It’s Alive! Iowa GOP Votes to Continue Straw Poll
January 10, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa — Republicans in Iowa have decided to carry on with their presidential straw poll, a political tradition that detractors decry as a sideshow.
Despite criticism from some prominent Republicans, the Republican Party of Iowa’s central committee unanimously voted Saturday to keep the event going.
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Committee members said the poll energizes the party base and serves as an important early test of campaign strength. The event will be held in August.
First conducted in 1979, the Iowa straw poll has grown from a county GOP fundraiser stop to a large event on the Iowa State University campus, where candidates spend heavily to entertain supporters.

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Iowa Guv Says It’s Time to Kill the Straw Poll
November 21, 2012

The Ames Straw Poll, a presidential election tradition, has passed its prime, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad told The Wall Street Journal.
“I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness,” Branstad told the Journal for its Tuesday story. “It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but I think its days are over.”
The event last year precipitated the end of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s campaign and briefly gave Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) some momentum. Its history indicates that there’s little correlation between who wins the straw poll and who eventually secures the nomination: The Journal noted that in 33 years, the winner of the straw poll has gone on to win the Iowa caucuses and then the party’s nomination only twice: in 1995, with Sen. Bob Dole; and 1999, with President George W. Bush.
“You saw what happened the last time,” Branstad said in the story. “I don’t think candidates will spend the time or money to participate in a straw poll if they don’t see any real benefit coming out of it.”
The Iowa GOP chairman swung back.
“Gov. Branstad is wrong, and this is not a decision he will make, anyway,” said A.J. Spiker in the Journal. “It is a decision the party and the candidates will make.”

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Newt Disses Missouri ‘Beauty Contest’ Primary, Says He Never Intended to Enter it
December 5, 2011

GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich has given another reason for not filing for the non-binding Missouri presidential primary on February 7,2012.
‘The Fix’, reports at a news conference Monday in New York, Gingrich said skipping the Missouri ‘beauty contest’ was a conscious decision not an oversight”.
“We have never participated in beauty contests” said Gingrich according to The Fix.
Gingrich noted he did not take part in the Iowa Straw Poll last summer nor the P5. A presidential straw poll sponsored by Florida Republicans.
Both those events were before Gingrich’s campaign went from polling near the bottom of the GOP to the top.
When filing closed last month in Missouri, the Gingrich campaign said the Missouri filing fee of $1,000 was too high (see previous posts)
Gingrich is the only major, surviving Republican Presidential candidiate to not file in Missouri.
The Missouri GOP national convention delegate selection process starts in March with a St. Patrick’s Day County caucus on March 17. 2012.

Video: Romney: Tells Hecklers Corporations Are People,
August 12, 2011

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney told an Iowa crowd that “corporations are people”, during a campaign stop Thursday.

Romney’s stop by the popular Des Moines Register ‘Soapbox’ exhibit at the Iowa State Fair drew a fair crowd, including some hecklers.

Here is the exchange that was posted on Youtube. It’s a little more than 2 minutes long, so you can get the entire context of the event:

Staw Poll Countdown T-minus 4 Days: For Pawlenty, its ‘All In’ for Ames
August 10, 2011

He’s spent a seven-figure sum and the bulk of his time on the campaign trail courting the Iowa grassroots. Operatives call his expansive Iowa organization the best in the state.

As the only mainstream Republican candidate actively competing in the Ames straw poll—thanks to Mitt Romney’s decision to skip the event and Rick Perry’s presidential race slow-walk—Tim Pawlenty may never have a better opportunity to break through in the 2012 campaign than this Saturday.

With so much firepower behind Pawlenty and so few candidates who have a plausible chance at coming out ahead, Hawkeye State politicos say Ames will be a potentially campaign-changing test of the Minnesotan’s strength.

But if Pawlenty fails to deliver, it will be a grim – and possibly fatal – omen for his underfunded presidential bid.

“The problem Tim Pawlenty has is, he’s doing everything right,” said Iowa strategist Steve Grubbs, a former Iowa GOP chairman and state legislator. “He has the right team in place. He’s spending the money. He’s got a good grassroots strategy and they’re investing the time in the state. So it’s going to be difficult to say they didn’t make a strong effort.”

Added Grubbs: “There’s no reason Pawlenty shouldn’t win this thing. It’s always been won by a sort of establishment conservative.”

Pawlenty and his supporters have worked hard to keep expectations low for the event, with the candidate clinging to the role of underdog despite all the evidence that he has a clear shot at victory. Pawlenty has consistently claimed he simply needs to “show progress” in the event, despite his heavy investment of time and money in the state.

“We’ve been careful not to put a number on what place we’ve been in, only that we think it’s important to show movement from the back of the pack to the front of the pack,” said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. “It’s very hard to predict how the other candidates will do and how the results will be interpreted. And so I would just caution people not to obsess too much over the pre-analysis.”