Entries in Straw Poll (10)


Ron Paul Wins Illinois GOP Straw Poll

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- On Saturday, Texas Rep. Ron Paul was declared the winner of an Illinois Republican straw poll.

Of 3, 649 ballots cast both online and in person throughout the week from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, Paul beat GOP competitors with 52 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney received 35 percent of the in person vote though his combined score of 14 percent placed him third behind businessman Herman Cain's 18 percent.

Anyone who donated $5 to the Illinois GOP could vote in the straw poll.

"Today's straw poll was an excellent opportunity to showcase our party's strength one year out of the election," said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady. "I am pleased with today's turnout and look forward to building on our successes from 2010."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


On Home Turf, Romney Prevails in Michigan Straw Poll

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(MACKINAC, Mich.) -- Mitt Romney didn’t disappoint on his home turf this weekend, receiving 51 percent of the votes at the Michigan Straw Poll, a wide victory over Texas Gov. Rick Perry who garnered just 17 percent.

Third place in the straw poll went to Herman Cain, fresh off his impressive win at the Florida Straw Poll earlier this weekend.  Cain received 9 percent of the 681 votes cast by party activists and elected officials in the Michigan poll.

Romney’s win comes despite his campaign’s decision to forgo participation in any state Straw Polls, saying they would instead focus their financial strength on winning primaries and caucuses.

Romney and Perry were the only presidential candidates to make the trek to Northern Michigan for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference Saturday, and both used their time behind the podium to distinguish themselves from President Obama.

But Perry apparently couldn’t resist making a veiled jab at Romney during his speech.

“There may be slicker candidates and there may be smoother debaters, but I know what I believe in, and I’m going to stand on that belief every day,” he said.  “I will guide this country with a deep deep rudder.”

Romney, who was born and raised in the state where his father George Romney served as governor, quickly emerged as the clear favorite at the conference.  He stayed focused on his anti-Obama message and stayed away from criticizing Perry, instead playing up his familial ties to the state, even reminiscing about meeting his wife of 42 years, Ann, at a school dance in Michigan.

“It’s great being back in Michigan,” Romney told the crowd.  “This is where I was born and raised, been here a number of times with my mom and dad.”

Voters in Michigan also weighed in on their preference for vice president, choosing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as the overwhelming favorite.  Rubio received 23 percent of the 481 votes cast for vice president and was followed by Cain with 14 percent, Newt Gingrich with 13 percent and Michele Bachmann at 12 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


All Eyes on Ames: Straw Poll Is First Major Test of 2012 Cycle

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the state fair in Des Moines, Iowa in August, they will judge the livestock like they do every year.  But down the road in Ames, there will be a more rarified competition that happens only every four years, as conservatives brave the hot summer to judge the stock of Republican presidential candidates.

The Ames Straw Poll, which has become a rite of passage for candidates when there is no incumbent Republican in the White House, signals the start of a furious six-month march towards the Iowa caucuses next winter.  It is a chance to separate contenders from pretenders.

This year, the straw poll promises to be hotly contested.

While GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney will not be there, and neither will struggling Jon Huntsman, other Republican hopefuls will be.  At the top of the list is Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who has shot up in polls in the past month.  Boosted by a strong performance in the New Hampshire debate and helped by her success among Iowa evangelicals, Bachmann looks poised to show up in Ames as the one to beat.

But if she has an Achilles heel at this point, it is perhaps a lack of organization -- and in Ames, experts say if half the battle is expectations, then the other half is organization. Combine the current high expectations for Bachmann and her organizational shortcomings and the stage could be set for an upset in Ames.

So who could knock Bachmann off her perch?  One candidate who sorely needs a strong result in Ames is fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty.  The former two-term governor was criticized for not standing up to Romney in the New Hampshire debate.  He recorded only six percent support in the highly-anticipated Des Moines Register poll in late June, and his $4.5 million fundraising haul in the second quarter was viewed as disappointing.

However, it's not just about Bachmann and Pawlenty.  Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has a vocal following that has helped him win many a straw poll, most recently in New Orleans last month.  Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich also hope to be players in Ames, though it would come as a surprise if either can crack the top three.

