HOT SEAT: A Claim, An Endorsement & A Tour

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State Senator Joni Ernst now considers herself "the front-runner" in the race for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat.

Ernst made the comments to the Washington Post.

The article said Ernst's campaign ad, where she featured pigs, talked about castration and promised to "make them squeal" when she gets to Washington, changed the race that had featured a relatively unknown group of Republican candidates, who are trying to beat Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley in the battle to replace the retiring long-time Senator Tom Harkin.

Meanwhile, one of Ernst's challengers, West Des Moines businessman Mark Jacobs's campaign announced he will begin a nine day, 40 town "Real Solutions" tour this weekend. The campaign said it will release full details later but said the tour will begin in Clear Lake.

Candidate Sam Clovis, a Sioux City radio talk show host and college professor, announced he had picked up the endorsement of nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Iowa-based, Steve Deace and his wife.

Matt Whitaker, a former U.S. Attorney travels the state later this month with Texas Governor Rick Perry, the 2012 presidential candidate.

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