Cruz Gets Caught In The Branstad-Vander Plaats GOP Civil War

Cruz speaks to the media in September

Ted Cruz has made a lot of enemies in Iowa. Chief among them is the ethanol industry. Now several of Cruz’s important Iowa allies may be exacerbating his problems and opposition by unwittingly dragging him into a long-running internal Iowa Republican civil war.

The conflict is a fight over the future of the Iowa Republican Party, but it may prove decisive in the future of the national party. It may even make Donald Trump the nominee.

Cruz’s newest critic in Iowa is none other than Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who told reporters after a renewable fuels summit in Altoona on Tuesday that he hopes Cruz is defeated in the Iowa Caucus. It’s not often a governor explicitly tells his party to oppose the leading candidate in a primary.

While Cruz’s desire to end the Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate prompted the comments, there’s a lot more to this dynamic between Branstad and Cruz.

“It seems like there’s something beyond ethanol that’s animating the issue for him to so directly go after Cruz,” suggested Jeff Patch, an Iowa Republican operative. “It’s not a big secret that there’s no love loss between Branstad and [Cruz endorser] Vander Plaats, and it seems like it’s a broader proxy war for the direction of the Republican Party in Iowa.”

[Read the full story over at The Daily Beast, where I’m doing some freelancing]


by Pat Rynard
Posted 1/21/16

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