Mike Huckabee To Skip Iowa Straw Poll

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Another Republican presidential candidate plans to skip the Iowa Straw Poll.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — who parlayed a strong finish in the straw poll to win the state’s caucuses in 2008 — announced Thursday he won’t spend the money to compete in the contest this summer that also serves as a Republican Party of Iowa fundraiser.

Huckabee, whose decision to not participate in the straw poll follows Jeb Bush saying he would do the same, tried to smooth his decision over with Iowa Republicans by penning an op-ed in the Des Moines Register.

“After consulting with many of our Iowa volunteers and supporters, as well as key activists whose opinion we value, I have decided to forego taking part in the Iowa straw poll – or any other straw poll – and will instead focus our campaign’s attention and resources on the Iowa caucuses,” Huckabee said.

Among reasons Republicans are tempted to miss out on the straw poll: 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.

Also, in recent years, winning the straw poll doesn’t always translate into winning the caucuses. (Michele Bachmann won the straw poll in 2011). And doing poorly can doom a campaign. (Tim Pawlenty dropped out after an embarrassing finish that same year).

“I appreciate the Iowa GOP for recognizing the need for some reforms, but playing to win in the straw poll still requires a heavy concentration of staff and financial resources,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee added: “Past winners in recent straw polls didn’t result in caucus victories and we want to dedicate our resources and focus our volunteers in Iowa towards the caucuses, which matter greatly in determining our next president. And if you question how important the Iowa caucuses really are, just ask our last Republican president or the current Democratic one, who both won the Iowa caucuses on their way to the White House.”

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