The Iowa Corn Growers Association has endorsed Republican candidate Jim Nussle’s bid to become Iowa’s next governor. It’s the first time in the group’s history that the Corn Growers’ political action committee has publicly backed a candidate in a gubernatorial race.
Nussle says endorsements signal strengths in a campaign. “But certainly everyone in Iowa makes their own decisions, they vote for the person based on their platform and their level of experience and the results they’ve gotten,” Nussle says. “That’s why I’ve gotten the support of Corn Growers because of the results I’ve gotten over the years for renewable energy in particular.”
Nussle, as a member of congress, has helped maintain the federal tax break for ethanol fuel. Nearly a year ago, Nussle also promised that if he’s elected governor he’ll seek a law that would require every gallon of gasoline sold in Iowa to be an ethanol blend. The Corn Growers did not endorse that, but that didn’t stop them from endorsing Nussle.
“Now it is very fashionable for everybody to have an ethanol proposal and a renewable energy proposal…when you have $3 gas,” Nussle says. “The issue, I think, for Corn Growers and me alike is where have these people been for the last 10 to 15 years when we have been working hard on renewable energy and many people thought it was either a boondoggle for farmers or didn’t recognize the challenge we were under from a national security standpoint.”
Patty Judge, Iowa’s current state Ag Secretary, is the Democratic party’s Lieutenant Governor nominee. Judge says she’s disappointed she and Chet Culver, the Democratic party’s nominee for governor, didn’t get the Corn Growers backing. “I think I’ve had a good working relationship with the Corn Growers over the last eight years, worked very closely with them, and I was very disappointed that they made that kind of decision,” Judge says.
Judge describes Culver’s ideas on renewable energy as “very strong.” Just about a year ago Culver proposed a $100 million “Iowa Power Fund” that would provide financial help to Iowa businesses in the energy industry and provide grants to existing Iowa businesses that employ new, energy-saving technology. At one point in the campaign Culver even proposed luring an auto-maker to convert the soon-to-be-vacant Maytag factory in Newton to an assembly line for flexible fuel vehicles that burn the higher concentration of ethanol.