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042419ho-joni-ernst

Sen. Joni Ernst speaks during a tariff town hall Wednesday at Kinze Manufacturing's Innovation Center in Williamsburg.

CEDAR RAPIDS — U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst had another strong fundraising quarter, taking in more than $1 million during the April through June reporting period.

Joni for Iowa, the first-term Republican’s campaign organization, raised $1.1 million in the second quarter to give her nearly $3.4 million cash on hand more than a year before the 2020 election.

Although her fundraising for the second quarter was less than in the first, Ernst’s campaign manager said it’s clear she has “strong grass roots enthusiasm behind her campaign.

“Support continues to build, and that’s because at a time of extreme partisanship, Iowans know that Joni pushes past the noise to fight for Iowans and advance their voices in Washington,” Sam Pritchard said.

Support came from Iowans in all 99 counties, and more than 40% of donations were from first-time donors, Pritchard said.

At $3.4 million, Ernst has the largest cash on hand total of any Iowa candidate in recent history at this point in cycle, her campaign said.

That follows on first-quarter fundraising of nearly $1.7 million, which the campaign said was the largest January-through-March reporting period fundraising total in an off-year of an Iowa election cycle.

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The first quarter fundraising included almost $1.13 million coming from contributions that were nearly evenly split between individual contributions and contributions from other committees.

Transfers from authorized committees accounted for another $563,279, according to the Federal Election Commission records. The campaign spent $237,077 in the January through March period.

Ernst finished the first quarter with more than $2.8 million cash on hand.

She will face the winner of what’s currently a three-way race for the Democratic nomination. Des Moines commercial real estate business president Theresa Greenfield, Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro, and Kimberly Clark, an Indianola lawyer, are campaigning for the nomination.

Others are said to be considering the race.

Political handicappers expect Ernst to hold the seat. The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections call her re-election “likely.”

In 2014, Ernst and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley each spent about $12 million on the open seat race. Total spending exceeded $40 million.

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