In a move that should damn Iowa’s GOP to the political gods, the state party looks like it will get rid of the Iowa Straw Poll. What are these people thinking? Do they think anyone will give a crap about Ames in August for any other reason?
This is all driven by the fact that forces loyal to Bush-Republicans like Governor Branstad took over leadership of the party. The Straw Poll has given candidates like Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul boosts and weeded out more establishment candidates like Pawlenty and Lamar Alexander. So if you’re in the Branstad-wing you certainly want keep that from happening.
For Rand Paul this is certainly a loss. Controlling the state party means you can control not only events like the Straw Poll but also things like debates and delegate selection rules. All of those are key to winning the nomination in a close contest like 2016 could be. Also, given how well his father did in 2012 if Paul does anything other than 1st it is going to be a big loss for him in 2016. Might this defeat show his organization is not as big as people thought?
Any event that gets people involved and interested in politics is a good thing, so seeing the Straw Poll go away is a bummer. Plus, now I will not have a reason to ever go to Iowa in August.