican control of the Senate.
“I am truly humbled and honored to have this opportunity to deliver the Republican address,” she said from the GOP congressional retreat in Hershey, Penn., on Thursday. “I never, never imagined that I would have this opportunity.”
Last year’s response was given by GOP conference chairwoman, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.