Complicating matters further is Texas Gov. Rick Perry.  Perry has been taking all the necessary steps to explore a presidential run, talking to key Iowa players in recent weeks.  One source who spoke to Perry said the governor told him he originally was not planning to run, but is now "leaning heavily" towards running.

In another clue that Perry may throw his hat in the ring in Iowa, his outside funding group is set to rent a plot of land in Ames. The state's GOP leaders will decide on July 23 whether or not to include him on the ballot but, either way, it seems his presence will be felt there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Minnesota Natives Pawlenty, Bachmann Wage War of Words

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The two Republican presidential candidates from Minnesota waged a war of words on Sunday as the fight for votes in neighboring Iowa heats up ahead of the Ames straw poll there next month.

The first shots were fired by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who ripped into his fellow North Star State native, Rep. Michele Bachmann, in an interview with NBC's David Gregory on Meet the Press, calling her record "nonexistent."

"I like Congresswoman Bachmann.  I've campaigned for her.  I respect her.  But her record of accomplishment in Congress is nonexistent.  It's nonexistent," Pawlenty said.  "And so we're not looking for folks who just have speech capabilities.  We're looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion.  I've done that, and she hasn't."

Late Sunday, Bachmann released a statement touting her record on Capitol Hill.

"Instead of negativity, I want to focus on my accomplishments," she said.  "I have fought the cap-and-trade agenda, rather than implement it, and I will work to end cap-and-trade as president of the United States.  I stood up against President Obama's support of the $700 billion bailout rather than defend it.  I was a leading voice, fighting against Obamacare and the unconstitutional individual mandates; I did not lift my voice in praise of it.  My message brought tens of thousands of Americans to Washington, D.C. to oppose Obamacare."

"As president I will not rest until Obamacare is repealed.  And I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling," she vowed.  "People can count on me as a fighter; I am proud of my record of fighting with resolve, and without apology, for our free markets, for sane fiscal policies, and in opposition to the advancement of the big government left.  As president, the American people can count on me to stand by my record of advancing pro-growth policies to put our nation back on the right track."

Right now, it is Bachmann, not Pawlenty, who is looking strong in the polls.  Bachmann, who was born in Waterloo, Iowa, came in a close second to GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in the recent Des Moines Register poll, trailing him only 23 percent to 22 percent.  Meanwhile Pawlenty, who has made success in Iowa -- a key part of his campaign -- lagged far behind at only six percent.

Pawlenty on Sunday shrugged off his poll numbers, cautioning that early polls are poor predictors of eventual outcomes.

"I just announced my campaign six weeks ago, so I think it's a little early for that," he said.  "But, more importantly, these early polls are not a good indicator of anything.  If they were, Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton would be president of the United States.  They almost never predict the outcome.  And when people get to know my record in Minnesota of, you know, reducing taxes, cutting spending, doing healthcare reform the right way -- no mandates, no takeovers -- doing public employee pension and benefit and pay reform and the like, I think my campaign will do quite well."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Hopeful Tim Pawlenty Goes All Out in Iowa

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday ratcheted up his push to win the Iowa Straw Poll next month -- and more importantly the caucuses next winter -- with the launch of a new television ad and the announcement that Mike Huckabee's daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has signed on to his campaign.

Huckabee Sanders will serve as a senior political adviser leading the campaign's work on the Iowa Straw Poll that will be held in Ames in August, a key part of Pawlenty's effort to win the Hawkeye State caucuses.  Four years ago Huckabee Sanders was her father's national political director when he won the Iowa caucuses.

In another move to boost his momentum in Iowa, Pawlenty hit the airwaves on Tuesday with his second television ad.  In the spot, Pawlenty touts his role in Minnesota’s government shutdown six years ago.  

"Minnesota government shutdown.  Why?  Because Tim Pawlenty would not accept Democrats’ massive tax and spending demands.  Result: Pawlenty won," the ad boasts.

