Monday, August 15, 2011

Iowa Straw Vote

I’m sorry! I just realized that I did not post today’s blog although I had it finished early this morning. Better late than never!

Remember: Two recall elections are tomorrow in Wisconsin. If you life in one the districts, VOTE! Your participation in the democratic process is important. PRAY, too!


“Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll; Paul Finishes Close Second
By Erin McPike—August 13, 2011

AMES, Iowa—Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann exhibited another sign of early strength in the Republican presidential nominating contest when she won the Ames Straw Poll put on by the Iowa Republican Party here today.

The results were less promising for her fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who tried to boost his struggling campaign with a strong effort in the poll but finished third, well behind Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

A total of 16,892 voters descended on this college town—home to Iowa State University—to listen to the six participating candidates’ speeches, eat food provided by the campaigns and cast ballots in the poll. Bachmann has become an increasingly formidable candidate in the Republican primary race after turning in solid back-to-back debate performances, and this symbolic victory ensures she will continue to be a force, at least in the state that goes first in the Republican primary next year.

The straw poll is not a scientific survey of Republican voters in the Hawkeye State, but it is an important benchmark on the road to the Iowa caucuses. Bachmann, who has been surging in national and Iowa-based polls of GOP voters, edged second-place finisher Paul, 28.6 percent to 27.7 percent.

‘With a victory that large, she’s not just getting lucky. She’s killing it,’ said Tim Albrecht, a longtime Iowa Republican operative and the current spokesman for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. ‘She has a lot of room to grow’ with voter support in the state, he added, noting that Bachmann has held precious few events in northwest Iowa, where the state’s most socially conservative voters reside.

That could foreshadow a key distinction between this cycle’s caucuses and those four years ago.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the straw poll in 2007 after pouring money into the event and putting together the best organization. Coming in second was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and that straw poll showing catapulted him into contention in the race, leading ultimately to his victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

Romney’s support dropped after his straw poll finish, and he came in second five months later in the caucuses.

Paul’s second-place finish is unlikely to have the same effect for him as it did for Huckabee.

Huckabee, who spent the day strolling around the grounds here and joining the candidates at each of their campaigns’ stations, poured cold water on Paul’s prospects.

‘I don’t think anybody, objectively, believes Ron Paul will be the nominee of the party,’ Huckabee said. ‘His views on Iran the other night [at Thursday night’s debate on Fox News], I think, disqualified him as a serious contender for the Republicans. You cannot say that Iran, with a nuclear weapon, is the same as Russia with a nuclear weapon.’

Added Gentry Collins, a longtime Iowa Republican and a recent executive director of the Republican National Committee, ‘I think Paul is probably least impacted by the results,’ he said.

But, Collins added, Saturday’s results will have a winnowing effect on the GOP field.

‘That’s always been the role of the straw poll. I expect it will be again,’ he said.

He pointed specifically to Pawlenty’s campaign and said he suspects that as a consequence of his third-place finish, Pawlenty might have to abandon his candidacy in the coming weeks. Pawlenty garnered 13.6 percent of the vote, or less than half of what Bachmann and Paul each garnered.

Pawlenty Campaign Manager Nick Ayers told RealClearPolitics recently that roughly $1 million had been spent on its straw poll effort, and the team had long hoped to win the contest. In recent weeks, however, campaign advisers have been lowering expectations for the event—despite their heavy organizing for it.

In fact, Pawlenty said to supporters gathered at his tent Saturday morning: ‘When we tally these votes, Team Pawlenty’s going to show a lot of momentum in Ames, Iowa.’ He assured only a ‘great result.’

In a statement after the vote, he said, ‘We made progress in moving from the back of the pack into a competitive position for the caucuses, but we have a lot more work to do. This is a long process to restore America. We are just beginning and I’m looking forward to a great campaign.’

Notwithstanding that statement, Collins explained that the Minnesotan has had a difficult time gaining traction in his neighboring state despite a superior effort. Several Republican operatives said Pawlenty’s disappointing showing will impact his fundraising efforts and further impede his campaign.

Explained veteran Republican campaign operative Mike Murphy, ‘Pawlenty won’t decide whether he’s out. His finance team will.’

He added, ‘If there was a way that Tim Pawlenty could spend $3 million here in a regular caucus campaign—if he had the money—he’d still be very serious in a three-way race because he’d be competitive in the vote that’s not here today. The problem is: Can he raise any money?’

Overall, the presidential race now is certain to see more twists and turns in the coming months—and not just regarding the future of Pawlenty’s campaign.

