Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has said she’s missed votes because of National Guard duty, but a review by The Cedar Rapids Gazette of Iowa suggests that Ernst’s National Guard duties actually haven’t kept her from attending that many votes in the Iowa Senate.
Ernst, according to the Gazette, has repeatedly cited National Guard duty to defend herself against criticism that she’s been missing too many votes in the state Senate. But a report by the Gazette on Monday said there’s actually “very little overlap between Iowa Senate votes and her National Guard service.”
“I don’t know what the actual count is,” Ernst said in an interview with WHO-TV. “I know I have missed five days for other campaign reasons, but what they’ve included in those votes is time I’ve been serving on orders with Iowa Army National Guard.”
The Gazette, through a Freedom of Information and Iowa open open records request of the Iowa Senate Journal, found that 12 of the 117 votes Ernst missed were on days when she was on active duty.
When Ernst was pressed on whether she had missed some votes because of campaigning, Ernst said she had.
“Yes they were,” Ernst said of the missed votes because of her Senate campaign. “They were for other scheduled activities, and not knowing what the debate calendar is before they come up, it is hard to schedule if you are out of town.”
“So yes, a few of those votes were due to other activities,” Ernst added.
Back in late March, in an interview with radio host Laura Ingraham, Ernst was asked why she had been missing “so many votes.”
“Well first, National Guard Services,” Ernst said. “I have had some days on duty that I’ve had to be with the National Guard. And those are times that I’ve been on orders…so that is one thing you won’t hear them talking about, those that are attacking my voting record.”
In that interview Ernst said she had probably missed “maybe five days due to other scheduled activities out there.”
Ernst recently reached national attention for releasing a new ad in which she touts her experience castrating pigs.
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This post was updated.