Nebraska senator Deb Fischer will travel next door to Iowa in support of a fellow female Republican running in a tough primary for U.S. Senate. According to a press release from ShePAC, a conservative women's group, Fischer will go to Des Moines later this month to campaign for Joni Ernst, who is running for the seat currently held by retiring Democrat Tom Harkin. Ernst is locked in a primary battle with four other Republican candidates, including leading candidate Mark Jacobs.
"In 2014, ShePAC is supporting several incredible women candidates who, like I did, need support to run against the liberal agenda and take their fight to Washington," said Fischer in the statement. "Candidates like Joni Ernst in Iowa who have proven their mettle are exactly the kind of women we need to take back the U.S. Senate!"
With a few good debate performances, Fischer overcame low name identification and two better-funded opponents in her 2012 bid for Republican nomination in Nebraska, easily winning the general election over the Democrat, former senator and governor Bob Kerrey. It helped that while her primary opponents were state officials in Lincoln, Fischer cast herself as a farm girl and rancher. It also helped that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin had endorsed her, giving the Fischer campaign a boost in fundraising and name recognition.
Perhaps Ernst's biggest advantage was her first TV ad, which highlighted her youth on an Iowa farm as well her military service. "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm," Ernst says in the ad. "So when I get to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork." The ad made national headlines and had television hosts rolling.
In the latest primary poll, Ernst was running at 13 percent in the crowded primary, 7 points behind Jacobs. The primary will be on June 3, and the winning candidate needs to receive at least 35 percent of the vote to avoid a convention.
The GOP nominee will face off against Democratic congressman Bruce Braley, who has found himself in some hot water for recent comments that seemingly disparaged Iowa farmers.