# IA-Sen 2026

Ernst to seek re-election, but open to role in Trump administration

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa journalist. He is the co-founder of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation and a member of the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative, where this article first appeared on The Iowa Mercury newsletter. His family operated the Carroll Times Herald for 93 years in Carroll, Iowa where Burns resides.

Two-term U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, a Red Oak Republican and the first female combat veteran to serve in the Senate, said on May 29 that she will seek a third term in 2026.

In an interview in Carroll with Iowa Mercury and the Carroll Times Herald following an economic-development event, Ernst, 53, left the door open to a possible cabinet position in a second Trump administration if the former president prevails in November. Trump vetted Ernst in the 2016 cycle as a possible vice presidential running mate.

Asked directly if she planned to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2026, and to rate her likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10 for a third-term bid (with 10 being most likely) Ernst said, “That is my intent. So I would say, yes, 10 very likely. I love representing the people of Iowa, and it really has been a very fulfilling position for me to be able to fight for rural America. Of course, important to me as well are our veterans and Armed Services.”

Ernst said she would wait until after the 2024 election cycle to get a “little closer” to 2026 before announcing.

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