Joni Ernst exposed: Newly unearthed document shows just how extreme Tea Partier is

GOP Senate candidate's answers to 2012 questionnaire show radical notions about federal power and nullification

Published October 3, 2014 6:15PM (EDT)

Joni Ernst                          (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Joni Ernst (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Joni Ernst is trying to make Iowa's competitive Senate race a referendum on chickens, and it's increasingly apparent why.

The Tea Party Republican appears eager to do all she can to divert attention from the radical views she's espoused over the course of her political career. There's her support for a draconian "personhood" amendment -- which would have imposed a sweeping ban on abortion and some forms of contraception, and which the candidate now describes as merely a "statement of principle." There's her peddling -- reported by Yahoo News -- of the fringe conspiracy theory that the U.N. could forcibly evict Iowa farmers from their property, control which cities citizens live in, and restrict people's travel. There was her statement, at a candidates' forum this January, that President Obama's impeachment should be "on the table." There's her support for nullification -- the theory, promoted by many 19th-century Southerners and 20th-century segregationists, that states can pick and choose which federal laws to follow.

Now, Talking Points Memo's Daniel Strauss has uncovered new evidence of just how extreme Ernst's pro-nullification stance is. In response to a 2012 questionnaire from a libertarian-leaning group, Ernst replied "yes" to the question "Will you support legislation to nullify ObamaCare and authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement the unconstitutional health care scheme known as ObamaCare?"

Ernst has company. Conservative lawmakers in states like Wisconsin and Missouri have also called for the arrest of federal officials implementing the Affordable Care Act in their states.

The new revelations are sure to provide fodder for Iowa Democrats as they warn voters against entrusting a six-year Senate term to an ultraconservative like Ernst, but they appear to have an uphill battle on their hands. The three most recent polls in the state, where Democrat Bruce Braley was once expected to win relatively easily, show Ernst with leads of six, two, and nine points.

Here's the questionnaire, via TPM:

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By Luke Brinker

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