Hello, 2016? Marco Rubio and Rick Perry Get Busy in Iowa

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: May 7, 2014 3:55 AM
Marco Rubio and Rick Perry

Marco Rubio and Rick Perry

The battle for an open U.S. Senate seat in Iowa is becoming an early test of strength for the possible Republican candidates running for the presidency in 2016.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is wading into Iowa, the state that traditionally holds the first caucus to kick off the long procession of contests which determine the nominee. Rubio announced on Monday his Reclaim America PAC is backing Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

“I’m proud to announce that Joni Ernst from Iowa is my Reclaim America PAC’s newest endorsement of 2014,” Rubio emailed supporters on Monday. “Joni is running for United States Senate in Iowa and is the type of tough, no-nonsense conservative that we need in Washington. A mother of three and grandmother of six, Joni has spent 21 years serving our country in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Iowa Army National Guard. Elected to the Iowa State Senate in 2011, Joni has fought hard to cut the ‘pork’ in Iowa, which she will tell you is just second nature, having been raised on a farm and handled pigs most of her life.

“If elected to the U.S. Senate, Joni will continue to fight with me to help restore and protect the American dream for future generations,” Rubio continued. “This is the first time Reclaim America has ever endorsed a candidate in a competitive primary, but I believe this is a very unique occasion. Although there are other good candidates running, it is clear that Joni is not only the kind of small-government conservative we need in Washington, she’s exactly the kind of no-nonsense candidate we need to turn a blue state red and pick up a critical Senate seat.

“On top of being a true conservative that will fight for real change every day, Joni is aiming to make history,” Rubio added. “If elected, Joni will not only be the first female senator from the state of Iowa, but also the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate.”

Ernst has also gotten the backing of prominent conservatives across the nation, including former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Michael Reagan.

But another Republican running for the Senate in Iowa also unveiled the endorsement of a possible presidential candidate. On Friday, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker announced that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is behind his Senate bid. Whitaker announced earlier this week that Perry would join him on a tour of the Hawkeye State before the June 3 primary.

“I don't need to tell you that we are at a critical juncture in our nation's history,” Perry said on Friday. “If the Republicans win back the Senate in 2014, we can repeal Obamacare, reduce the debt and put our economy back on track. Electing a Republican from Iowa is crucial for the GOP to win back the Senate. That is why I am throwing my full support behind Matt Whitaker, a constitutional conservative who can win.”

Perry praised Whitaker’s background in the private sector and pointed toward Texas’ economic climate, which the Lone Star State’s governor has highlighted across the country in recent months.

“Matt is a small-businesses owner who has created jobs in Iowa. This means he knows firsthand what it takes to grow the economy,” Perry said. “We've seen in both Texas and Iowa that free markets, sensible regulations and fiscal responsibility create jobs. These are the policies Matt will fight for if elected to serve in the United States Senate. This country needs leaders with the experience to know what policies work, and the strength and courage to enact them in Washington. This is what Matt brings to the table."

During his ill-starred 2012 presidential bid, Perry stressed social issues and he returned to that theme in his endorsement of Whitaker.

“I know Matt to be a man of deep faith and strong character,” Perry said. “He has been married for 20 years, has three energetic children, and has always lived his values.”

Other Republicans running in the primary are radio talk-show host Clovis, businessman Mark Jacobs and Navy veteran Scott Schaben. Whoever wins will take on U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, as Democrats look to keep control of the seat.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (1)

9:17PM MAY 7TH 2014
Yawn! Considering the shape government is in, it's hard to get excited about these election contests. They all seem like a re-hash of the same old, same old. I say we put candidate's names on a wheel, and spin it, to select the "winner". (It's called "Wheel of Elections", or "rulette".)

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.