Sarah Palin endorses Iowa Republican Senate hopeful Joni Ernst

Ernst is one of five Republicans seeking the party's nomination to run against Braley

DAVENPORT — Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said Wednesday that she is endorsing Iowa Republican Senate hopeful Joni Ernst.

"Growing up on a hog farm in Southwest Iowa, Joni has taken her 'pork cutting' skills to the Iowa State Senate where she has been a champion for life, small government, and lower taxes — voting for the largest tax cut in Iowa history," Palin wrote on her Facebook page. "In Washington, she has pledged to defund Obamacare, limit the size of government, and protect life."

Ernst, a state senator from Red Oak, is one of five Republicans seeking the party's nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

The endorsement was one of two that were made Wednesday in the GOP primary. Conservative icon Phyllis Schalfly and the Eagle Forum endorsed Sam Clovis, a college professor and radio show host from Sioux City.

Schlafly called Clovis a "full spectrum candidate."

"He knows how important traditional values, a strong national defense, and limited government are to America’s success," she said.

Clovis called Schlafly a conservative leader.

"For Phyllis Schlafly to recognize our shared commitment is a very big moment for this campaign," he said.

In her a statement acknowledging Palin's endorsement, Ernst called the former Alaska governor an inspiration.

"I'm proud to stand with the Mama Grizzly against big spenders in Washington like Bruce Braley and Nancy Pelosi," she said.

Ernst has been gaining national attention the past couple days for a new television ad that has her telling of her time on the farm castrating hogs.

She continued with that theme in acknowledging Palin's endorsement.

"As our campaign builds energy toward a primary win in June, Sarah Palin's roaring support will help me to victory, and as a result, make 'em squeal in Washington," she said.

Ernst and Clovis are competing for the GOP nomination with former energy executive Mark Jacobs, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, college professor and Scott Schaben, an auto dealer.

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