Nine potential Republican presidential contenders have told Iowa GOP officials they intend to speak at this year's Lincoln Dinner fundraiser, the Des Moines Register
Confirmed guests at the May 16 event in Des Moines are Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Scott Walker. None of the nine has officially announced a run for president.
The one formally declared candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, did not RSVP for this event. But he will visit the state for a series of events next month. These include a multi-contender forum in late April hosted by the Faith & Freedom Coalition,
a prominent conservative Christian group.
Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee did not book speaking slots at the Lincoln Dinner.
Two of the no-shows are particularly noteworthy, according to the newspaper.
Rubio has only visited Iowa once during this election cycle – to sign copies of his new book.
Paul has generally avoided the "cattle calls" – huge multicandidate events like last month's Iowa Agriculture Summit – but has put together his own schedule for visiting the state and meeting voters.
Christie and Huckabee have attended 11 events each during the current election cycle.
Although the Iowa caucuses are close to 10 months away, Iowa already has yielded one big winner – the Iowa agriculture industry and its favored fuel, ethanol – and a big loser – the American consumers who will pay the bill as a result of the federal biofuel mandate.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed,
Thomas Pyle writes that the federal government's renewable fuel standard "props up the U.S. ethanol industry by forcing refiners to blend ethanol into gasoline." Even though the standard "is an obvious business handout," he adds, White House hopefuls avoid criticizing the standard fearing it will damage their chances in the Iowa caucuses.
At today's consumption levels, "complying with the renewable-fuel standard would require blending gasoline that contains more than 10% ethanol. That is higher than most cars are certified to use, according to AAA, and it would wreck lawn mowers, weed eaters, boats and motorcycles." The only reprieve, according to Pyle, who is president of the American Energy Alliance,
"has been bureaucratic ineptness at the EPA, which has failed to enforce the mandate."
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