Iowa GOP cancels straw poll

12 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Iowa GOP cancels straw poll.

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. 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.The move was made as candidates in one of the largest presidential fields in modern Republican history showed diminishing interest in participating in the August event. “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,” Jeff Kaufmann, the Republican Party chairman in Iowa, said in a statement emailed shortly after a special meeting of the party’s state central committee. “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,” said Mr.The Iowa straw poll, a political jamboree that has been fixture in the Republican presidential nominating process for nearly four decades but has come under criticism in recent years, was officially cancelled Friday by state GOP leaders in a unanimous vote.

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. But the summertime event has faced an existential crisis since the last time it was held, as Republican strategists and officials have questioned its utility in predicting how hopefuls will fare in Iowa and whether it’s a worthwhile investment of candidate time and money. For GOP activists in Iowa, the summertime political festival was a beloved tradition that dated to 1979, but its fate rested in the hands of the presidential campaigns, who drove attendance by spending resources to haul in their supporters.

Though historically, it’s been a test of candidates’ organizing power and retail politicking, it was blamed in 2012 for contributing to the lengthy, circus-like atmosphere of the Republican primary, in part by propping up candidates who might have faded earlier but for the event. 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. Back in January, the Iowa GOP board unanimously to proceed with the event, a daylong political festival meant to showcase the party’s presidential candidates and to bring Iowa Republicans together for food, music and field-winnowing.

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. Terry Branstad (R) has been one the poll’s most prominent critics, once saying the gathering had “outlived its usefulness.” The emerging crop of White House hopefuls also showed little interest in the event.

The decision comes as the party fundraiser appeared to be on the verge of falling flat because so many presidential contenders were steering clear of it.

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