Joni Ernst shocks Iowa with GOP Senate primary landslide
Ernst got clear majority in a race in which experts had predicted that the state convention- dominated by party activists who tend in Iowa to be... well, a little ripe.... would have to choose the candidate. State law requires that a primary winner receive at least 35% of the vote in order to be chosen as the party's nominee without recourse to the state convention.
Socially conservative radio commentator Sam Clovis finished a distant second. Surprisingly, well-funded businessman Mark Jacobs, who led in early polling, finished third. Other than Ernst, only Jacobs had a statewide TV ad campaign.
Ernst will be an underdog to Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for the seat being vacated by far-left Sen. Tom Harkin (D). But with President Obama's decreasing popularity in Iowa and the dynamics of an off-year election, the race should be very competitive.
If Ernst wins (and I'm certainly going to vote for her), she will be Iowa's first female U.S. senator- and the Republicans will be well on their way to winning back control of the Senate itself.
ADDENDUM: The unofficial totals give Ernst 56% in a five-candidate field.