Des Moines Register backing Ernst

Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) late Saturday picked up the endorsement of the The Des Moines Register, which said the state senator has a “sterling resume and a compelling biography.”

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“Although some of the five Republican candidates are stronger than others, three stand out: state Sen. Joni Ernst, former Texas energy executive Mark Jacobs and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker. Among those, Ernst is the best prepared and the most qualified of the field,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote.

“For a politician appealing to Iowa voters, Ernst, 43, has a sterling resume and a compelling biography,” the editorial board added. “She lives in the same southwest Iowa county where she grew up helping out on the family farm and graduating at the top of her Stanton High School class. She is a lieutenant colonel in Iowa Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has twice been elected to public office, first as Montgomery County auditor and to the Iowa Senate four years ago.”

The editorial board said it was unusual for the newspaper to issue an endorsement in a primary, but met with all five Republican candidates because of the “historic importance of this election.”

Republican voters on June 3 will pick a nominee to face Bruce Braley (D) in November.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) endorsed Ernst earlier this month, giving her campaign a boost in the race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.