David Yates Nov. 4, 2014, 10:44pm

WATERLOO, Iowa (Legal Newsline) – Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst will be the first woman to represent Iowa in the U.S. Senate, defeating her Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, in the Tuesday election.

The polls showed the candidates neck-and-neck in the months leading up to Election Day. At 10:20 p.m. central time, Fox News called the race in favor of Ernst.

With 41.16 percent of precincts reporting, Ernst had gathered 331,100 votes for 49.76 percent. Braley had 308,839 votes for 46.42 percent.

Both candidates dealt with controversy this year, putting them front and center in the media spotlight.

Before she even earned the GOP nomination, Ernst created a media stir with her 30-second spots. Her first TV ad, released in May, featured her shooting a gun.  

Braley, on the other hand, grabbed the attention of the media for his remark concerning Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley being a “farmer.”

In January, Braley, a plaintiff’s lawyer by trade and former head of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, told a group of trial lawyers at a Corpus Christi, Texas, fundraiser he needed their “help” to stop Grassley – an Iowa farmer prior to launching his extensive career in Congress – from becoming the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Braley held the financial edge throughout the race, raking in around $10 million in donations, 12 percent of which was supplied by attorneys, by the end of September.

Ernst netted more than $8.7 million in donations by the end of the third quarter. 

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com

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