Sen. Joni Ernst and husband to divorce

Sen. Joni Ernst and husband to divorce
Joni Ernst takes the oath of office from then Vice-President Biden as her husband, Gail, holds the Bible and looks on. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Joni Ernst is getting divorced.

“Senator Ernst and her husband, Gail, are in the process of divorcing,” according to a statement from her office Monday night. “They remain committed to their children and family, and ask for respect for their privacy during this difficult time.”

Iowa’s first-term Republican senator was elected in 2014.

She and Gail met in 1990 and married a couple of years later. They reside in Red Oak, Iowa.

Both have served in uniform. Joni Ernst, 48, served in the Iowa Army National Guard for more than two decades. That included a 2003 tour overseas as a company commander.

Her unit was responsible for running supply convoys through Kuwait and into southern Iraq.

Her husband rose to command sergeant major as an airborne ranger.

Joni Ernst was the first female veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, and her campaign featured memorable “Make ‘em Squeal” TV spots that garnered her the national spotlight.

That helped land her the assignment of delivering the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address.

More recently, she said she is seeking the position of vice chair of the Senate GOP conference, which will be determined in November.