Second Cut

03.26.14

Iowa Candidate's Ballsy Ad Is Old Hat

Joni Ernst, the Iowa Senate candidate who got national attention for referencing castration in a political ad this week wasn't the first female politician from Iowa to do so.

Joni Ernst, a Republican candidate for US Senate in Iowa, made headlines earlier this week when she released her first TV ad entitled "Squeal" wherein Ernst says that her childhood chore of castrating hogs has prepared her for a career as a federal lawmaker.

"I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork," Ernst chimes, her sunny tone evoking that of a mother in a commercial for oatmeal or laundry detergent.

But Ernst’s castration line isn’t original. In fact, the first-term Iowa state senator isn’t even the first female politician in Iowa to use castration to appeal to voters.

In 2008, then-Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, a Democrat, took the stage at the Harkin Steak Fry to tell  attendees "Sarah [Palin] knows how to field-dress a moose. I know how to castrate a calf. Neither of those things has anything at all to do with this election, but since we know so much about Sarah's special skills, I wanted to make sure you knew about mine, too."

Ernst, who was not available to comment to The Daily Beast, is running in the June 3rd Republican primary to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. Tom Harkin (D). She is running against radio commentator Sam Clovis, businessman Mark Jacobs, and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker. If Ernst wins the primary, she will be challenging the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley.

While she has received the support of prominent national Republicans like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, Ernst is considered an underdog against Jacobs, who has been up on television in Iowa for months. As The Iowa Republican reported Wednesday, while Ernst is only spending $7,012 to air her ad on Fox News over the next two weeks, Jacobs will spend over $200,000 on television ads across the state. However, barring a late reference to castration, it’s unlikely that any of Jacobs’ ads will get aired on The Tonight Show.