Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst released a trio of ads on Thursday emphasizing her military service in Iraq. 

The radio and TV ads feature testimonials from Iraq War veterans who served alongside Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard.


The commercials highlight the continued emphasis national security issues have received in the deadlocked race between Ernst and Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D), whom Republicans have repeatedly hit over veterans issues.

The contest to replace retiring Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinOn Nicaragua, the silence of the left is deafening Dem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation MORE (D-Iowa) could decide which party controls the Senate next year.

In one of the 30-second spots, Chris Fox, a retired command sergeant major, recalls his personal experiences with Ernst during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

“We were getting ready to deploy to Iraq. Joni said the most important thing is to bring everybody back alive,” he says. “That’s when I knew Joni was a commander, a real commander, someone who cared about soldiers.”

He adds that people were “always her priority” and that “she’s an excellent leader.” 

Fox then turns to recent attack ads launched by the Democrats, saying they are a “joke” and “don’t reflect anything accurately” about Ernst.

The other ad features William Jacoby, another veteran, who details how Ernst arranged a phone bank for her unit so they could call home easier. 

“It was amazing,” he says, adding that Ernst is “gifted with leadership skills, and it just comes natural to her.”

Like the other commercial, he takes Democrats to task over the negative ads.

“It’s upsetting to see these attack ads against her, because I know they’re completely false. They don’t know her at all,” Jacoby states.

The two testimonials are melded together for a minutelong radio ad titled “Soldier.” 

The ads will begin airing in markets across the state, according to Ernst's campaign.