WATCH: Sen. Joni Ernst Goes Viral After Totally Whiffing on a Question About the Price of Soybeans in Iowa Debate

As campaign gaffes go, this one may not register on the Richter scale in New York. But in the Hawkeye State? You’d better believe it’s a biggie.

On Thursday night, at a virtual debate hosted by the Des Moines Register, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) completely bricked a question about the price of a key agricultural export in the state.

“What’s the break-even point for soybeans for an Iowa farmer to produce?” Ron Steele, moderator of the debate, asked Ernst.

The senator completely ducked the question, riffing about trade deals for a full minute. But Steele refused to let Ernst off the hook.

“I don’t think you answered my question,” Steele said. “What’s the break-even price for soybeans in Iowa? You grew up on a farm, you should know this.”

“I think you asked about corn,” Ernst said — trying to escape. “It depends on what the inputs are, but probably about $5.50.”

The only good thing about Ernst’s answer is that it wouldn’t have gotten her bounced from The Price is Right, as she did not go over. She also didn’t come close to the actual number.

“You’re a couple of dollars off here,” Steele informed the senator. “Because I think it’s $10.05.”

Ernst tried to minimize the damage by claiming that her Democratic opponent, Theresa Greenfield, hadn’t answered the question either. Only, Greenfield had, in fact, just nailed the price of corn down to the penny. Ernst then awkwardly tried to get the moderator to move on, claiming she had trouble hearing the question.

The senator’s gaffe promptly went viral. Former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg called it “possibly the most Midwestern moment in the history of televised Senate debates.”

Others criticized the Iowa senator:

Watch above, via the Des Moines Register.

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