We won’t have the GOP Iowa straw poll to kick around anymore

We won’t have the GOP Iowa straw poll to kick around anymore
Ronald Reagan campaigns in Iowa in 1979. He lost the first Iowa GOP straw poll to George H.W. Bush. (Image: Cedar Rapids Gazette archives)

[Ed. – End of an era.]

The Iowa Straw Poll is dead, leaving a heavier burden on winnowing an oversized GOP presidential field on Iowans who will cast the nation’s first votes in February in the caucuses.

The governing board for the Republican Party of Iowa voted unanimously Friday to cancel the straw poll, a milestone on the path to the White House that had passed the strategic tipping point. It was no longer a political risk for presidential campaigns to walk away from the straw poll, and too many of the 2016 contenders had opted to skip it for it to survive.

“We set the table and they didn’t come to dinner,” Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Des Moines Register and Radio Iowa Friday morning.

There were three reasons the Iowa GOP board decided to not go forward with the Aug. 8 event in Boone, Kaufmann said. There was too little interest from the presidential contenders; the fundraiser likely wouldn’t have made enough money to break even; and there were concerns about jeopardizing Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses — Iowa party officials were getting blowback from national influencers for appearing to be bullying contenders to compete.

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