DAVENPORT | An environmental group said Monday it is launching the second ad of its campaign against Republican Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, saying she is out of step with Iowans because she wants to eliminate the federal Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The ad is going to begin running this week and into next in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets. It's part of a $457,000 ad buy placed late last month when its first ad debuted.

The league and two other groups, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club, have said they are going to spend $1 million in Iowa's open Senate race.

"Joni Ernst wants to slam shut the doors of EPA and Department of Education and throw away the keys. Her agenda benefits her special interest allies, not Iowa families," said Daniel Weiss, senior vice president of campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters.

The ad says that federal Pell grants would be threatened by closing the education department and shuttering the EPA would let "polluters off the hook." The league says a third of the education department's spending is on Pell Grants.

In a Republican primary debate in April, Ernst, a state senator from Red Oak, said that closing the education department and the EPA would save money and that states and local governments were better positioned to handle those duties.

Gretchen Hamel, an Ernst spokeswoman, responded: "More of the same negative attacks from outside groups supporting Bruce Braley’s Washington policies, over the Iowa way."

Ernst is facing U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in the fall election to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Already, outside interests have poured a significant amount of money into the Senate race.

The Federal Election Commission's website said Monday that nearly $3 million in independent expenditures have been made already in the Iowa Senate race, although some of that was in the GOP primary.

That amount doesn't include other types of campaign-related spending by outside groups in the Iowa race.