Thursday, January 14, 2016

Backer says ethanol's anti-Cruz campaign could backfire; newspaper poll shows lead dwindling

Attacks by ethanol industry lobbyists against Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz could come back to haunt the industry if Cruz wins the Iowa caucuses, said Iowa Rep. Steve King, Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse. King, a Cruz supporter, told Brasher, “If they fall short, then ethanol takes a huge hit politically. We'll never see another candidate come to Iowa believing that ethanol is an important component if you're going to be a candidate for president.”

A poll released Wednesday by The Des Moines Register suggests that attacks against Cruz are working, with 25 percent of likely voters supporting Cruz, down from 31 percent one month ago, Brasher writes. Donald Trump is favored by 21 percent of voters and Marco Rubio 12 percent. Three other polls have Trump leading. The caucuses will be on Feb. 1.

"The ethanol industry has long relied on the Iowa caucuses to procure pledges of support for biofuels from presidential candidates," Brasher writes. "Cruz is ideologically opposed to government mandates and subsidies and is sponsoring legislation that would phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard. He and King have emphasized, however, that he is separately proposing to take regulatory actions that could encourage the use of ethanol blends over 10 percent. Cruz also has pledged that he would investigate allegations that the oil industry is illegally discouraging service stations from selling higher ethanol blends."

America's Renewable Future "issued a statement suggesting Cruz had shifted under pressure from farmers and now supported maintaining the RFS through 2022," Brasher writes. "The group noted that he had once called for repealing the RFS. Cruz and aides insist that he has been consistent on the issue since his phaseout plan would extend the RFS through 2022, although at reduced levels. Cruz accused the ethanol industry of trying to “to snooker the people of Iowa and convince the people of Iowa that a government mandate is the only way for ethanol to survive.” (Read more)

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