ALTOONA, Iowa -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he still won't endorse a Republican presidential candidate before the Feb. 1 caucuses. But Tuesday, for the first time, Branstad said he wants Texas Senator Ted Cruz defeated.
"Yes," Branstad told Channel 13 News Tuesday morning when asked if he wants Cruz, who is currently leading the Iowa polls, to lose.
Branstad made his comments after addressing a room of alternative energy supporters at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona.
"I think it would be very damaging to our state," Iowa's governor said of a Cruz victory on caucus night.
Branstad's son, Eric, has led a bipartisan group of renewable fuels supporters, who have held news conferences, run radio ads and confronted Cruz at events across the state. Renewable fuels supporters believe Cruz's previous opposition to renewable energy supporters, along with his financial backing from oil interests in his home state Texas, put his at odds with the interests of Iowa's alternative fuel efforts.
"I believe it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him," Branstad concluded.
The comments could show what kind of sway has with caucus goers. Branstad is the state's longest-serving governor and recently set a national record for his tenure in office.
He is serving is sixth term in office.