Joni Ernst has been elected as the next U.S. Senator from Iowa. The Republican, a state Senator from Red Oak, defeated Democrat U.S. Representative Bruce Braley in one of the nation’s closest watched elections.

Ernst will fill the seat currently occupied by Senator Tom Harkin. Harkin, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1985, announced in January 2013 that he would retire at the end of his term in January 2015.

Recent polls had shown Ernst pulling ahead, a poll released by the Des Moines Register this weekend showed her with a seven point lead. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed the race was tied at 47%.

Ernst will be sworn in to the Senate in January.


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