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Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd at Iowa straw poll

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070811/NEWS/70811009/1001&lead=1 Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd THOMAS BEAUMONT AND JENNIFER JACOBS
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 11 7:37 PM
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      http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070811/NEWS/70811009/1001&lead=1

      Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd
      THOMAS BEAUMONT AND JENNIFER JACOBS
      REGISTER STAFF WRITERS

      August 11, 2007

      Ames, Ia. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt
      Romney emerged on top at Iowa GOP’s straw poll
      Saturday in Ames.

      The win boosted the former Massachusetts governor’s
      standing as the party’s frontrunner in Iowa, although
      attendance at this first show of Iowa campaign
      strength appeared to fall short of expectations.

      Candidate Votes Pct.
      1. Mitt Romney 4,516 31.6%
      2. Mike Huckabee 2,587 18.1%
      3. Sam Brownback 2,192 15.3%
      4. Tom Tancredo 1,960 13.7%
      5. Ron Paul 1,305 9.1%
      6. Tommy Thompson 1,039 7.3%
      7. Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
      8. Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
      9. Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
      10. John McCain 101 0.7%
      11. John Cox 41 0.3%


      Romney, who heavily outspent his opponents preparing
      for the fundraising event, received 4,516 votes or
      31.6 percent.

      Roughly 30,000 to 33,000 Republicans attended the
      state party fundraiser on the Iowa State University
      campus, short of organizers’ goal of exceeding the
      crowd of 38,000 who attended the most recent straw
      poll in 1999.

      A factor in the lower turnout was the absence of some
      of the field’s better-known candidates — former New
      York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of
      Arizona, and likely candidate Fred Thompson, a former
      U.S. senator from Tennessee.

      Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had said his
      campaign’s future depended on a strong showing in
      Ames. He finished in second place, with 2,587 votes or
      18.1 percent. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas placed
      third with 2,192 votes, 15.3 percent after campaigning
      aggressively to be the choice of the Iowa GOP’s
      influential social conservatives.

      “Obviously this was an incredible day and victory for
      us,” Huckabee said. “What happened for us today was
      stunning.”

      Huckabee said he and his campaign staff had been
      saying they had momentum and it proved true.

      “We overperformed,” he said. “The bigger story is we
      did it with not a dime of paid advertising.”

      He said he hopes all the people who promised they’d
      get behind him “if he got traction” will now step
      forward.

      Meanwhile, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who
      said he would quit the race if he finished worse than
      second place, finished sixth with 1,039 votes or 7.3
      percent.

      Thompson could exit the race as early as Sunday.

      "Clearly it'll be difficult for the campaign to
      continue," said Thompson's Iowa adviser, Steve Grubbs.

      Grubbs said Thompson will likely go to church Sunday,
      like he always does, and contemplate his future. An
      announcement will come later Sunday or Monday, his
      aide said.

      Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement
      of the vote totals. About 1,500 ballots needed to be
      recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for
      Republican Party of Iowa.

      Two machines caused the problem, said State Auditor
      David Vaudt. “What likely happened is someone
      submitted their ballot too quickly after the other,”
      he said. The ballots from those machines were hand
      counted, then re-fed into the system to recalculate
      the vote. A campaign poll-watcher said in one
      instance, a black box contained 500 paper ballots but
      the machine’s memory said it had scanned in 498.

      Romney, the leader in recent Iowa polls, had said a
      victory in Ames would ensure his place in his party’s
      top tier nationally. He described himself Saturday as
      the candidate of change that he argued the party
      requires in order to win in 2008.

      “Change begins in Iowa and change begins today,”
      Romney told more than 10,000 Republican activists
      during his speech at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum. “If
      there’s ever been a time we need to see a change in
      Iowa, it’s now.”

      U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, who had banked much his
      campaign on a strong straw poll showing, said the
      results were his “ticket to the caucuses” and pledged
      to continue the race.

      “We’re still in this race, we’re still going to move
      aggressively forward,” Brownback told a crowd of 50 in
      his tent. “We’ve separated ourselves from the rest of
      the field.”
      Brownback said his campaign, which has not yet used
      televised ads, planned to begin buying air time.

      Romney, Brownback, Huckabee and Thompson were among
      eight candidates to attend the high-profile political
      festival that marks the end of the first round of the
      campaign for Iowa’s leadoff GOP nominating caucuses.
      The straw poll votes are nonbinding, and voters are
      free to choose another candidate in the official Iowa
      caucuses.

