Republican State Senator and National Guard officer Joni Ernst will be the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress. She defeated Democrat Bruce Braley to replace Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate.
It was a roller coaster race throughout the campaign. But late polls showed Ernst surging. She declared her victory to a packed room at the West Des Moines Marriott. Ernst said it’s a long way from Red Oak, Iowa, to the United States Senate.
“Thanks to all of you, we are heading to Washington and we’re going to make them squeal,” she said.
That’s a reference to the wildly successful campaign ad that launched Ernst into the national spotlight. Her Democratic opponent Bruce Braley thanked his supporters.
“And thank you Tom Harkin for always being by my side on this journey,” Braley said.
Ernst vowed her first call would be to her new senate colleague Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. Ernst said she’ll cut taxes and red tape for industry in her new job in what will be a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.