One day after her campaign ad went viral, conservative Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst was endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her bid to gain the Republican nomination among a crowded field of candidates in the June 3 primary election.
"If Nebraska’s Deb Fischer can see through the bull in Washington, then Iowa’s Joni Ernst can help her cut through the pork," Palin wrote on her Facebook page
"Growing up on a hog farm in s
outhwest 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 also cited Ernst's background as a "veteran of the Iraq war [who] continues her service as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard" and her pro-Second Amendment beliefs as owner of a concealed weapon license and "A" rating by the National Rifle Association as reasons Iowans should back Ernst.
"She's been a fighter for freedom both in and out of uniform," Palin said. "Iowa – come together and send this Midwest Mama Grizzly roaring to Washington on her Harley so she can join with the good guys to get our country back on track!"
Palin's endorsement, of course, playfully referred to Ernst's pig castration/pork-cutting TV ad that has the internet buzzing and left Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon cringing.
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In accepting Palin's endorsement, Ernst, who has also been backed by Mitt Romney
, told Breitbart.com
that she was "proud to stand with the Mama Grizzly against big spenders in Washington like Bruce Braley and Nancy Pelosi."
"Sarah Palin is an inspiration
to those of us who want to protect life, defend the Second Amendment, and get Washington out of our wallets," Ernst said.
"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."
Palin's endorsement could be a game-changer for Ernst, who is a popular pick among Republicans but has struggled with fundraising. Ernst has a war chest of just $290,000, about 10 times less than Democratic frontrunner Braley, Politico reports
According to former South Carolina senator and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Palin's high favorability numbers
resonate with GOP primary voters, and Palin's messages of social and fiscal conservatism have struck a particularly popular chord in Iowa.
Palin's endorsement of Ernst is also well-timed, coming one day after the GOP research group America Rising released a video of Braley calling Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" at a Texas fundraiser.
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Braley, who had a 13-point lead over Ernst in a March 13 Quinnipiac poll
, apologized for his remarks about Grassley but could now be vulnerable with Palin backing Ernst.
When Palin endorsed T.W. Shannon for Senate in Oklahoma on March 15, Shannon trailed his opponent, Rep. James Lankford, by 35 points. He was within single digits in a poll taken just four days later.
That endorsement, Shannon told Breitbart
, "means more than money can buy, because it's about credibility. Conservatives know who she is, and they know her values and beliefs. More importantly, they know she would not be supporting someone who doesn't share those values."
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