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June 04, 2014 AT 7:13 AM
A candidate who highlighted her ability to shoot guns and castrate hogs to overcome disinterest in a sleepy primary election, dominated the field to become the first female GOP U.S. Senate nominee in Iowa history. Joni Ernst won with 56% of the vote, blowing past the 35% necessary to claim victory over her four competitors, including retired businessman Mark Jacobs. During her victory speech, Ernst stressed the values she learned growing up on a farm in southwest Iowa. "It really is a long way from Red Oak to Washington, but with your help, that journey is just beginning, and it is beginning tonight."