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Democratic super PAC expands fight against Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst

September 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 6: Sen. Joni Ernst, (R-IA), speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing for Justin Reed Walker to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, May 6, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images)

Joni Ernst first captured national attention in the 2014 US Senate race in Iowa, when she aired during the Republican primary an unusual ad. "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm," she said. "So when I get to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork."

(CNN)Joni Ernst first captured national attention in the 2014 US Senate race in Iowa, when she aired during the Republican primary an unusual ad.

It is an extension of the fight the two parties have long waged, spending millions attacking Ernst and Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield as more beholden to corporate interests and dark money groups than the voters in their state.

But it may hold particular resonance in Iowa, where Democratic groups have been on the air for months attacking Ernst for alleged campaign violations and using them to drive their overall message.

In July, End Citizens United, a group trying to get big money out of politics by reversing the 2010 Supreme Court case that fueled the rise of Super PACs, launched an ad hitting the Ernst campaign for having to pay a $14,500 fine, the largest in Iowa's history, after the FEC found her 2014 campaign "knowingly" accepted "excessive and prohibited contributions" and failed to "timely refund" them.

At the end of August, the Senate Democrats' campaign arm aired its first TV ad in Iowa, telling voters that Ernst and her campaign "potentially" violated the law in working with an outside group, according to the Associated Press.

One Ernst ad features a moment in the Democratic primary debate, when candidate Eddie Mauro said to Greenfield, "She says she wants to end corruption, but she's taken corrupt money. "

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