Joni Ernst grew up on a farm castrating pigs, and she was very, very good at it. So good, she says, that she plans to take that hands-on experience to Washington as Iowa’s next senator. “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” says the Republican hopeful in a rather bizarre new campaign ad that features a smiling Ernst juxtaposed with B-roll of pigs. “Washington’s full of big spenders,” she says at the end of the video. “Let’s make ‘em squeal.”
Ernst—currently an Iowa state senator and Lt. Col. in the Iowa Army National Guard–is running to replace retiring Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin. Ernst is widely considered to be the establishment choice for the GOP nomination, according to Politico, but is trailing her likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley, by double digits in the latest polling from the Hawkeye State. Her campaign’s $290,000 cash on hand likewise pales in comparison to the $2.6 million that was sitting in Braley’s campaign bank account at the start of this year.