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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Republicans send letter urging Cruz to halt his hold on Northey

By Erin Murphy, Lee Des Moines Bureau | Feb 21, 2018

DES MOINES — Iowa Republicans in 2016 picked him to be the party’s presidential candidate.

Now Iowa’s state Republican Party leaders are calling on Ted Cruz to stand down from his stonewalling of an Iowan’s nomination to a federal agriculture department post.

The Republican Party of Iowa’s leadership committee on Monday sent to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz a letter asking the Texas Republican to stop blocking the nomination of Iowa AG secretary Bill Northey to a federal AG department post.

Northey has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve in the U.S. AG department, but Cruz has blocked the nomination in the Senate.

Cruz has said he has no objection to Northey, but is blocking his nomination because of federal ethanol regulations that provide a boon to Iowa’s agricultural economy. Cruz says the regulations are harming oil refineries.

Cruz won the 2016 Iowa caucuses; it was one of the few states not won by Trump, the eventual GOP nominee and general election winner. Cruz earned 27 percent of the GOP caucus vote to Trump’s 24 percent.

Now Iowa Republicans --- at least their state leaders --- are expressing their frustration with Cruz.

The letter, which was dated Monday, signed by Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann, and paired with a resolution that was unanimously approved by the 16-member state central committee, asks Cruz to withdraw his hold, praises Northey and cautions Cruz that his actions are upsetting Iowa Republicans, including some who supported him in the caucuses.

“We understand that you have given your justification for this hold and claim that this move is not political. But your action is harmful to Iowans and our agricultural industry at large, and accomplishes nothing other than it allows you to secure a personal political victory in an election year,” the letter reads. “Secretary Northey is incredibly well qualified for this post, and the delay in the nomination has caused Iowans from all over the political spectrum — but particularly your former supporters — to become frustrated with your actions.”

The resolution says Cruz, should he “wish to remain in good standing with Iowa Republicans,” should release his hold on Northey to “end the political points he is attempting to gain in an election year.”

Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Cruz in November wrote to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds that he has placed a hold on Northey’s nomination until he can secure a meeting with the president to discuss the ethanol regulations.

“Our goal in requesting this meeting is simple: to bring together diverse interests in an effort to come together and find a mutually beneficial outcome that will help both Iowa corn growers as well as protect blue-collar, refinery jobs that are at risk in too many states across our great nation,” Cruz wrote in his letter to Reynolds.

Other Iowa Republican leaders have pressed Cruz to end his objection to Northey’s nomination, including his fellow U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Reynolds.

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