Romney skipping Iowa straw poll

Mitt Romney announced Thursday night that he will not participate in the Ames Straw Poll, or in any other straw polls, “whether it’s in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else.”

“We respect the straw poll process,” said Matt Rhoades, Romney’s campaign manager. “In the last presidential campaign we were both strengthened as an organization and learned some important lessons by participating in them.  This time we will focus our energies and resources on winning primaries and caucuses.”

Romney in 2007 won the Ames straw poll in Iowa, a traditional event that conveys strength and support in the country’s first caucus of the presidential season.

Romney’s campaign released statements from politicos in Florida, Iowa and Michigan in support of his decision.

(Gingrich’s former national campaign co-chair goes to Pawlenty)

“The campaign’s decision to not participate in any straw polls is a strategic decision on their part. Straw polls are an expensive proposition and they have decided to focus their resources on primary day,” said Michigan GOP National Committeeman Saul Anuzis.

But Republican Party of Florida Executive Director Andy Palmer called it “unfortunate” Romney decided to bypass the state’s straw poll.

“With thousands of activists signed up to attend, the event would have been the perfect opportunity to communicate his message directly to Republican voters in the most important swing state in the nation,” he said. “However, we look forward to hosting a great event for the rest of the Republican candidates this September in Orlando.”

(DNC release another video attacking Romney on bailout position)

One campaign responded to the news by trying to use it to its advantage.

“The Ames straw poll is a great gathering of conservatives, and Governor Pawlenty’s solid record will be well received there,” said Iowa Steering Committee Chairman Matt Whitaker. “I look forward to joining thousands of Iowans in casting my vote for Governor Pawlenty in Ames this summer and in the caucuses this winter.”

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  • agkcrbs

    I would like to see Romney in those straw polls; I think he’d do well in all of them; but I’m also somehow gratified to see him being frugal in this expensive contest.

    One gets the sense that Romney has very little interest left in this pig-wrestling that Tea Partiers mistake for the presidential nomination process. This country is facing serious financial issues. Romney has no private social agenda, but a fiscal one to try to divert disaster, while all some are able to comprehend by way of a solution is to threaten to boycott the GOP itself if Romney, the most qualified problem-solver, wins the primary. It’s shameful to see the once broadly attractive Tea Party radicalising itself like this during the primaries. Such behaviour bodes ill for the new power-brokers of that movement, and ill for the country next year.

  • OldNavyChief

    A northeast RINO will not do too well in the midwest anyway.

  • celador2

    Straw polls are a fucus of campoaigning for votes and a central area where voters gather for retail politics. Romney won Ames 2007 but Huckabee was second. This year Bachmann and Pawlenty, neighbors from MN may have an inroad with Ames voters in Iowa straw poll.

    Romney can go only down, he must win Ames 2011 or look as if he has lost ground. He played it safe and bailed but the void leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    When a candidate bypasses a straw poll or debate I am upset and feel slighted.