Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has said numerous times that he was not going to endorse in the 2016 race for the Republican nomination for president. Branstad stayed neutral in 2012 and had stayed quiet about the 2016 race until now. He has former staff working for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and a former communications director who works for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, but he still hasn’t endorsed. On Tuesday he singled out U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for an anti-endorsement however.
Speaking to a small group of reporters at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona, where several 2016 presidential candidates are slated to speak, Branstad labeled Cruz a “big oil” candidate whose victory would be “very damaging to our state.”
“It would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him,” Branstad said. “And I know he’s ahead in the polls but the only poll that counts is the one they take on caucus night and I think that could change between now and then.”
Asked by a reporter whether he wants to see Cruz defeated, Branstad answered: “Yes.”
Let’s reiterate this – Cruz is the ONLY candidate that Branstad wants to see defeated. This should send a clear message to the conservative grassroots. Congressman Steve King (R-IA) who is respected by the conservative grassroots is backing Cruz. Branstad who is not wants to see Cruz defeated.
Considering how ineffective Branstad endorsements have been at the state level this will probably do the exact opposite.
It also shows how out-of-touch Branstad is with a large segment of his own party.
Disclosure: This writer has endorsed U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for President.