Ernst echoes GOP attack lines in Iowa Senate race

Image: Joni Ernst
State Sen. Joni Ernst waves to supporters at a primary election night rally after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. The 43-year-old Ernst won the nomination over five candidates. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)Charlie Neibergall / AP

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Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst is the latest Republican to admonish her opponent for skipping out on Congressional hearings.

Ernst wrote in an op-ed released Friday that her opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley, “missed 75 percent of Veterans Affairs hearings in Congress.”

Ernst is the latest Republican candidate locked in a tight election to use this tactic. All the candidates employing this method have challengers who sit on military related committees in Congress. As ISIS and national security has become a more prominent issue among voters, especially among the Republican base, the candidates are painting a picture of their Democratic challengers as negligent and unconcerned about protecting Americans.

Republican Thom Tillis in North Carolina has pounded his Democratic opponent, Sen. Kay Hagan, in both television ads and debates for missing a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for a fundraiser in New York.

“While ISIS grew, Obama did nothing. Senator Hagan did cocktails,” the narrator said in a Tillis ad released this week.

Hagan’s team has hit back against Tillis, pointing out that the Speaker of the North Carolina House has also missed days of work to campaign.

In Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner moved on the theme, too. In a video also released this week, it highlight’s Sen. Mark Udall’s statement that ISIS is not an imminent threat to the U.S. and that he missed “all” of the hearings on emerging threats.

“Mark Udall’s wrong … and absent when it counts,” the narrator in the ad says.

- Leigh Ann Caldwell