Cedar Rapids Gazette: Bring it on. That’s Sen. Joni Ernst’s way of welcoming anyone — Democrat or Republican — who wants to challenge her re-election in 2020. Ernst has quickly raised her profile among freshman senators and recently was elected vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, becoming the first woman to be elected to a Senate GOP leadership position since 2010. Ernst, who was the first Iowa woman elected to Congress, went on during a December news conference to encourage women to run for office. "If you have a passion for serving the people and working on policy, then perhaps public office is for you," she said. "If you have a passion, I say do it." Referring to studies that have shown women need to be asked several times before they run for office, Ernst said "Don’t wait for someone else to say ‘run.’ "