Iowa state Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWaPo reporter says GOP has less incentive to go big on COVID-19 relief GOP chairman: Defense bill to include renaming Confederate bases, but not Section 230 repeal Iowa losses underscore Democrats' struggles with attracting rural voters MORE (R) returns to the pigpen for her latest ad, pitching "Iowa common sense" to "clean up the mess in Washington."


"It’s a mess. Dirty, noisy, and it stinks. Not this lot — I’m talking about the one in Washington," Ernst says to open the ad, as she walks through a pen full of muddy pigs.

"Too many typical politicians, hogging, wasting and full of ... well, let’s just say, bad ideas. It’s time to stop spending money we don’t have and balance the budget," Ernst adds.

The ad is a nod to one of the Senate candidate's first, in which she talked about growing up on a farm and castrating hogs, saying if elected, "I'll know how to cut pork."

That quirky spot drew widespread attention and was seen as a game-changer for her candidacy, helping her build goodwill among Iowa's rural population and agricultural workers.

Her campaign said the latest ad was filmed in the same pen, with the same pigs, who are now much older and bigger.

Ernst has emerged as a breakout GOP star in this cycle, and is threatening to win a race Democrats once thought they'd take easily.

She's led Democratic 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 about half of the public polls of the race, and the blue-leaning purple state remains a toss-up. Democrats, however, are hopeful that once they've gotten the word out on some of Ernst's more conservative positions, they'll hold the seat this fall.