Iowa GOP senator on DNC calendar: ‘Middle finger’ to ‘middle America’

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, was "sorely disappointed" at Democrats' vote to strip her state of its first-in-the-nation status in the presidential nominating process, she said Sunday on "Fox News Sunday."

"Democrats have really given middle America the middle finger,” Ernst told host Shannon Bream. Republicans should "absolutely not" follow their lead, she said.

The Democratic National Committee on Friday voted to change its calendar for presidential primaries, after President Joe Biden pitched South Carolina as the first state to hold primary elections, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada. Under the DNC's new calendar, Iowa would be out of the early lineup, taking valuable electoral influence away from the state and changing tradition after decades.

Republicans, on the other hand, voted this year to affirm the existing early state lineup, which starts with Iowa's caucuses and New Hampshire's primary.

"We have seen a number of pushes in the past to change this. I'm glad that Republicans are staying the course," Ernst said.

Both Iowa and New Hampshire are over 90 percent white, according to the U.S. census, stoking complaints by some about their outsize influence in presidential elections. Iowa, whose caucuses have been first on the calendar since the 1970s, suffered additional unfavorable attention in 2020, when a technical meltdown delayed the results of its caucuses.

Elena Schneider contributed to this report.