Editors Note: Below is a memorandum written by Joni Ernst’s campaign manager, Sam Pritchard. He details how Joni was able to pull off her amazing victory despite the unprecedented effort to defeat her. 

November 4, 2020


FROM: Sam Pritchard
TO: Team Joni Supporters
RE: How Joni Won

From the start of our campaign in 2019, we were clear about what we were up against in this election. We shared with you that New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and liberal coastal elites would do whatever it took financially to buy Iowa’s Senate seat.

As it turns out, liberal coastal elites poured in more than $115 million to benefit their candidate. While we knew we would be outspent, we knew Joni Ernst wouldn’t be outworked.

From community events to voter registration drives to county party functions, our field staff attended over 20 events in every corner of the state, every week. Additionally, we assembled 2,000 Team Joni County Chairs from all 99 counties. All of these folks helped ensure Team Joni was everywhere, all at once.

Additionally, long before COVID-19 hit, we recognized the important need for our digital operation and coalition building to collide. Farmers, veterans, young professionals, women, educators, bikers, small businesses and more joined our coalitions to help spread the word among their friends, families and neighbors about Joni’s fight for Iowa.

When it came to our digital efforts, we made early investments and were able to scale up fundraising sooner than originally thought possible. As a result, we cashed in on the back end with over $6 million raised in the final month of the campaign.

We were also able to dominate on Facebook, the largest and most persuadable social media audience, by focusing our social media content strategy towards what worked for the platform. Utilizing live video, on the ground pictures, and personal content, we were able to consistently outperform our opponent by more than 2:1 on the platform despite being significantly outspent.

When it came to voter contact, Team Joni assisted in the team effort to produce more than 3 million voter contacts to date this cycle. While more than 30,000 Team Joni signs were deployed statewide.

In the last 90 days, not only was Joni accessible through hundreds of print, TV and radio interviews, but we aggressively sent out nearly 200 press releases and op eds. Additionally, dozens of surrogates barnstormed the state for Team Joni.

Moreover, as we’ve said before, Joni is a closer and wins tough races.  And, thanks to you, our grassroots supporters, who crisscrossed the state going “On Duty for Joni” from one corner to the next, Joni surged in the final weeks. It helped give us the momentum and put us in a strong position for victory.

In the final week, Joni did about 40 events across the state, gave more than 60 press interviews and was heard doing interviews on about 30 radio stations in Iowa.

Whether by car, RV, plane, Harley, boat, or even briefly traveling in Corning, IA, on a “deuce and a half” military truck, Joni crisscrossed the state to talk with voters in every corner.

Folks, money can buy a lot of political ads, but it cannot buy the pure Iowa grassroots energy, momentum and enthusiasm that we saw behind Joni Ernst in the closing days.

On behalf of Joni and our entire team, THANK YOU for everything you do. Every call you made, every door you knocked on, every event you shared with a friend. We know this victory for Iowa would not have been possible without you.


Sam Pritchard
Campaign Manager
Joni for Iowa