      Giuliani’s and McCain’s decisions in June to skip the
      event altered the straw poll’s role. Typically seen as
      a potential first measure of candidate strength in the
      field at large, this year’s event was more of an
      opportunity for a second-tier candidate to emerge.

      Candidates also attending were U.S. Reps. Duncan
      Hunter of California, Ron Paul of Texas and Tom
      Tancredo of Colorado, as well as Chicago businessman
      John Cox.

      Brownback had sparred with Romney in the weeks leading
      up to Saturday, challenging Romney’s commitment to
      opposing abortion rights, a key issue to Republican
      stalwarts in Iowa. Brownback, who opposes abortion
      rights, had been conducting a telephone campaign
      attacking Romney on his abortion position and other
      issues.

      “We win when we stand on principles and do not abandon
      them,” Brownback said in an indirect reference to his
      criticism of Romney, who supported abortion rights
      until after his election to governor in 2002.

      The event was expected to raise roughly $1 million for
      the Iowa Republican Party, partly through sales of the
      $35 tickets, but more through rental fees the
      candidates and interest groups paid to set up tents
      around Hilton Coliseum.

      Participating candidates viewed the event as a
      practice run for mobilizing their Iowa organizations,
      a priority in the organization-heavy caucuses,
      scheduled to launch the 2008 nominating contests in
      January.

      Romney, Brownback and Huckabee had rented hundreds of
      tour buses to deliver their supporters to the grounds
      around Hilton Coliseum.

      The campaigns bought up blocs of thousands of tickets
      and handed them out to their supporters, with more
      than just hope that they would vote for them at voting
      stations in Hilton Coliseum and nearby buildings.

      Romney’s campaign aides had asked people who received
      a ticket from them to sign a pledge to vote for the
      candidate, which annoyed at least one family. Voting
      generally went smoothly, although the sweltering day’s
      high humidity was a factor in some ballots sticking
      together, which caused marginal delays, party
      officials said.

      The grounds around the coliseum were transformed by
      mid-morning into a scale model of the Iowa State Fair,
      going on 40 miles south in Des Moines. A Ferris wheel
      sponsored by FairTax, a group promoting tax reform,
      spun while Des Moines rock band The Nadas jammed on a
      stage set up in Romney’s compound outside Hilton
      Coliseum.

      Hundreds of attendees streamed onto the grounds as
      buses from all over the state unloaded.

      With roughly 50 voting machines set up in sites in
      Hilton and surrounding buildings, lines formed quickly
      as balloting began at 10 a.m. Staff from the Story
      County auditor’s office supervised the voting, and
      state Auditor David Vaudt oversaw the ballot counting.
      There were few complaints about the voting process.

      Inside, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham was the
      master of ceremonies, and the polished stagecraft
      included candidate videos played on jumbo screens.

      The nation’s political news media were focused on the
      event, despite the high-profile no-shows. More than
      400 members of at least 150 news organizations were on
      hand covering the event.Dozens of satellite news
      trucks crowded the parking area just south of the
      arena.

      Giuliani said in June that he would not participate in
      the straw poll, suggesting his campaign could more
      wisely spend the estimated $3million it would take to
      prepare for Ames by investing in his early-state
      campaigns.

      McCain said his reason for giving up his straw poll
      plan was that Giuliani’s absence diminished the
      contest’s significance. Later, McCain slashed his Iowa
      and national campaign organizations in light of
      financial trouble.

      “I think anybody who is not in the straw poll made a
      mistake,” U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa
      Republican, told reporters. “They are losing an
      opportunity to refortify their national position. And
      particularly Giuliani, that’s for sure.”

      Lorna Burnside, a rare undecided Republican attending
      the event, said she doesn’t begrudge Giuliani or
      McCain for skipping the event, but thinks they did
      their Iowa campaigns a disservice.

      “You can’t get this many people together and not make
      an impact by staying away. You just can’t do it,” she
      said. “There’s just too many people here.”

      Staff writers Jennifer Jacobs and Jason Clayworth
      contributed to this article.
    • Ram Lau
      It took less votes to win the straw poll than to win a state representative seat. That s how meaningful the event was. ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 12 8:07 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        It took less votes to win the straw poll than to win a state
        representative seat. That's how "meaningful" the event was.


