Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Rural voters helped Cruz take Iowa, despite his opposition to law that supports ethanol

Washington Post graphic (Click on image for larger version)
An aggressive campaign by supporters of ethanol to sway Iowa Republicans from voting for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wasn't enough to keep rural residents from supporting him in the first presidential caucuses Monday night, reports Chris Clayton of DTN The Progressive Farmer. Unofficial results had Cruz winning with 27.7 percent of the votes, beating out businessman Donald Trump (24.3 percent) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (23.1 percent).

Cruz did even better at rural caucus sites, earned 33 percent of their votes, compared to 27 percent for Trump and 17 percent for Rubio, reports The Washington Post. "It was a solid blue-ribbon farm-country showing, given the crowded Republican slate. It also helped Cruz that increased turnout across the state brought even more voters to the rural caucuses," said the stiry by Ted Mellnik, Dan Keating, Kevin Schaul, Denise Lu and Samuel Granados.

A record number of voters went to the caucuses, with Cruz garnering 51,649 votes, 6,233 more than Trump. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton led Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent of delegates. "Her 3-point lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in rural was just enough to give the former secretary of state a slim statewide advantage," Tim Marema and Bill Bishop report for the Daily Yonder.

Cruz, the only Republican candidate who has opposed the Renewable Fuels Standard that supports ethanol production, drew opposition from Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and a super PAC headed by Branstad's son, but it wasn't enough to keep rural voters from supporting the candidate who opposes many federal spending programs and subsidies. Cruz visited all 99 Iowa counties, Clayton notes.

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