Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has decided to endorse Donald Trump for the Republican Presidential nomination, and will do so publicly Wednesday. People who claim to know such things say Palin is influential with the Tea Party types, a group that one might think would be in play between Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.
Also Monday, Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad came out against Cruz. He did not endorse Trump or anyone else, and he says he will not. Iowa governors usually stay neutral in the caucuses. But Branstad, who conceded that Cruz is ahead in most polls, said Cruz is the candidate of the oil industry and a leading opponent of renewable fuels (including ethanol, which is made from Iowa grain). Branstad said it would “be a big mistake for Iowa to endorse” Cruz.
Branstad is generally considered a moderate Republican. If he is influential, it might lead some Iowans to support some of the relatively moderate candidates, not necessarily Trump. But if the polls are right, the race in Iowa has been between Cruz and Trump for several weeks, so anything that that hurts Cruz would likely help Trump.
On the other hand, the caucuses are still two weeks off, and — as Democratic Howard Dean demonstrated in 2004 — even a big lead in the polls two weeks out doesn’t guarantee anything.