Government

Anti-Trump PAC targeting Joni Ernst's reelection bid

Sen. Joni Ernst speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on May 6. (Associated Press)
Sen. Joni Ernst speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on May 6. (Associated Press)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Republican-oriented group dedicated to stopping President Donald Trump’s reelection is widening its attack to include GOP officeholders, including Sen. Joni Ernst, who it says emboldens the president.

The Lincoln Project, www.lincolnproject.us, which was formed by Republicans and former Republicans working to prevent a second term for Trump, is launching a 30-second ad today targeting Ernst for failing to hold the president accountable.

It will run today through Friday in the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Quad Cities and Sioux City markets.

It features a clip from Ernst’s “make them squeal” ad from her 2014 campaign.

“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm,” she says into the camera. “Washington is full of big spenders. Let’s make them squeal.”

That’s followed by about 15 seconds of crickets chirping.

Although Ernst ran for office claiming that she would take a knife to Washington, D.C., the way she once castrated pigs on the farm, the Lincoln Project said that once there she “lost her knife and her voice, and simply became another tool of the capital’s political establishment,”

But Ernst spokesman Brendan Conley said the only crickets her campaign hears are from her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, “who is silent on virtually every question from Iowans, ranging from radical proposals like defunding police to her record of evicting small businesses.”

Ernst has used the president’s words to highlight her independence. In late 2019, Trump said “she’s relentless” when talking about Ernst’s efforts on Iowa issues including biofuels.

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Ernst has promised Iowans to “continue to be your relentless fighter in the United States Senate.”

Reed Galen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, said defeating Republicans such as Ernst is part of the group’s effort to defeat both Trump and “Trumpism.”

It is “targeting specific Republicans senators who have abdicated their Article I responsibilities, failed their oaths of office and violate their consciences in the name of political expediency,” he said.

“It’s time for Iowa to elect someone to the U.S. Senate who will actually stand up for Iowans,” said John Weaver, another co-founder of the Washington-based political action committee.

The Lincoln Project is led by several prominent Republicans, but according to opensecrets.org the largest contribution it has received — $50,000 — is from a California investor who has donated to former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as well as several Democratic campaign organizations and candidates across the country.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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