Ding, dong, the Iowa Straw Poll is now dead

12 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Iowa GOP cancels 2015 Straw Poll amid waning interest from candidates.

Iowa’s Republican Party voted Friday to kill the Iowa Straw Poll, the traditional stop on the presidential campaign trail that was in jeopardy after a number of candidates said they would skip it this year. “I’ve said since December that we would only hold a straw poll if the candidates wanted one, and this year that is just not the case,” state GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann said after the Iowa central committee unanimously voted to cancel August’s gathering. “This step, while extremely distasteful for those of us who love the straw poll, is necessary to strengthen our first in the nation status and ensure our future nominee has the best chance possible to take back the White House in 2016,” Kaufmann said.Dating back to 1979, the state party fundraiser included an informal poll of Iowa voters that in theory was to help narrow the field before the first-in-the-nation caucuses. But the poll had little predictive value and was a clear pay-for-vote scheme, with candidates paying for space at the all-day event and for tickets and buses for their would-be supporters.

Kaufmann. “Many candidates are still concerned about participating in an event that carries significant media-driven expectations well ahead of our first-in-the-nation caucuses,” Mr. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican leaders in Iowa have agreed to end the state’s straw poll because of waning interest from presidential hopefuls and questions about its relevancy. While the event attracts significant media coverage, it requires a considerable amount of money to rent a tent at the event and to organize and transport supporters to the poll. Kaufmann said Friday: “Canceling the event is not a decision anyone on the State Central Committee took lightly, and I commend them for the thorough, thoughtful job they’ve done. This year, Jeb Bush has said he will skip it, and others are more focused on husbanding resources to lift their standings in national polls to make the cut for the early debates.

The death of the poll is a victory for the state’s governor, Terry Branstad, who has argued it is diminishing the state’s political standing because it has little impact on the caucuses results. “If there ever was a year that we needed an event to winnow the field it was this cycle,” said Matt Strawn, a former party chairman. “Campaigns should not view this as an excuse not to continue organizing throughout the summer.

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