Minnesota’s state government shut down once again at the end of last Thursday and the stalemate is still ongoing.  Just before the shutdown began, Pawlenty urged his fellow Republicans in the North Star State not to yield to the Democrats, led by Gov. Mark Dayton, who wants to solve the state’s $5 billion budget deficit by raising taxes on the rich.

"We have to get government spending under control.  The Democrats won't do it.  I applaud the Republicans for standing strong and encourage them to keep standing strong," Pawlenty said in a brief press conference.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Pawlenty responded to a bipartisan committee formed by former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson by criticizing the two elder statesmen from Minnesota, reiterating his support of the GOP legislature, and again touting his record.

"Walter Mondale ran for president against Ronald Reagan on a platform that called for higher taxes.  Arne Carlson supported John Kerry, Barack Obama and other Democrats.  It should surprise no one that they both support more spending and higher taxes in Minnesota,” he said.  “We did it the right way for the last eight years, with dramatically lower spending and tax cuts.  I commend the Republicans in the Legislature for sticking to their guns, even when politicians of the past call for old-fashioned high tax and spend solutions.  The last budget on my watch ended last week with a positive balance.  The projected deficit for the upcoming two years is based on large projected spending increases, which I never would have allowed as governor.  Minnesota government is shutdown because of Democrats' insistence on Obama-esque solutions to increase spending and raise taxes."

The Democratic National Committee responded to the new Pawlenty ad by stating that the GOP candidate did not shut down the government six years ago because of a desire to cut taxes, but rather because he wanted to raise taxes on cigarettes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Confident He'll Make It to Iowa Caucus

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Before a speech in Baltimore Thursday evening, Newt Gingrich told reporters he’s confident he’ll be in the presidential race through the Iowa caucus next year.

“Sure, of course,” Gingrich told reporters when asked about the Iowa caucus.  “These things happen over and over.  They fascinate the media.  They have no long term historic meaning.  Either there will be a message that resonates with 14 million unemployed.  There will be a message that resonates when one out of every four houses is worth less than its mortgage.  There will be a message that resonates when there are three wars and no strategic coherence in the administration, or there won’t be.  If there is, I’ll be a contender in January.”

The Gingrich campaign turned down an option to buy a spot for the Ames Iowa Straw Poll Thursday afternoon.  An aide to Gingrich told ABC News they are intent on focusing on the caucuses and still determining whether they’ll participate in the straw poll.

“It’s a very important part of the Iowa caucus,” spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News of the Iowa straw poll.  “We support its traditions and the important role it plays.”

When asked after the speech why he chose not to purchase a spot, Gingrich told ABC News to “Cover the speech.”

Bidding for a spot at the straw poll began at $15,000.  Rep. Ron Paul made the highest bid, paying $31,000 for a spot.

Gingrich used his speech at the Maryland GOP dinner Thursday night to criticize the president’s claim that the “tide of war is receding” and pointed to the threats posed by Pakistan and Iran, and turmoil in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

“Is the tide of war receding or is there a potential tsunami of violence building offshore?” Gingrich repeatedly asked the crowd.  “I want to challenge the president to withdraw the phrase because it totally misleads the American people and it represents a delusion of the real world.”

Prior to his speech, Gingrich held a roundtable fundraiser for his campaign.  Earlier this week, two top fundraisers for the campaign quit.

The Gingrich campaign is planning fundraisers as they head into the final week of the fundraising quarter.

“I ask everyone I can for money.  I’d love to have your support,” Gingrich told reporters.

Newt heads to Iowa on Saturday for the first time in over a month.  He will join the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour in Indianola, Iowa.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mystery Candidate Leads to Walk-Out at Ames Straw Poll Land Auction

Comstock/Thinkstock(AMES, Iowa) -- Representatives of Republican candidates met Thursday in Ames, Iowa for, what is essentially a real estate auction, buying up the best pieces of the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University, where August's Ames Straw Poll will be held.

The presence of operatives who refuse to identify which candidate they work for, however, has led the representatives of the declared candidates to threaten to walk, tweeted Andy Parrish, a key player on Michele Bachmann’s campaign.

“At Ames land auction. One campaign refusing to ID themselves,” Parrish tweeted Thursday afternoon.

