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August 11th, 2011
 

Kevin’s Korner: Pre-Straw Poll Edition

Greetings and welcome to a special pre-Ames Straw Poll edition of Kevin’s Korner.  Everything you ever wanted to know, didn’t want to know, or didn’t know that you knew that you wanted to know about the Straw Poll, you can learn here…

First of all, let’s clear up a common misconception.  The mainstream media and the RPI don’t tell you this, but you do NOT need tickets to attend the Ames Straw Poll.  The event outside, where all the fun takes place, is completely free and anyone is welcome to attend…  You DO need tickets to vote.  And you should be able to get those from the campaign of your choice by visiting their tent…

The RPI doesn’t tell you this because they want your money.  The MSM’s excuse?  What, you expected credible info from them?

Rick Perry is giving me bad flashbacks to the Fred Thompson campaign.  His attempt to overshadow the Straw Poll by announcing his candidacy this Saturday in South Carolina reminds me of Fred’s entry into the 2007 race.  Thompson skipped a New Hampshire debate and announced his candidacy on “The Tonight Show” that same day.  New Hampshire never forgave him.  He finished in 6th place there with just over 1% of the vote.

I don’t think Perry’s Iowa diss will have the same ramifications of Fred’s in New Hampshire.  Especially since Perry is visiting Iowa Sunday … However, he would be wise to delay his announcement for one day.  Perry would still get all the media coverage he wants, still overshadow the Straw Poll winner and not ruffle any feathers among the Iowans whom he will need to propel him to the nomination… I am curious to see how many write-in votes Perry’s backers can muster Saturday.

Who will be the busiest guy in Ames Saturday?  Apparently, it’ll be 2007 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee.  The Huckster’s PAC has its own lot and Huckabee will be slappin’ da bass in at least four different candidates’ tents.

Governor Branstad plans to attend the Straw Poll, but won’t say who he is voting for.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out … Branstad, and probably a good chunk of his staff, will cast their votes for Tim PawlentyFavors are owed and Pawlenty needs all the help he can get to stay in the race … Iowa GOP politics is incestuous and nothing exemplifies that better than the Pawlenty campaign.

What role will Bob Vander Plaats play in the Straw Poll?  He won’t.  Bob will be out of town.  After his attempted power play with the ill-advised pledge blew up in his face, BVP has become a non-factor in the presidential campaign.  But he’ll be back.  Like a monster in a horror movie, BVP always returns.

So, what did it benefit Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum to sign The FAMiLY LEADER’s pledge?  It didn’t.  They got nothing but bad press out of it.  Those who refused suffered no ill effects…  Bachmann picked up an endorsement this week from FAMiLY LEADER lobbyist Danny Carroll, but his support could hurt as much as it helps.

The worst kept secret in Iowa politics was revealed Tuesday when Iowa Tea Party founder Ryan Rhodes publicly endorsed Bachmann.  Despite Ryan’s denials, it was obvious several months ago he was backing Bachmann.

There is a small momentum shift in the race for Rick Santorum.  People who ranked him at the bottom of their list six months ago have decided to cast their ballot for him on Saturday…  Santorum has campaigned harder than anyone in the race and has a good shot at taking 4th place because of it…  If it’s a close 4th, Santorum might be able to hang around for a while.  That would be good for the race because Santorum talks in greater substance about policy than most of the field.

In less than a week, Herman Cain has gone from saying he needs to finish in the top three to saying he hopes to finish in the top five.  That’s quite the downgrade in a few days time…  Cain could have finished in the top three if he spent more than two days in Iowa last month …  Apparently, he wasn’t even aware he had spent so little time in Iowa recently.  Cain told a Des Moines crowd last week he had made “six or seven” visits to Iowa last month…  Someone should tell him flying over Iowa on the way to Vegas doesn’t count.

The Fair Tax folks are trying to clear up the story that they’re backing Cain at the Straw Poll.  They blasted an email to supporters and a letter to Politico saying they don’t endorse candidates.  However, there is no doubt the Fair Tax people gave a huge boost to Mike Huckabee in the 2007 Straw Poll and nearly went broke in the process.  As a result, the Fair Tax people have no paid staff in Iowa this cycle and their impact is minimal.

I encourage all of you to come to Ames this Saturday.  There is tons of great entertainment, free food and lots to see and hear.  The Straw Poll is a family-friendly event, so feel free to bring the kids along.

Most importantly, stop by TheIowaRepublican.com tent.  We will have Senator Chuck Grassley, Congressmen Steve King & Tom Latham, and Governor Terry Branstad speaking at our soapbox from 10am-noon.  Plus some great raffles prizes, courtesy of our friends at Google, and other free goodies.   Hope to see y’all Saturday!

 

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About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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