By Devin Henry - 01/19/16 01:35 PM EST
The governor of ethanol-rich Iowa says voters there should reject Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzTed CruzStephen Hawking: Trump a 'demagogue' Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals Meet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker MORE over his position on the federal renewable fuel mandate.
Speaking with with reporters Tuesday at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, Gov. Terry Branstad (R) said voters should oppose Cruz when they turn out to caucus next month, calling him the “biggest opponent of renewable fuels” in the presidential race.
Cruz "hasn’t supported renewable fuels, and I think it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him,” he added. Asked whether he wanted to see Cruz defeated, Branstad said “yes.”
Wow, the highly respected Governor of Iowa just stated that "Ted Cruz must be defeated." Big shoker! People do not like Ted.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2016
Cruz has come under fire for his position on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates the amount of ethanol refiners mix into their gasoline supply.
The Texas senator says he backs a five-year phase-out of the standard, though in the past he has supported measures to immediately end the RFS.
“I do believe there should be a gradual phase-out because there has been investment-based expectations,” Cruz said earlier this month.
“The lobbyists are trying the best they can to snooker the people of Iowa and convince the people of Iowa that a government mandate is the only way for ethanol to survive. The problem is, the government is blocking ethanol. They are trying to convince you the mandate is the best way to go.”
The mandate has strong support in Iowa, the nation’s leading ethanol producer. Since Congress instituted the RFS, every Iowa caucuswinner on both sides of the aisle has supported the mandate.
Cruz is in a tight race in Iowa with businessman Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump slams 'totally biased' judge in Trump U case Ex-pharma CEO Martin Shkreli: I didn’t endorse Trump Five things Clinton needs to do to win the California primary MORE, who supports the mandate. Both are courting the same demographic of voter in the Hawkeye State, and Trump officials say the mandate could prove a tie-breaker with voters there.