Sen. Joni Ernst denies affair allegations

Sen. Joni Ernst

Ex-husband accuses Senator in court documents of infidelity.

Posted: Jan 23, 2019 4:17 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2019 7:18 AM

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Sen. Joni Ernst on Wednesday denied allegations leveled by her ex-husband that she had an affair with a subordinate while she served in the military.

The Iowa Republican answered questions from reporters about that and other allegations at a town hall event on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls, the Des Moines Register reported .

In the court documents, Ernst's ex-husband, Gail Ernst, accused her of having an affair with one of her soldiers while she was deployed as a company commander. She said Wednesday that she cares "about all of my soldiers" that the allegation was not true.

Ernst also accused her ex-husband in divorce documents of having an affair and physically assaulting her during an argument before she was elected to the Senate.

Gail Ernst denied in court documents that he had an affair, but the abuse allegations were not addressed. A working phone number for him could not be found, and his attorney on Tuesday declined to comment.

Joni Ernst said Wednesday at the event that she believed the court documents would be sealed from the public and was caught off guard by news reports on the allegations.

In an emotional interview with the Register, Ernst said she has always been a strong supporter of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She said people will now likely view that work as coming from not just a lawmaker but also a survivor of abuse.

"What I want to remind everybody is that I'm still the same person I was a week ago," she said, her voice breaking as she sought to hold back tears. "The only difference is that you know more about me now than you did a week ago."

Ernst, 48, has indicated she'll run for a second six-year Senate term in 2020.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 921249

Reported Deaths: 9678
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1797812046
Ramsey744701052
Dakota68081589
Anoka64523585
Washington40846364
Stearns33805283
St. Louis29764413
Scott26116187
Wright26105223
Olmsted22502130
Sherburne19117128
Carver1677569
Clay12183107
Blue Earth1154270
Rice11505139
Crow Wing11275124
Chisago999580
Kandiyohi9861108
Otter Tail9860129
Benton9098126
Beltrami819598
Goodhue816899
Douglas7929101
Itasca777299
Mower736349
McLeod718284
Winona711658
Isanti704785
Steele689234
Morrison675380
Becker630474
Polk606187
Freeborn564847
Carlton549875
Mille Lacs535179
Lyon530961
Nobles526954
Nicollet525661
Pine517943
Cass503253
Todd494143
Brown471760
Le Sueur460534
Meeker435459
Martin388244
Wabasha377410
Waseca375933
Dodge364312
Hubbard356049
Roseau318631
Fillmore307415
Wadena304740
Redwood282145
Houston272417
Renville269851
Faribault259435
Sibley254417
Pennington253430
Kanabec251837
Cottonwood231232
Aitkin223751
Chippewa221242
Pope209410
Watonwan200021
Yellow Medicine189223
Rock178229
Koochiching177825
Swift173423
Stevens169311
Jackson161716
Clearwater158721
Marshall154222
Murray152711
Pipestone150529
Lake133624
Lac qui Parle123525
Wilkin121516
Mahnomen106414
Norman10569
Grant101810
Big Stone9555
Lincoln8885
Kittson73623
Red Lake71610
Traverse6076
Unassigned569124
Lake of the Woods5265
Cook3131

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 527597

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk81677809
Linn32838430
Scott27126295
Black Hawk22334382
Woodbury20736263
Johnson20150108
Dubuque18996243
Pottawattamie16215214
Dallas15573115
Story1398059
Warren8637107
Cerro Gordo8141125
Clinton7928115
Webster7419124
Des Moines7153106
Marshall675494
Muscatine6717117
Wapello6546145
Jasper630591
Sioux622477
Lee5977106
Marion567697
Buena Vista503449
Plymouth493388
Henry427155
Benton414760
Jones413564
Bremer403873
Boone397042
Washington395464
Carroll373355
Mahaska372366
Crawford355647
Jackson324047
Dickinson317555
Buchanan312743
Delaware303255
Clay297636
Kossuth293477
Fayette290356
Hardin289253
Tama282878
Page276133
Wright270050
Cedar269527
Winneshiek267744
Hamilton262757
Floyd261049
Clayton252360
Poweshiek242043
Harrison240979
Madison237425
Butler237346
Cass235667
Iowa234336
Jefferson228544
Mills225330
Hancock222840
Winnebago222339
Cherokee217347
Appanoose210157
Lyon209842
Allamakee209456
Calhoun199519
Shelby199542
Union197141
Unassigned18890
Humboldt188231
Franklin188031
Grundy186137
Chickasaw184522
Mitchell184343
Emmet180146
Louisa178653
Sac175626
Guthrie169338
Clarke163629
Montgomery163146
Keokuk152639
Palo Alto152332
Howard150624
Monroe144340
Ida134141
Greene128818
Davis126825
Lucas126127
Monona124940
Worth12309
Pocahontas122125
Adair118239
Osceola105718
Decatur104813
Taylor100914
Fremont98913
Van Buren95922
Wayne86125
Ringgold78429
Audubon77617
Adams5869
Rochester
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 19°
Albert Lea
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 28°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 23°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Tracking cold and snow for next week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events