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Ethanol Emerging as Major Issue in 2016 Campaign

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Ethanol Emerging as Major Issue in 2016 Campaign

Tom Buis
Tom Buis

The presidential primary season has officially begun with the Iowa Caucus held Monday night.  Not surprisingly, ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard were major issues in Iowa. Despite the fact that anti-ethanol Ted Cruz won the caucus, ethanol supporters say ethanol was and will remain a major issue in the campaign. Tom Buis, with Growth Energy, said that 80% of voters in Iowa cast ballots for candidates who supported ethanol and the RFS, “That is even a greater amount of pro-RFS votes than were cast in the 2012 Republican caucus.”

Monty Shaw, with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said several of the candidates to came to Iowa against ethanol, learned a lot, and some even changed their positions during the campaign, “Nine of the 11 Republican candidates were pro-RFS; and, on the Democratic side, we started out with one who was pro-RFS and all three ended up being pro-RFS by the end.” This meant that 12 of the 14 candidates were pro-RFS. “That is a huge win for ethanol,” said Shaw.

But, will renewable energy continue to be an issue in other states at election day  this November?  Democratic political strategist Paul Tewes said support for the RFS will be an issue that gets votes in farm states this fall, “Renewable energy is a unique issue for rural America. If we end up with a Democrat who is pro-ethanol and a republican that is against it, that means the Democrats would take Iowa, Wisconsin, and even perhaps win states like Indiana.”

Buis said he was encouraged that Senator Cruz moved closer to supporting ethanol during the Iowa campaign.