Video: GOP Senate candidate from Iowa knows how to cut government, hog testicles

Charles Cooke rightly calls it the greatest opening line to a campaign commercial ever. The last line’s cute too, although the temptation to say it while holding up a pair of shears must have been tremendous. That’s the tricky thing about castration humor: How far is too far? Is a sight gag ever acceptable? Having taken the plunge by introducing testicles into the discussion, how do you pull back from total scrotal commitment? These are questions every savvy political ad team must wrestle with.

There’s a method to this madness, too. If you’re trailing a better funded, more widely recognized opponent, your most urgent imperative is to make sure voters know who you are. They know now.

Gender issues aside, she faces something of an uphill climb, starting with winning her party’s nomination. A member of the Iowa state Senate since only 2011, the Red Oak lawmaker is one of six GOP candidates running to replace retiring Democrat Tom Harkin. The victor is expected to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley in the general election.

Endorsed last week by Mitt Romney — whom she supported in both 2008 and 2012 — Ernst has placed second in polls to primary opponent Marc Jacobs, trailing the former Reliant Energy CEO by seven percentage points. (Ernst’s campaign attributes Jacobs’ lead to his greater name identification among voters.)…

Nonetheless, she significantly trails her main GOP competitor for the Senate seat, Jacobs, in fundraising (and both of them are dwarfed by Braley’s haul, which tops $4 million for the current cycle). According to the Federal Electoral Commission, Jacobs had amassed contributions of more than $730,000 at year’s end, while Ernst reported just over $200,000. Ernst’s campaign points out, however, that Jacobs loaned or donated $521,000 of his own money to his coffers, and the candidate herself insists she’s not intimidated by her opponents’ deeper pockets.

My one criticism: She should have done more to highlight her bio. Per the RCP piece quoted above, she’s been in the Army Reserves for more than 20 years, which included a stint in Iraq, and is now a lieutenant colonel in the state National Guard. She’s also a state senator, a motorcycle fan, a lifetime member of the NRA, and a grandmother of six. (Yes, really.) Interesting candidate, and solid enough that Romney felt comfortable rolling the dice on her — but you don’t get much of that here. Maybe there’s no way around it given the time constraints; step one is to get voters’ attention, for instance by mentioning castration, and then once you have it you can proceed to step two, the full autobiographical ad. Keep an eye on her. If she wins, she’ll be the first woman from Iowa elected to Congress. (Yes, really.)