On Sunday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said conservative Iowa Senate candidate and state Senator Joni Ernst is a “pistol-packing’ Harley rider” and veteran who could potentially retire Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) by beating Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley in the fall.
Republicans need to gain a net of six seats to take back the Senate, and Iowa’s senate race to replace Tom Harkin (D-IA) may decide which party controls the Senate.
“This seat will give Harry Reid the retirement that he deserves,” Palin said at She-PAC’s “Heels On, Gloves Off!” rally in West Des Moines with Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), and former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr, who was the country’s first female GOP governor.
“She’s going to set ’em straight,” Palin said of Ernst, according to Radio Iowa. “She’s a soldier. She’s a hard-working farmer. She’s a pistol-packin’ Harley rider.”
Ernst, despite being outspent nearly 100-1 by her more liberal challenger Mark Jacobs, has rocketed to the lead after Palin’s endorsement and her now famous castration ad. Palin said when she saw the ad, her reaction was, “Whoa, nobody’s going to push her around. She’s not going to be co-opted.”
The Ernst campaign debuted a new campaign RV on Sunday that Palin called “the coolest campaign bus in the nation.” The back of the RV asks Iowans to “honk if you want to make DC Squeal!”
“And that’s what’s going to happen,” Palin said. “D.C. is a town that knows its pork products, but they’ve never seen anything like Joni Ernst. They better not underestimate this gal from flyover country.”
Palin said Ernst, with her military background, not only understands freedom and will stand up to the Russian bear, but is someone Harry Reid “won’t talk down to.”
“I haven’t been this excited about a candidate in quite a while,” Palin said. “We can trust her. She has proven herself over and over again. She is the right one.”
Palin emphasized that Ernst will “fight like a girl” and is “not going to sit in the back corner and let the good ol’ boys do what they’ve been doing all these years.”
“She’s going to set ’em straight,” Palin said before emphasizing that it was “imperative” to send someone like Ernst to tackle the debt.
“Time is short. We don’t need a whole lot of touchy-feely, compassionate, ‘kumbayah’ singing around the campfire when it comes to these campaigns,” Palin said, according to Radio Iowa. “We need the fighters. We need you all to fight for the right folks that we need in D.C.”
After talking about how conservatives in the Senate need reinforcements like Ernst, Palin said that “it’s so comfortable being” here in Iowa, where the work ethic and values were palpable. She spoke of the “traditions that are so Americana” that make up Ernst’s values – “her world views that have been confirmed here,” Palin said.
Ernst said her campaign was gaining “momentum” and pledged to bring her “Iowa values to Washington, D.C.”
The primary is June 3, and if no candidate gets more than 35% of the vote the nominee will be chosen at a convention.