The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Palin backs "momma grizzly" Joni Ernst

WEST DES MOINES — In Sarah Palin’s eyes, pistol packing and Harley Davidson riding Joni Ernst is ready to represent Iowa in Washington D.C.

“D.C. is a town that is of course known for ‘pork’ products, but they have never seen anything like Joni Ernst,” she said. “They cannot underestimate this gal from flyover country.”

Palin spoke at ShePAC’s, “Heels on, Gloves Off” event with other elected Midwestern conservative women to help achieve the political-action committee’s goal of getting more conservative women elected to statewide and federal office.

The former vice-presidential nominee gushed about the senator from Red Oak before the approximately 300 attendees at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines.

“I haven’t been this excited about a candidate in quite a while,” Palin said.

“The eyes of the nation are upon you,” Palin said as she introduced Ernst, pointing to the candidate’s well-known ad where she says castrating pigs have prepared her to cut spending.

 “… She was brave enough to put [the ad] out, so you just know she’s not going to be one to be told to sit down and shut up,” she said.

Ernst’s inability to be co-opted and her views on gun control were a few of the reasons Palin said she was proud to give the lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard her endorsement.

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds joined Ernst at the rally.

Fischer said ShePAC helped her beat former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., when he tried to reclaim his seat in 2012.

“… ShePAC had my back early, and we came out, and we crushed Bob Kerrey,” Fisher said.

ShePAC has backed 11 other women for federal office this year. Other notable endorsements include Erika Harold, a former Miss America who is running for the House from Illinois and Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs.

Iowa has never sent a woman to Washington, which Palin said could be solved by one of her trademark “momma grizzlies,” which she bestowed on Ernst — singling out her military service as a reason Ernst should be trusted on defense issues.

“Watch out Washington, Joni Ernst is a momma grizzly, and she is ready to take a stand against the Russian bear,” Palin said.

Previous “momma grizzlies” include Fisher, Nikki Haley, Mary Fallon, and Susana Martinez. The last three all won governorships in South Carolina, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, respectively.

Ernst energized the crowd by using most of her speech to deliver broadsides against Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, a preview of what her general-election argument could look like if she wins the June 3 primary.

Four other candidates are also competing for the Republican nomination and a chance to win retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s D-Iowa, Senate seat for the GOP.

Contrasts against Braley included his support for the Affordable Care Act, which Ernst said the Cedar Rapids Democrat “absolutely loves Obamacare.”

“I am ready to fight,” she said. “I am the candidate who’s ready to move forward and take it to Bruce Braley.”

Braley joined Democrat Rep. Dave Loebsack in voting for Keep Your Plan Act of 2013, which Harkin said in November would “unravel” the law. The proposal would grandfather-in plans that were canceled for not meeting Obamacare requirements.

The bill is currently in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the committee Harkin chairs.

The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement on Palin’s visit to Iowa, saying “an absent crowd met by two absentee lawmakers” attended the event.

“If Ernst and other Iowa Republicans believe Palin is the best representative to speak on their values, they are in for a rude awakening,” said Christina Freundlich, the spokeswomen for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Palin said now is not the time to “sing ‘Kumbaya’ around the campfire,” as voters need to fight for conservative nominees.

“We need the fighters, we need you all to fight for the right folks that we need in D.C,” he said. “Joni Ernst is that person.”

More to Discover