        --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070811/NEWS/70811009/1001&lead=1
        >
        > Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd
        > THOMAS BEAUMONT AND JENNIFER JACOBS
        > REGISTER STAFF WRITERS
        >
        > August 11, 2007
        >
        > Ames, Ia. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt
        > Romney emerged on top at Iowa GOP's straw poll
        > Saturday in Ames.
        >
        > The win boosted the former Massachusetts governor's
        > standing as the party's frontrunner in Iowa, although
        > attendance at this first show of Iowa campaign
        > strength appeared to fall short of expectations.
        >
        > Candidate Votes Pct.
        > 1. Mitt Romney 4,516 31.6%
        > 2. Mike Huckabee 2,587 18.1%
        > 3. Sam Brownback 2,192 15.3%
        > 4. Tom Tancredo 1,960 13.7%
        > 5. Ron Paul 1,305 9.1%
        > 6. Tommy Thompson 1,039 7.3%
        > 7. Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
        > 8. Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
        > 9. Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
        > 10. John McCain 101 0.7%
        > 11. John Cox 41 0.3%
        >
        >
        > Romney, who heavily outspent his opponents preparing
        > for the fundraising event, received 4,516 votes or
        > 31.6 percent.
        >
        > Roughly 30,000 to 33,000 Republicans attended the
        > state party fundraiser on the Iowa State University
        > campus, short of organizers' goal of exceeding the
        > crowd of 38,000 who attended the most recent straw
        > poll in 1999.
        >
        > A factor in the lower turnout was the absence of some
        > of the field's better-known candidates — former New
        > York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of
        > Arizona, and likely candidate Fred Thompson, a former
        > U.S. senator from Tennessee.
        >
        > Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had said his
        > campaign's future depended on a strong showing in
        > Ames. He finished in second place, with 2,587 votes or
        > 18.1 percent. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas placed
        > third with 2,192 votes, 15.3 percent after campaigning
        > aggressively to be the choice of the Iowa GOP's
        > influential social conservatives.
        >
        > "Obviously this was an incredible day and victory for
        > us," Huckabee said. "What happened for us today was
        > stunning."
        >
        > Huckabee said he and his campaign staff had been
        > saying they had momentum and it proved true.
        >
        > "We overperformed," he said. "The bigger story is we
        > did it with not a dime of paid advertising."
        >
        > He said he hopes all the people who promised they'd
        > get behind him "if he got traction" will now step
        > forward.
        >
        > Meanwhile, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who
        > said he would quit the race if he finished worse than
        > second place, finished sixth with 1,039 votes or 7.3
        > percent.
        >
        > Thompson could exit the race as early as Sunday.
        >
        > "Clearly it'll be difficult for the campaign to
        > continue," said Thompson's Iowa adviser, Steve Grubbs.
        >
        > Grubbs said Thompson will likely go to church Sunday,
        > like he always does, and contemplate his future. An
        > announcement will come later Sunday or Monday, his
        > aide said.
        >
        > Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement
        > of the vote totals. About 1,500 ballots needed to be
        > recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for
        > Republican Party of Iowa.
        >
        > Two machines caused the problem, said State Auditor
        > David Vaudt. "What likely happened is someone
        > submitted their ballot too quickly after the other,"
        > he said. The ballots from those machines were hand
        > counted, then re-fed into the system to recalculate
        > the vote. A campaign poll-watcher said in one
        > instance, a black box contained 500 paper ballots but
        > the machine's memory said it had scanned in 498.
        >
        > Romney, the leader in recent Iowa polls, had said a
        > victory in Ames would ensure his place in his party's
        > top tier nationally. He described himself Saturday as
        > the candidate of change that he argued the party
        > requires in order to win in 2008.
        >
        > "Change begins in Iowa and change begins today,"
        > Romney told more than 10,000 Republican activists
        > during his speech at Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum. "If
        > there's ever been a time we need to see a change in
        > Iowa, it's now."
        >
        > U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, who had banked much his
        > campaign on a strong straw poll showing, said the
        > results were his "ticket to the caucuses" and pledged
        > to continue the race.
        >
        > "We're still in this race, we're still going to move
        > aggressively forward," Brownback told a crowd of 50 in
