Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) defeated Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in one of the nation's highest-profile Senate races Tuesday.
The candidates were vying to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
While Democrats worked to paint Ernst as too extreme politically for the state, Republicans capitalized on comments Braley made that were considered gaffes by political observers.
Ernst's campaign gained momentum after her television ad -- in which she highlighted her background castrating hogs and her promise to cut pork spending in Washington, D.C. -- went viral.
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