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Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst was bumped from prime-time at the RNC Monday night as other speeches ran long

The state's governor and senior senator complained about it at a lunch event Tuesday

Cleveland CNN  — 

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst was bumped out of prime-time at the Republican National Committee on Monday night – and her fellow Hawkeyes aren’t happy about it.

Two of the state’s senior Republicans complained that earlier speakers – specifically retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn – should have wrapped up in time to allow Ernst to start her highly anticipated speech before 11 p.m. ET. Instead, the convention hall was emptying out and Ernst was shown speaking before thousands of empty seats.

“Obviously, I was upset that Joni didn’t get to be in prime-time. She gave a great speech. We are so proud of her and she’s doing a great job,” Gov. Terry Branstad told reporters Tuesday at an Iowa delegation luncheon at the Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland.

Then, he took a shot at Flynn, saying: “But I thought the person who was before her went on way too long and repeated himself, and that didn’t have to happen in my mind. But it is what it is.”

Meliana Trump, wife of presumptive nominee Donald Trump, was bumped up in front of Flynn in order to ensure she spoke in the 10 p.m. hour for the network broadcasts as well.

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It was a politically fraught moment for Ernst, who was initially slated to appear in prime-time and is seen as a rising star within the GOP. She took the risk of embracing Trump more than many other Republicans – yet lost out on the benefits of what was supposed to be the prime speaking slot she’d earned by doing so.

Sen. Chuck Grassley also lauded Ernst’s speech, while complaining that Flynn bumped her out of prime-time.

“Why was she pushed beyond that? Because somebody else spoke too long. That’s not her fault,” Grassley told reporters.

For her part, Ernst – who spoke at breakfasts for the New Hampshire and Pennsylvania delegations – wouldn’t mention her speaking slot on Tuesday morning. She told the New Hampshire delegation she was “proud to be on the stage last night.”