Six weeks ago, Iowans for Perry wanted to be included in the Ames Straw Poll. They were hoping to be able to purchase a lot at the event, for a minimum of $15,000, and organize an effort to give Texas Governor Rick Perry a strong showing on August 13th.
However, once the Iowa GOP decided the 527 group would not be allowed to purchase a space, the Perry backers were hoping he would not be placed on the Straw Poll ballot. Saturday’s decision to leave the still unannounced candidate off the ballot came as good news.
“It would be like running the Indy 500 without a car,” said Jeff Lacourse, National Political Director for Americans for Perry. “There was a lot of back of forth with (RPI). They would say ‘yes you can’, then come back and say ‘no you can’t’. At this point, three weeks out, there’s not enough time for us to organize a strong enough effort for the result we would want. So, we prefer to be left off the ballot.”
Likewise, volunteers for the Organize for Palin group hoped the former Alaska Governor’s name would not appear on the Ames Straw Poll ballot. “It wouldn’t do Sarah Palin any good,” said Craig Bergman, an Iowa supporter. “We know she could win the thing if there’s a full effort to win it, but without putting a big push behind it, there’s no point.”
The Ames Straw Poll takes a massive organizational push from the campaigns that participate in it. There can be large financial obligations for things like purchasing tents, chairs, tables, food and providing entertainment. It is also a major undertaking for the campaigns to identify their supporters and make sure they show up for the event. That usually entails providing free tickets and sometimes bus transportation from around the state.
The six campaigns that purchased lots for the event will face a major test in three weeks. Those candidates that fail in Ames are highly unlikely to succeed in the election. Palin and Perry supporters can still show their support at the Straw Poll with write-in votes.
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