Iowa Straw Poll First GOP Test
by Tom Pauken    Tue, Jul 17, 2007, 08:57 AM

The Iowa Straw Poll for Republican presidential candidates will take place on August 11th. It will be the first, significant test of candidate strength in preparation for the first in the nation Iowa caucuses early next year. Two of the three Republicans viewed as leading contenders for the Republican nomination next year – Rudy Giuliani and John McCain – already have announced that they will not participate. Nor will Fred Thompson be actively involved in the August poll since he has yet to announce his candidacy officially.

That leaves the field wide open for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who currently is leading in the polls among likely participants in the Iowa caucus. Romney has spent a tremendous amount of money and time on organizational efforts in Iowa, and he is expected to be the big winner in the August straw poll which will be the first real test of political support in that state.

Nonetheless, keep your eye on how four Republican dark horses do in the Iowa straw poll. Those are former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Representative Ron Paul, Representative Duncan Hunter and Representative Tom Tancredo. Each has his own constituency in Iowa and could surprise on the upside next month.

Governor Huckabee has a strong following among the evangelical community. Just last month, David Lane brought together some 250 Iowa pastors at a Rediscovering God in America event in Des Moines. Huckabee, a former pastor, spoke at that event; and many of the Iowa pastors are expected to turn out their members for Governor Huckabee at the August straw polls.

Lane, who is emerging as a major political force within the evangelical community, last year put together a Pastors Policy Briefing which brought together another 250 Evangelical pastors in Iowa. David Lane also works with the Iowa Christian Alliance which plans on setting up this fall 17 Iowa Caucus Training schools across the state in preparation for the first in the nation vote in the 2008 presidential primaries.

Ron Paul is another candidate worth watching next month. A pro-life libertarian and strong critic of the War in Iraq, Paul recently attracted a crowd estimated at 1,000 to 1,200 on June 30th in Des Moines after the organizers of a debate among GOP candidates excluded Ron Paul from participation. Paul supporters staged their own event next door and outdrew the official event sponsored by Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance, according to Paul Likoudis.

It was surprising that organizers excluded Ron Paul from the debate since he is both pro-life and a consistent supporter of low taxes. Paul supporters suspect that he was “uninvited” because of his opposition to the War in Iraq.

Ron Paul has a dedicated following and could do better than expected in the Iowa straw poll since he is the only Republican candidate for President opposed to the war.

Representative Duncan Hunter also has strong grassroots support among conservatives. Hunter has been a strong advocate for addressing our trade deficit with China and rebuilding our manufacturing base, issues that are of increasing concern to middle class Americans caught in the squeeze of globalization. He also has been an outspoken critic of Bush’s immigration policy.

Finally, Representative Tom Tancredo may garner support from Iowans concerned about the Bush Administration’s immigration policy. He has been the leading Congressional critic of the President’s immigration policy from the beginning. At the moment, opposition to the Senate’s failed immigration reform legislation is the “hot button” issue among Republican primary voters. Can Tancredo turn that into his advantage at the August straw polls? The problem he faces is that most of the other Republican contenders (excluding John McCain) also opposed Bush’s immigration reform legislation which was recently rejected by the U.S. Senate.

Mitt Romney has far more support in the Iowa polls than Huckabee, Paul, Hunter, and Tancredo combined. He should win the August straw poll by a wide margin, particularly since the other Republican candidates who are viewed as major contenders (Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson) will not be competing to turn out their supporters. Thus, any surprise on the upside by one of the GOP long shots could change the dynamics of the Republican presidential primary campaign for 2008.

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Comments (13)add comment
written by Byron George , July 17, 2007

If Ron Paul wishes to be taken seriously, he needs to distance himself from Austin's notorious conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones & Texe Marr. I wouldn't support my mother for office if these two fruit cakes endorsed her.

written by Tom Pauken , July 17, 2007

Byron, who are Alex Jones and Texe Marr? I am not familiar with either of them in terms of Texas politics, and what is their involvement (if any) with the Ron Paul campaign?

written by Byron George , July 17, 2007

Tom, they are not, as far as I know, affiliated with the campaign. They do endorse him and they are two (in my opinion) frauds and fear-mongers. Marr claims to be a Christian but if he is he makes right-wing radicals look like leftist.

written by Paul D. Perry , July 19, 2007

Reagan was endorsed by elements of the Klan. He didn't ask for the endorsements. If I remember correctly Gus Hall endorsed a few Democrats.......Marr and Jones are conspiracy theorists(to be kind) with divergent views. I will vote for Dr. Paul. Neither Jones nor Marr are my cup of tea however.

written by Trent Hill , July 19, 2007

Fred Phelps, designer of the website endorsed Al Gore in 2000.

So what?

written by Byron George , July 19, 2007

Didn't vote for Al Gore either.

written by E , July 21, 2007


Elsbeth :)

written by Ian Perry , July 21, 2007

I think not voting for Ron Paul because he has appeared on Alex Jones's show makes about as much sense as not voting for him because he has appeared on liberal networks such as CNN. If it makes you feel better, his largest number of appearances have (I believe) been on the more conservative Tucker Carlson program.

Anyway, trying to attack Rep. Paul because of the people he associates with is really unfair in his case because he consistently tries to work with whoever shares his desire to limit the power of government, even if there is broader disagreement. He's happy to work with left wingers on freedom of speech and right wingers on tax issues. He counts people with lots of contradictory beliefs his friends, and I think this would likely be a strength should his longshot campaign succeed and he take office (and I think he has more of a chance than any candidate other than Fred Thompson, Giuliani, and Romney).

written by Steve Heath , July 24, 2007

Alex Jones is just one of hundreds of non-mainstream media websites who support Ron Paul. In fact, I can find very few independent websites that are not tied down to blindly supporting the Democratic or republican party that do not support Ron Paul. If the republicans nominated Hitler and the Democrats - Joe Stalin,there are too many people in this country who would blindly feel compelled to vote for one of them, just because of party affiliation.

Jones has a very large following and seems to be primarily concerned with 911 being an inside job, and the New World order conspiracies. The 911 Truth Movement has been gaining a lot of momentum and supporters. maybe the Government should start releasing more classified information to once and for all disprove these conspiracy theories. They're doing a terrible job. No government source, including the 911 Commission has even attempted to give a plausible explanation for how WTC7 collapsed.

I will be curious to see if Mark Cuban actually releases the "Loose Change" version he is promoting and distributing. I understand he is under tremendous pressure to drop this comittment.

written by bk , July 26, 2007

Any classified information the government released would just be labeled as a fabrication by these nuts.

Also, sometimes the decision whether to release classified information comes down to a risk v. rewards analysis. It happens that one can be willing to take a big hit in exchange for not compromising something else, such as a source, which can be inferred from content. It's just not that simple.

written by Sandra Crosnoe , July 28, 2007

Tom, are you going to help us with the Ron Paul campaign this time? Great article on the straw poll. I will look forward to your comments after the event!

written by Nichole , July 29, 2007

Wow I loved this article it spoke mountains as to what is really going on in our political areana. I appreciate and commend this writer for his piece. I am a Ron Paul supporter and hope he can rally the support of this writer and any others to help him in his campaign to office. God Bless

written by Robert Morrow , July 31, 2007

Here is why I am for Ron Paul - who is a statesman and a principled and consistent conservative and has been that way for 30 years:

Ron Paul: the true conservative:

Pro-Secure the Border
Pro-Gun Rights
Pro-U.S. National Sovereignty
Pro-Conservative Judges
Pro-States’ Rights
Pro-Home Schoolers
Anti-Federal Reserve
Anti-United Nations

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