Des Moines – On Monday, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that Joni Ernst and her campaign have been offering misleading explanations for her 117 missed votes this year, raising more questions on how long they have been distorting the truth to provide cover for her dismal attendance record in the Iowa Senate.
After news broke on March 5 that Ernst had missed 71/95 (75%) of the votes taken thus far in the state Senate, her campaign spokesperson told the Gazette that she had been busy fulfilling a number of roles, including National Guard service:
Ernst, a Red Oak Republican who scored the endorsement of 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday, was unavailable for comment, but her campaign spokesman Derek Flowers issued a statement saying she has been and continues to be a local and state leader along with serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard.
“With that comes wearing many hats and Joni holds her duties to each constituency in the highest regard,” Flowers said. “In recent weeks, Joni has continued to fulfill obligations to the Iowa Senate, the Iowa National Guard, and her family while she runs an aggressive campaign for US Senate.” [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 3/5/14]
Flowers reiterated this message to the Des Moines Register on March 9:
“She is doing a good job of serving her constituents back home, of serving in the Iowa National Guard, and she is running an aggressive campaign to beat Bruce Braley in the fall,” Flowers said. [Des Moines Register, 3/9/14]
But as the Gazette reported on Monday, it wasn’t until March 10 that Ernst first missed state Senate votes due to Guard service.
According to the Iowa National Guard, Ernst was on orders for training or other duty on March 10-14, on a commanders call on March 28, and had weekend drills on January 11-12, February 8-9, and March 1-2.
Only two of those days — March 10-11 — overlapped with days the Iowa Senate held votes, accounting for 12 or about 10 percent of the 117 missed votes. [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 4/14/14]
Why would the campaign use Ernst’s National Guard service as an excuse when she didn’t report for duty until a week later? Perhaps because they did not want to mention the real reason she was missing votes—an explanation that to this day, they still owe to Iowans.
While we wait for answers from Ernst, the IDP is asking Iowans to tell Joni Ernst to do the job taxpayers are paying her to do by signing this petition.
# # #