Iowa Straw Poll Canceled for 2015

Republican Party of Iowa leadership Friday morning voted unanimously to cancel the 2015 Iowa Straw Poll. 

The event, which had been scheduled for August 8 in Boone, had drawn commitments from only two Republican presidential hopefuls. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had already announced their intentions to skip the event, which included a presidential preference vote. 

"We set the table and the candidates weren't coming to supper," says Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann.

Kaufmann says there is a line between passionate advocacy for the party fundraiser and publicly bullying candidates to participate, and he didn't want to cross it and jeopardize the Iowa caucuses.  "Our first-in-the-nation status is an ocean, and this straw poll is a postage stamp."

What does it mean for the Iowa caucuses and for the state that the Iowa Straw Poll has been canceled? Iowa State University's Steffen Schmidt, a professor of political science, talked with Emily Woodbury during Iowa Public Radio's River to River. He says that while it was a "wonderful event," it was never meant to be a predictor of who would get the nomination for president. He points to Michelle Bachmann's victory in 2011 as the beginning of the end for the event.