Branstad Backs Up His Comments: ‘I’m going to stand up and defend the people of Iowa’

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DES MOINES Iowa – Gov. Terry Branstad isn't backing down from the statements he made Tuesday about presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz despite Congressman Steve King telling him to do so.

Branstad said Tuesday that he will not endorse a Republican candidate before the Feb. 1 caucuses, but he did say he wants Cruz defeated.

"I think it would be very damaging to our state," he said of a Cruz victory on caucus night.

King criticized the governor Wednesday, saying it was out of character for Branstad to make “such a bold statement.”

“I wish he’d been listening to someone other than his son when he was getting his information on Ted Cruz’s position Cruz's and policy,” King said.

On Thursday, Branstad told Channel 13 that he stands by his statements about Cruz and he has the facts to back up his stance.

“Renewable energy is really important to our state, and Mr. Cruz introduced legislation in 2013 to eliminate the renewable fuels standard and he opposes the extension of the property tax credit for wind energy,” Branstad said.

The governor said the RFS means more jobs for Iowans and income to farmers. And while he encourages every Iowan to vote and caucus, he said Iowans need to know the importance of renewable energy.

“I think they need to vote for someone that’s going to support Iowa being the leader. We are the leader in ethanol, we’re the leader in biodiesel, we’re the leader in wind-energy and we’re also growing in solar. I’m excited about that. I know there are a lot of jobs related to it. It brings income to local governments. It’s critically important to farmers; it’s another source of income to them. That’s why as governor, I feel the need to speak out. Nobody has been a stronger supporter of renewable fuels than I have.”

The governor said his only goal in speaking out about Cruz is to support renewable energy jobs in Iowa, not to specifically affect Cruz’s campaign.

Watch Channel 13 News at 4,5, and 6 for Stephanie Moore's interview with Gov. Terry Branstad.