BOONE, Iowa — U.S Senator Joni Ernst kicked off her 2020 campaign at her fifth annual “Roast and Ride” on Saturday, linking her re-election to President Trump’s.
The senator’s event comes after a number of Democratic presidential candidates swept through Iowa last week.
So far, Ernst is up against Democrats Eddi Mauro, Kimbery Graham and Theresa Greenfield, but she expressed confidence in her ability to defeat them.
“I know this is an important seat that the Democrats would love to have back, but I’m going to make them fight for it and they’re going to fail,” Ernst said.
Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley made a special appearance to show her support for Ernst. She was joined by Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley who also rallied behind the senator.
While their central theme focused on re-electing Ernst, it expanded to include their support in re-electing President Trump.
“Often a president runs on a platform but never stands on that platform,” Grassley said. “This president ran on a platform, and he’s standing on that platform.”
Haley, also the former Governor of South Carolina, said she understands what it’s like being in an key election state. She said feels bad for Iowans who have to deal with a crowded field of “liberals, radicals and socialists,” when describing the group of Democratic presidential candidates coming for the 2020 caucus season.
“Anyone like the Green New Deal? Does anyone here like open borders? Does anyone here want socialist healthcare? Does anyone here like political correctness? Those are the things we are going to have if we don’t re-elect President Trump,” Haley said. The audience responded in a sound “no” to all of her questions.
Senator Ernst said she’s happy to campaign with Trump, but that said that doesn’t mean they see eye to eye on all issues. Specifically, she noted tariffs that impact Iowa farmers is one topic they disagree on.
“He knows that I’m not necessarily a tariff gal, but he will tell me that ‘I’m a tariff guy.’ So I push back on it when I think it’s necessary,” she said.
Hundreds showed up to the ride in support of veterans. All of the proceeds are going to Retrieving Freedom, an organization that provides service dogs to veterans and autistic children.
FORT DODGE, Iowa — Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro launched his Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate Monday by complimenting U.S. Senator Joni Ernst — a Red Oak Republican seeking re-election next year — as “nice” but then tried to make the case that he could better help Iowans who haven’t benefited from the improving economy.
“We have a senator by the name of Joni Ernst,” Mauro told the eight people gathered at Fort Dodge’s Bloomers Cafe for his second event of the day, “…a lot of you know her…nice person.”
Mauro also saluted Ernst’s service in the military as a retired lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. But he added, “I think Joni Ernst has sold out Iowa.”
Mauro said Ernst, who supported President Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2017, served big business interests instead of the Iowans who are sometimes working two or three jobs and still can’t make a decent living. “Gave them crumbs,” Mauro said of the Trump tax cuts’ reductions for working class Iowans, “The people at the top got loaves of bread.”
Mauro said that he would change the tax cuts and would raise the minimum wage but didn’t say specifically how he would do either of those. “I’m interested in trying to raise the minimum wage in this country. I’m not sure what that number is. I don’t think 15 dollars (as a minimum hourly wage) is enough in New York City. it may be too much in Red Oak, Iowa. I’m not sure. But we have to find a way for people to make more wages.”
This is Mauro’s third attempt at public office after previously losing a Democratic primary for a Des Moines state house seat in 2016 (to Representative Jo Oldson) and a Democratic primary in 2018 for the Third Congressional District (to Cindy Axne).
The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a statement in response to Mauro’s campaign that said, “Happy Monday – Democrats are afraid of Joni Ernst, so they’re now stuck with a new third-tier, looney liberal, twice-rejected candidate, Democrat Eddie Mauro. Mauro’s announcement today is another reminder that Democrats have failed to field a candidate in Iowa, after their top two picks, (former two-term Iowa Governor Tom) Vilsack and Axne, passed on challenging well-positioned Joni Ernst.”
Des Moines attorney Kimberly Graham announced her Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate last week.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Democrat Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd District is running for re-election and will not challenge for Republican Joni Ernst’s seat in the U.S. Senate in 2020.
Channel 13 Political Director Dave Price confirmed the information Tuesday.
Axne became one of the first two Iowa women, along with Rep. Abby Finkenauer, to serve in the U.S. House following the 2018 elections. She beat two-term incumbent Rep. David Young in that election.
‘I’m Not OK with That,’ Sen. Joni Ernst Says After President’s Lawyer Argues It’s OK to Get Intel From Russia
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said Monday that accepting information about a political opponent from a foreign government is not acceptable, even if it does not break the law.
President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday that there was “nothing wrong” with accepting information from Russia. Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent nearly two years investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 election. Mueller found no evidence of collusion.
Ernst disagrees with Giuliani’s assertion that there would be nothing wrong with the Trump campaigning accepting information from Russia about opponents. “I’m not O.K. with that,” she said, “Foreign governments need to stay out.”
Congressional Democrats have been discussing whether to pursue impeachment against Trump following the public release of Mueller’s report. Asked Monday whether the president was concerned about impeachment, he responded, “not even a little bit.”
“Clearly there was no collusion,” Ernst said of the results of Mueller’s investigation, “I think the president is on safe footing but we’ll see where folks in the house will go with that.”
Ernst described the president as “very brash” when asked about findings in the Mueller report that said the reason the president didn’t commit wrongdoings was that some of those people who worked for him refused to carry out his requests. “As long as he surrounds himself with good people, he should be able to stay on the straight and narrow,” she added.
Ernst also released details of her annual Roast and Ride fundraiser. The 49-mile motorcycle ride leaves from the Big Barn Harley Davidson in Des Moines on June 15th and ends at the Central Iowa Expo in Boone. It will serve as her official re-election kickoff for U.S. Senate for 2020.
‘I Do Feel That it Happened for a Reason,’ Sen. Ernst Says of Private Details of Alleged Rape and Abuse That Became Public
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, said she isn’t sure she would have ever voluntarily discussed painful moments of her past but said her stories are now helping others.
“I do feel that it happened for a reason,” Ernst said.
Ernst claimed that her ex-husband, Gail, physically attacked her while they were married. Those details became public in January in her divorce papers, first published by Cityview.
Later that month, she also later revealed that an acquaintance raped her while she was a student at Iowa State University.
Ernst said women have told her since then that they also are survivors of abuse. “One single moment will not define your entire being,” Ernst said of the message she tries to share with those survivors.