|Cruz speaks from hay bale at Iowa State Fair.|
(Associated Press photo by Paul Sancya)
Gabriel reports that former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, "emailed subscribers to a personal list with an attack on Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa, a popular Republican governor, and his son, Eric Branstad," who runs a super PAC that is airing TV and radio ads attacking Cruz for his stand against the Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into gasoline.
"Every Republican caucus winner in the last quarter-century has been a strong ethanol supporter," Gabriel notes in the Times' "First Draft" blog. "But Mr. Cruz’s polling lead suggests the industry’s popular and political clout may be ebbing. Mr. Cruz has never tried to play down his call to end the fuel standard, unlike some rivals. Still, it may not be to his advantage to have supporters like Mr. Cuccinelli waving a red cape at an iconic Iowa industry."
"Iowa produced just over 4 billion gallons of ethanol in 2015, a record for the country’s largest producer of the renewable fuel," Chris Doering reports for The Des Moines Register. "The Iowa Renewable Fuel Association said the increase at the state’s 43 ethanol plants this year was the result of efficiency gains at existing facilities and production from cellulosic feedstocks such as corn stover. Iowa accounts for 27 percent of U.S. ethanol output."