Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has been labeled by some as the new Iowa GOP “Kingmaker,” a title she firmly rejects, but it’s evidence that she has become a very important and powerful figure in Iowa politics. CNN visited with Ernst over the weekend as she held the first annual “Roast and Ride” event in Des Moines, Iowa.
The event itself was used to raise money for Ernst’s PAC but also to honor our nation’s veterans and give attendees an opportunity to meet and mingle with several of the GOP Presidential candidates. Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and Lindsey Graham were all in attendance and all gave speeches and mingled with the crowds of curious GOP voters.
CNN wanted to meet with Ernst because while she may disavow the ‘kingmaker’ moniker, holding an event like this and getting most of the confirmed GOP candidates to show up seems to indicate that she is more influential than she wants to let on. They spoke with Senator Ernst for several minutes about the event and about the GOP Presidential race, but then they ended the interview with a very interesting question, letting Senator Ernst take a parting shot at Hillary Clinton before she walked away.
CNN: When Hillary Clinton was campaigning for your opponent Bruce Braley in the Senate race, she was very clear and she said, “She said it’s not enough to be a woman.”
Senator Joni Ernst: Hillary, it’s not enough to be a woman, you have to care about women’s issues. Women’s issues here in Iowa are that we have a strong economy; we have jobs that our sons and daughters can go off to some day. We have a great education system. And women want strong national defense. We want to know that our families are going to be safe.
CNN: So You’re throwing her words against you back at her now, aren’t you?
Senator Joni Ernst: I am, I am because I do believe that you have to be a leader with a vision and you have to show Iowans that you want it.
CNN: And not just a woman?
Senator Joni Ernst: And not just a woman.