GOP Straw Poll “Pay to Play” Addressed

May 7, 2015

The chairman of the Iowa Republican party today announced changes to the GOP’s straw poll held each presidential election cycle.  

It has gotten increasingly more expensive for candidates to compete in the Iowa Straw Poll, and some have dropped out after poor results.   

Jeff Kaufmann says he has answered objections from current and former candidates.   

Kaufmann says for this year’s event on August 8 in Boone, they’re eliminating bidding for space at the event which has cost campaigns as much as 35,000 dollars.

“The national media has been quick to say “pay to play,” Kaufmann says.   “So we've listened to everybody.”

Kaufmann says changes are needed to protect Iowa’s First in the Nation caucuses.  But campaigns can still bus voters in from around the state and pay the 30 dollar fee per vote.

The party will also arrange for concessions, so campaigns may not feel compelled to offer the best food to compete.    Kaufmann says they’re making it easier for candidates to decide to participate.  

“It costs you a plane ticket to interact with Republican voters,” Kaufmann says.

The updates mean the Iowa GOP will raise less money from the straw poll which has brought in as much as a million dollars in the past. 

The party will send out invitations to candidates they consider viable.    Even those who don’t attend will still have their names on the ballot.