Iowa GOP votes to kill its presidential straw poll

12 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Iowa Republicans kill presidential straw poll when too few candidates sign up.

Iowa Republicans have canceled their once-vaunted presidential straw poll, bowing to the reality that the decades-old political tradition now only threatened to spotlight the state’s diminished role in the presidential race. 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. Despite a packed field of candidates vying for the GOP nomination, too few planned to take part in this year’s popularity contest, which was to be hosted by the Iowa Republican Party on Aug. 8.

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. This year several top-tier candidates had declared early that they would not participate, concluding that the dated political ritual was not worth the time and money required to win.

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. Republicans are struggling to deal with the largest presidential primary field of any party in American history, and a major event – positioned midway between kickoffs and voting – could helped theoretically winnow the field a bit.

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