“All declared campaigns on their feet and agreed to walk from Ames auction until all campaigns say who they represent,” he continued on Twitter. The last of his tweets read, “All campaigns are now outside because one campaign will not say who they represent. All have agreed to walk.”

Sources tell ABC News the mystery candidate is Rep. Thad McCotter, R- Mich., an undeclared candidate.

The auction is a money-making venture for the Iowa Republican Party, which divides the venue and puts a value on each section where a candidate can set up shop to sway voters. Bidding starts at $15,000 and goes up from there.

Ames is located in the geographical center of the state and is Iowa’s most prominent Republican straw poll. This year’s event will be held Aug. 13.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Bows Out of Iowa Straw Poll to Focus Resources Elsewhere

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will not attend the Iowa Straw Poll this August, an event long known to be one of the first indicators of how a campaign might fair in the crucial Hawkeye State.

And Romney's aides said Thursday night that the former governor will not only bow out of the Iowa Straw Poll but will not take part in any straw polls during his campaign, a nod to their vows to run a "wiser" and "leaner" campaign this time around.

Campaign manager Matt Rhoades said Thursday night in an email statement, "Our campaign has made the decision to not participate in any straw polls, whether it’s in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else."

"In the last presidential campaign we were both strengthened as an organization and learned some important lessons by participating in them," wrote Rhoades. "This time we will focus our energies and resources on winning primaries and caucuses. We look forward to bringing Mitt Romney’s strong pro-jobs message to every part of the country."

In his 2008 White House bid, Romney won the Iowa Straw Poll but was largely criticized for millions of dollars spent to attract voters to the event. Despite the money he spent on the event, Romney later came in second place in the 2008 Iowa caucuses to Arkansas Republican Mike Huckabee in 2008. So far this campaign Romney has made several remarks indicating that his campaign will use their resources more sparingly.

Romney will still participate in the Fox News debate scheduled to be held in Ames on August 11, just days before the straw poll.

Statements by former GOP chairmen in Michigan, Iowa and Florida released by the Romney campaign Thursday night lauded the presidential hopeful's decision to focus his resources on other campaign efforts and not straw polls.

"The campaign is making a smart decision to not compete in the upcoming series of straw polls," said Brian Kennedy, former Iowa GOP chair. "Mitt's focus is on winning the nomination, not the straw polls."

Former Florida GOP Chairman John Trasher added, "The campaign's decision to not participate in any straw polls makes strategic sense. Florida is an expensive state to campaign in. As a candidate that has already proven his organization strength and support in Florida, it's smart for him to focus his time and resources on winning the actual primary."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul Wins 2011 CPAC Straw Poll

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the second year in a row, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, emerged as the potential presidential candidate that an active group of conservative activists want to see at the top of the Republican ticket in 2012.

Paul won this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by a healthy margin, getting 30 percent of the vote. His nearest competitor was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won 23 percent of the vote. Most of the other potential candidates wound up in the low single digits. 

The poll should not necessarily be regarded as an accurate indicator of where the Republican electorate actually stands. Many political figures who have won the CPAC straw polls in past years did not go on to win the Republican presidential nomination.

“A year is an eternity in politics,” GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, who conducted the straw poll, told ABC News.

Rounding out the top five were former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (6 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (6 percent) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (5 percent). Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels each received 4 percent of the vote.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who turned down an invitation to attend CPAC for the fourth year in a row, finished a distant 9th place, garnering only 3 percent of the vote.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Wins New Hampshire Republican Party Straw Poll

Photo Credit - TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.H.) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took first place -- or 35 percent of the valid ballots cast -- in a presidential "straw poll" of New Hampshire Republican State Committee members sponsored by ABC News and WMUR and sanctioned by the state Republican Party.

Coming in a distant second was Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, with 11 percent, followed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who took 8 percent of the vote. In fourth place was ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 7 percent.

“This is by no means a scientific sample, but it was a good early canvass of the sentiments of the state's most active Republican voters,” said ABC News political director Amy Walter.

The "straw poll" was open to the 426 registered members of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. Sixty-five percent participated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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