Mitt Romney to Campaign for Joni Ernst in Iowa GOP Senate Primary

Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:39 PM

By Cathy Burke

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With 12 days until Iowa's GOP Senate primary, and a new poll showing her leading the pack, Joni Ernst will get a last-minute boost from Mitt Romney, who'll stump with her next week on his first visit to Iowa since the 2012 presidential election.

The Des Moines Register reports Romney will make two campaign stops with Ernst, who proudly declared in March her skills at castrating hogs would serve her well in cutting pork in Washington.

"We need Iowa to have a voice in the U.S. Senate that will protect and promote traditional conservative values, and Joni's proven record in the state senate, her decades of leadership as a military officer, and her commitment to the values that were passed on to her as a girl on a Montgomery County farm make it clear to me that she is the very best Iowa has to offer," Romney said in a statement.

In the five-way GOP race for Iowa's rare open Senate, Ernst is leading former energy executive Mark Jacobs by a 34-18 percent count, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling.

College professor and radio talk show host Sam Clovis was third in the poll with 14 percent, followed by former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and sales professional Scott Schaben, both of whom were in single digits. The poll had a 3.3 percentage point plus-or-minus margin of error.

The primary is June 3; the GOP winner will face Rep. Bruce Braley, a seven-year congressman who has no opponent in the Democratic primary.

The candidates will face off in November to replace retiring Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin.

Romney endorsed Ernst in early March. Whitaker has gotten the nod from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Clovis has the support of Rick Santorum, the Register notes.

The former presidential candidate is popular in Iowa; 730,716 voters cast their ballots for him in the general election compared with the 822,544 who voted for President Obama, the Register reports, citing election records.

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