Iowa Republicans Shake Up The Famed Straw Poll

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Iowa Straw Poll is moving to a new venue.

The Iowa Straw Poll, a tradition loved but sometimes loathed by Republican presidential candidates, will take place Aug. 8 in Boone, the state party announced on Thursday.In this Aug. 13, 2011, file photo, Republicans enter Hilton Coliseum before casting their ballots in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa.(Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP) Aug. 8 is the date for the carnival-like political gathering, which the state GOP hosts every four years, the summer before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, to raise money for the party and showcase the presidential candidates. Held since 1979 on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, the all-day political jamboree, which is part county fair, part Republican convention, was put up for bid this year. Candidates bus in supporters and pay their entrance fees, assuring that the winner is often the best-organized and best-funded, not the most popular with an honest sample of likely caucus-goers.

Cost was a major issue in selected the Central Iowa Expo. “Iowa’s agricultural background has always captured the national imagination, and we feel the Central Iowa Expo will help us showcase this heritage. In January, Iowa GOP officials voted to keep alive the controversial event despite heaps of criticism, including that it tarnishes the reputation of Iowa’s premier presidential vote, the caucuses, and that it prematurely winnows the field before rank-and-file voters have a chance to participate.

Branstad of Iowa, a Republican, who in 2012 said the straw poll had “outlived its usefulness.’’ Because the Republican National Committee is limiting debates for the 2016 cycle, this year there will be no debate among the candidates on the eve of the straw poll, which could give candidates an excuse not to save the date. And although the event has become easy to skip for the frontrunners — two eventual GOP nominees chose not to participate in the cycle in which they were nominated — it’s a way for lower-tier candidates to snag some attention.

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