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. For that reason I called a special meeting to update the State Central Committee, which then voted unanimously this morning to cancel the event. 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,” reads a statement from Chairman Jeff Kaufmann.
The move comes after at least four presidential candidates had said they wouldn’t be participating in the Aug. 8 event.
“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. Iowa is First in the Nation because of our strong grassroots tradition and because we believe in a process that gives equal chance to all candidates. We also believe in hosting a process that puts our candidates in the best position possible to win the White House in 2016,” reads the statement.
The poll has been described as a cross between a political convention and a county fair, where Iowa voters have a chance to mingle, eat barbecue and have a little fun. The party divides the venue into sections and auctions each to the candidates, who can then set up booths to present their case to the voters. The larger areas and those closest to the entrance often fetch the highest price. In 2011 bidding started at $15,000 and ranged to as high as $31,000 (bid by Ron Paul).
Mitt Romney won the straw poll in 2007 and Rep. Michele Bachmann won in 2011, neither candidate won the Iowa caucuses or the GOP nominations those years.
Now if they could only move the Iowa caucuses to the week after super Tuesday (or later) the state would get only the attention its six electoral college votes warrant.