WEST DES MOINES – Mark Jacobs’ hopes for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race received a boost Thursday with the endorsement of Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The support of the popular ag leader provides the Jacobs campaign with a solid boost from someone who is popular and well-respected throughout the state by Republicans, Democrats and independents.
“Certainly the business of agriculture pays a lot of bills in the state. One of the reasons I’m supporting Mark Jacobs is that he is a businessman that understands business, is a proven business leader that has saved jobs, has made payroll and understands business in a way that our Iowa businesses can be assured that they will have a proven business leader in Washington, D.C. representing them,” Northey said during a morning event at Jacobs’ campaign headquarters.
This is the first time Northey has gotten involved in a statewide Republican primary. He noted that he has made “a few local endorsements” in the past, but never in a race of this magnitude. The secretary of agriculture noted that the U.S. Senate hangs in the balanced based on what happens in this race.
“We have a lot of great people in this race,” Northey said. “Mark is absolutely a great person, I consider a great friend as well. The opportunity to be able to get to know him more, the opportunity to have him serve Iowans, I appreciate a great work ethic. I know all Iowans do. Mark has it.”
Northey’s endorsement could help sway some undecided voters toward Jacobs, especially from Iowa’s large agricultural community.
“I can’t tell you how humbled and deeply grateful I am,” Jacobs said regarding the endorsement. “What a great job this man does for the state of Iowa.”
Another reason Iowa’s secretary of agriculture decided to back Jacobs is due to the candidate’s strong support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The other Republican candidates in the race either oppose, or have offered evolving opinions on the issue.
“It certainly is important, and understanding what that means for Iowa. We’re talking 42 ethanol plants, 12 biodiesel plants in Iowa, an impact outside those plants as well,” said Northey.
Northey’s endorsement is one of the few remaining ones in Iowa that have potential to make any impact on the race. Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds endorsed Joni Ernst. Governor Branstad is remaining publicly neutral. Senator Chuck Grassley has stated he will not get involved in the primary. Congressmen King and Latham appear unlikely to play a role and Secretary of State Matt Schultz is involved in a crowded, competitive primary in the Third District.
It has been a busy week for endorsements in the U.S. Senate race. Along with Northey’s support of Mark Jacobs, Joni Ernst received the backing of the NRA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Sam Clovis’ campaign was buoyed by the stamps of approval from Bob Vander Plaats and 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum. The U.S. Senate primary takes place June 3.
You can view video of the Northey/Jacobs announcement below:
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