The Iowa Corn Growers Assocation's political action committee announced its support for 66 Iowa candidates today. Unlike the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, which endorsed 64 Republicans and just three Democrats, the Corn Growers' PAC is supporting 33 candidates from each party.
For the governor's race, the corn growers took the unusual step of endorsing both Governor Chet Culver and his Republican opponent, Terry Branstad. Nearly all of the other endorsed candidates are incumbents: Republican Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Senator Chuck Grassley, and all five U.S. House incumbents: Democrats Bruce Braley, Leonard Boswell and Dave Loebsack, and Republicans Tom Latham and Steve King. Boswell's campaign was quick to hail the endorsement in a press release, with Boswell promising to use his position on the House Agriculture Committee to be a strong voice for farmers and ethanol producers. Boswell's first campaign advertisement this year focused on Republican challenger Brad Zaun's pledge to do "nothing" to help Iowa's biofuels industry.
The Corn Growers' PAC endorsed 17 candidates for Iowa Senate, 10 Democrats and 7 Republicans. In races expected to be competitive, the corn growers are backing Democrats Rich Olive in district 5, Staci Appel in district 37, both candidates in district 9 (incumbent Democrat Bill Heckroth and Republican Bill Dix), and both candidates in district 45 (incumbent Democrat Becky Schmitz and Republican Sandy Greiner). Dix and Greiner have served in the Iowa legislature before.
All 40 Iowa House candidates endorsed by the corn growers are incumbents. Republicans have a slight edge with 22 endorsed candidates, but many of the 18 Democrats on the list hold seats the GOP is targeting: McKinley Bailey (district 9), John Beard (district 16), Andrew Wenthe (district 18), Bob Kressig (district 19), Ray Zirkelbach (district 31), Donovan Olson (district 48), Eric Palmer (district 75), Nathan Reichert (district 80) and Michael Reasoner (district 95). The Corn Growers' PAC did not make an endorsement in any of the open-seat Iowa House races.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association press release containing the full list of endorsed candidates is after the jump.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention that the Iowa Farmers Union gave Culver its "Friend of the Farmer award last week. According to the Marshalltown Times-Republican, "Gregg Heide, vice president of the IFU, said Culver's backing of the Iowa Power Fund, renewable energy and biofuels were the main reasons he was being honored."