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Joni Ernst projected to edge out Bruce Braley for Iowa Senate seat

Ernst, a state senator, went head-to-head against U.S. Rep. Braley for a Senate seat vacated by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

By Danielle Haynes

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Yet another Democratic-held Senate seat was won by a Republican on Tuesday as CNN and NBC News projected Joni Ernst to beat Bruce Braley in Iowa.

Ernst, a state senator, went head-to-head against U.S. Rep. Braley for a Senate seat vacated by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

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Harkin announced at the beginning of 2014 he would not run for a sixth Senate term after a combined 40 years in the House and Senate.

"After 40 years, I just feel it's somebody else's turn," he said at the time. "I can't put into words what an honor it is to serve Iowa. And I don't by any means plan to retire completely from public life at the end of this Congress. But I am going to make way for someone new in this Senate seat. I think that is right not just for me, but for Iowa, as well."

Polls last week indicated the race for Harkin's vacant seat was close, with Quinnipiac showing Ernst with a four-point lead and a Loras College poll giving Braley a one-point lead.

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Things pulled closer Monday, with Braley and Ernst in a dead tie according to Quinnipiac.

By the time 76 percent of precincts reported Tuesday, things weren't quite as close, with Ernst earning 51 percent of the vote to Braley's 45 percent, according to CNN.

Prior to taking office in the Iowa Senate in 2011, Ernst was the Montgomery County, Iowa, auditor and served a combined 21 years in the armed forces.

Braley assumed office in the House in 2007, winning an open seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Iowa.

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