Palin endorses Joni Ernst in Iowa Senate race
© Greg Nash

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is throwing her support behind Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), giving her a boost with conservatives in her crowded Senate race.

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"If Nebraska's Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerSenate Republicans raise concerns about TSA cyber directives for rail, aviation Austin, Milley to testify on Afghanistan withdrawal After messy Afghanistan withdrawal, questions remain MORE can see through the bull in Washington, then Iowa’s Joni Ernst can help her cut through the pork. Growing up on a hog farm in Southwest Iowa, Joni has taken her 'pork cutting' skills to the Iowa State Senate where she has been a champion for life, small government, and lower taxes — voting for the largest tax cut in Iowa history," Palin says in a Facebook post, referencing Ernst's first campaign ad, which compares hog castration to budget cutting.

"Iowa — come together and send this Midwest Mama Grizzly roaring to Washington on her Harley so she can join with the good guys to get our country back on track," she concludes.

Ernst also has 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney's backing and the quiet support of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R). But she has struggled some with fundraising. She's trying to defeat self-funding businessman Mark Jacobs (R) and two other candidates for the chance to face Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyThe Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP MORE (D-Iowa) in the fall.

Braley had been assumed to have the edge in the race but looks a lot more vulnerable after video surfaced on Wednesday of him describing Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyAnother voice of reason retires Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 MORE (R-Iowa) as an "Iowa farmer who never went to law school."