For one thing, Romney, who is the national GOP front-runner thus far, opted not to compete in this year’s straw poll. He finished in seventh place with 3.4 percent of the vote. Of course, John McCain, who won the nomination last cycle after losing the Iowa caucuses, placed 10th in the 2007 straw poll with just 0.7 percent.

Then there’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who made his candidacy official earlier in the day in South Carolina at a confab for the conservative website RedState.

As Collins noted, ‘Perry’s entry will hit another reset button here today.’

Indeed, even though Rick Perry’s name was not on the straw poll ballot, more Iowans wrote him in than did Romney supporters—but not by much.

A group called Americans for Perry had launched a write-in campaign, which wound up producing 718 votes, or 3.6 percent of the total, just above Romney’s 3.4 percent.

Romney was in Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday to hold events and participate in the debate. Perry will make his way into the state on Sunday for an event in the afternoon in Waterloo. He’ll stay in the state for a series of public and private events on Monday and Tuesday.

Going forward, former Romney ad consultant Alex Castellanos said the race likely will become a two-man race between Romney and Perry. He suggested the debate will come down to who is better suited to handle the economy—someone who has worked successfully on job creation within the government (Perry) or someone with private-sector experience (Romney).

Still, Bachmann remains a threat in Iowa, and it remains to be seen how Romney and Perry will respond politically to her victory here.

Already Iowa Rep. Steve King said he’s leaning toward endorsing her but said he won’t make up his mind until after Labor Day. A King endorsement would be a powerful political tool in northwest Iowa, where he is from and where Bachmann still has room for more support. In her speech to the crowd gathered at the Hilton Coliseum, where straw poll attendees gathered Saturday afternoon, Bachmann focused much of her attention on social issues, like gay marriage, which suggests she’s still in the hunt for support and growing nervous about Perry’s impending arrival.

As for the other contenders, the straw poll failed to provide much of a boost—if any.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (9.8 percent), businessman Herman Cain (8.6 percent), House Speaker Newt Gingrich (2.2 percent), former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (0.4 percent), and Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (0.2 percent) brought up the rear.”


“All Iowa voters can weigh in at next Saturday’s straw poll, just bring photo ID
Jennifer Jacobs
9:33 AM, Aug 6, 2011

To ensure only Iowans participate in the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll next Saturday, voters must bring a photo ID.

And to prevent double voting, voters will mark their index finger with indelible ink after casting their ballots, Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said Friday.

Those eligible are registered voters or Iowans who will be 18 years old on or before Nov. 6, 2012, Strawn said in a written statement.

The allowable IDs are a current and valid Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, a military ID or a student photo ID from an Iowa college or university.

In official elections in Iowa, the state doesn’t require photo identification—a law Republicans unsuccessfully tried to change during this year’s now-finished legislative session.

Voting for the straw poll—a party function, not a state function—will take place at the Iowa State University campus in both Hilton Coliseum (north side entrance) and the Scheman Building (south side entrance) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 13.

Strawn in a written statement said election procedures were designed with Secretary of State Matt Schultz and Story County Auditor Lucy Martin to withstand ‘the highest level of scrutiny.’

Here are some of his other points:

1) Voting equipment for the straw poll was rented from the Story County Auditor’s office and is the identical equipment used in state and municipal elections. (All equipment was paid for by the Iowa GOP with no taxpayer expense.)

2) Candidates will be listed on the voting ballot in randomized, rotating order according to last name.

3) Write-in ballots will be tabulated in compliance with Iowa Code and will be reported individually by volunteers from the Secretary of State’s office. All results will be certified by the secretary of state.

4) Campaigns who reserved space at the straw poll are allowed to have one representative to observe the voting process per voting location, and up to two representatives to observe the tallying process.

5) In addition to Schultz and Martin, members of the Secretary of State’s office and county auditors from across the state will help administer and oversee the election.


“Ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ends White House bid
Hopeful had been eclipsed in polls in recent months by Rep. Michele Bachmann who won Iowa straw poll Saturday
updated 2 hours 24 minutes ago 2011-08-14T12:58:43
breaking news

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced on Sunday that he was dropping out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

He had been eclipsed in polls in recent months by his Minnesota rival, Rep. Michele Bachmann. She won the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday.

Pawlenty told supporters on a conference call that he would announce on ABC's ‘This Week’ that he was ending his campaign after a disappointing finish in the Iowa straw poll on Saturday.

The poll was a test of organizational strength and popularity in the state whose caucuses lead off the GOP nomination fight.

Pawlenty had struggled to gain traction in Iowa, a state he had said he must win, after laying the groundwork for a campaign for nearly two years.

Please check back for details on this breaking news story.”

Tomorrow: My analysis of the Iowa Straw Vote

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” (Last sentence of the Declaration of Independence)

It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!
It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!
It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!