DES MOINES, Iowa--Tuesday night's victory made history, sending Iowa’s first woman to the United States Senate. It was news that didn't go unnoticed by Iowa’s Republican leaders.
“I think it`s important to have humble servants that are willing to listen to the people and work hard and go to all 99 counties, I think that was key and Joni did that,” says Gov. Branstad.
Gov. Branstad said he knew Ernst was the right candidate early on because of the way she interacted with people and the support she saw on the campaign trail.
“All across the state the crowds we were able to attract was just unbelievable. I’ve been through a lot of campaigns and I’ve never seen the level of enthusiasm and interest,” says Gov. Branstad.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds is a longtime friend of Ernst and suggested she run for the open U.S. Senate seat.
“What makes me the most proud is I saw a lady who is a hard worker who is authentic and comfortable with who she is and that resonates with people. She covered the state, she met with Iowans, she was part of us turning the state around,” says Lt. Gov. Reynolds.
Ernst understandably didn't get much sleep after hearing the news Tuesday night but was back at Wednesday morning. Ernst met with her staff for a late breakfast at Drake Diner saying she’s ready to get to work.
“I`m just ready to get started, now is when the really hard work begins,” says Ernst.
Ernst said she's excited and already has goals to work on balancing the budget, reppealing Obamacare and working towards a strong national defense.
“I work very hard, when I think it`s in the best interest of my constituents and the state of Iowa I’ve worked very hard. It doesn't matter if you have an R behind your name or a D if it`s in the best interest of Iowa that`s how I work. I will take that same philosophy to Washington D.C. as well,” says Ernst.
Ernst is also the first female veteran to serve in the Senate.
Thursday and Friday she’ll report to National Guard duty where she’s a Lt. Colonel.
Next week, Ernst is heading to Washington D.C. where she’ll start orientation for her new job.