Senator Joni Ernst to Give GOP Response to Obama’s State of the Union Address

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Washington, DC

Citing the “verve and tenacity” of Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa displayed on the campaign trail in 2014, Newsweek calls her the “smart pick” to handle the GOP’s response to Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address set for Tuesday.

“They seem to have the right woman for the job,” writes Newsweek.

Everything the Republicans do from now until 2016 will be designed to undermine Democratic hopes of keeping the White House. From that perspective, Ernst is a smart choice. For one thing, as a first-term senator, she’s a fresh face. Having previously served as an Iowa state senator from 2011 to 2014, she isn’t seen as part of the Washington establishment.

Newsweek also likes the choice given her gender. It’s no secret that the GOP has struggled with attracting female voters.

Choosing Ernst to deliver the response to the State of the Union is also smart because she’s a woman. It’s the second time in a row the Republicans have tapped a female politician to deliver the response. And with good reason. The party needs to attract women voters. Its record on abortion rights and access to contraception has left some women feeling lukewarm toward the GOP. And for the party to have a future on the national stage, it needs more interested (and interesting) women. In 2012, 55 percent of women voters cast their ballots for Obama, while only 43 percent voted for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Add in that Ernst hails from a swing state, Iowa, and it’s difficult to argue with the selection.

Previously, Republicans chose Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington to give the State of the Union response, and before that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio is now a presidential contender himself.


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