Republican Joni Ernst is running against Democrat Bruce Braley for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat.
Ernst has often bragged about how she carries a gun and has used firearms in her ads. Ernst's pro-gun positions have earned her the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which gave her an "A" rating for her voting record in the Iowa State senate, noted the Des Moines Register earlier this year.
A controversial video (below) of Ernst speaking to the NRA in 2012 recently surfaced.
Ernst's speech took place not long after a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
According to ThinkProgress.org, Ernst talked about her gun and how she would use it to defend herself against intruders and the U.S. government.
"I have a beautiful little Smith and Wesson, 9 mm, and it goes with me virtually everywhere," said Ernst. "I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important."
Ernst's statement brought applause from the NRA crowd.
Bloomberg.com reports that a Quinnipiac University poll released today had Ernst at 48 percent and Braley at 46 percent.
“Throughout the campaign, Senator Ernst has had an edge on likability,” said Peter Brown, of the Quinnipiac Poll. “If she makes it across the finish line first that may be the key. Her campaign theme that she is the ‘farm girl next door’ who made good has taken her from unknown state legislator to a serious shot at the United States Senate.”
CitizenLink, the political arm of the Christian ministry Focus on the Family, supports Ernst because of her pro-life, anti-health care and anti-gay positions.
Des Moines Register reporter Rekha Basu wrote today on Facebook that Ernst is refusing to meet with newspapers for questions:
Is Joni Ernst afraid of newspaper editorial boards? After much negotiating, she was scheduled to meet his morning with writers and editors at The Des Moines Register, but last night her people called to unilaterally cancel. She has also begged off meetings with The Cedar Rapids Gazette and The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.