On its last legs, the Iowa straw poll receded into political history on Friday as Iowa’s Republican party State Central Committee voted unanimously to cancel the 2015 Iowa Straw Poll, previously planned for August 8.
“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,” said chairman Jeff Kaufmann, acknowledging there was not support among the presidential candidates for the circus-like event that has rarely been a predictor of success.
Iowa Republicans, who acknowledged the event had become a “high-stress and expensive endeavor” had tried to resuscitate the event by moving the location from Ames to Boone to lower costs and said they’d bring in outside food vendors -- rather than have candidates attempt to show support by buying food for supporters.
But Kaufmann said candidates were “concerned about participating in an event that carries significant media-driven expectations well ahead of our First in the Nation Caucuses.”
Mike Huckabee announced last month that he wouldn’t compete this year. Jeb Bush didn’t plan to either. Critics said the summer event served mainly as a test of how much money candidates for the Republican nomination would spend to buy tickets for attendees, on buses to get them there, and on barbecue and music to entertain them so they would support them in a non-binding “poll.”
And the Democrats, who ban all straw polls as a waste of time and money, have managed to win the White House in four of the last six elections without them.