        > his tent. "We've separated ourselves from the rest of
        > the field."
        > Brownback said his campaign, which has not yet used
        > televised ads, planned to begin buying air time.
        >
        > Romney, Brownback, Huckabee and Thompson were among
        > eight candidates to attend the high-profile political
        > festival that marks the end of the first round of the
        > campaign for Iowa's leadoff GOP nominating caucuses.
        > The straw poll votes are nonbinding, and voters are
        > free to choose another candidate in the official Iowa
        > caucuses.
        >
        > Giuliani's and McCain's decisions in June to skip the
        > event altered the straw poll's role. Typically seen as
        > a potential first measure of candidate strength in the
        > field at large, this year's event was more of an
        > opportunity for a second-tier candidate to emerge.
        >
        > Candidates also attending were U.S. Reps. Duncan
        > Hunter of California, Ron Paul of Texas and Tom
        > Tancredo of Colorado, as well as Chicago businessman
        > John Cox.
        >
        > Brownback had sparred with Romney in the weeks leading
        > up to Saturday, challenging Romney's commitment to
        > opposing abortion rights, a key issue to Republican
        > stalwarts in Iowa. Brownback, who opposes abortion
        > rights, had been conducting a telephone campaign
        > attacking Romney on his abortion position and other
        > issues.
        >
        > "We win when we stand on principles and do not abandon
        > them," Brownback said in an indirect reference to his
        > criticism of Romney, who supported abortion rights
        > until after his election to governor in 2002.
        >
        > The event was expected to raise roughly $1 million for
        > the Iowa Republican Party, partly through sales of the
        > $35 tickets, but more through rental fees the
        > candidates and interest groups paid to set up tents
        > around Hilton Coliseum.
        >
        > Participating candidates viewed the event as a
        > practice run for mobilizing their Iowa organizations,
        > a priority in the organization-heavy caucuses,
        > scheduled to launch the 2008 nominating contests in
        > January.
        >
        > Romney, Brownback and Huckabee had rented hundreds of
        > tour buses to deliver their supporters to the grounds
        > around Hilton Coliseum.
        >
        > The campaigns bought up blocs of thousands of tickets
        > and handed them out to their supporters, with more
        > than just hope that they would vote for them at voting
        > stations in Hilton Coliseum and nearby buildings.
        >
        > Romney's campaign aides had asked people who received
        > a ticket from them to sign a pledge to vote for the
        > candidate, which annoyed at least one family. Voting
        > generally went smoothly, although the sweltering day's
        > high humidity was a factor in some ballots sticking
        > together, which caused marginal delays, party
        > officials said.
        >
        > The grounds around the coliseum were transformed by
        > mid-morning into a scale model of the Iowa State Fair,
        > going on 40 miles south in Des Moines. A Ferris wheel
        > sponsored by FairTax, a group promoting tax reform,
        > spun while Des Moines rock band The Nadas jammed on a
        > stage set up in Romney's compound outside Hilton
        > Coliseum.
        >
        > Hundreds of attendees streamed onto the grounds as
        > buses from all over the state unloaded.
        >
        > With roughly 50 voting machines set up in sites in
        > Hilton and surrounding buildings, lines formed quickly
        > as balloting began at 10 a.m. Staff from the Story
        > County auditor's office supervised the voting, and
        > state Auditor David Vaudt oversaw the ballot counting.
        > There were few complaints about the voting process.
        >
        > Inside, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham was the
        > master of ceremonies, and the polished stagecraft
        > included candidate videos played on jumbo screens.
        >
        > The nation's political news media were focused on the
        > event, despite the high-profile no-shows. More than
        > 400 members of at least 150 news organizations were on
        > hand covering the event.Dozens of satellite news
        > trucks crowded the parking area just south of the
        > arena.
        >
        > Giuliani said in June that he would not participate in
        > the straw poll, suggesting his campaign could more
        > wisely spend the estimated $3million it would take to
        > prepare for Ames by investing in his early-state
        > campaigns.
        >
        > McCain said his reason for giving up his straw poll
        > plan was that Giuliani's absence diminished the
        > contest's significance. Later, McCain slashed his Iowa
        > and national campaign organizations in light of
        > financial trouble.
        >
        > "I think anybody who is not in the straw poll made a
        > mistake," U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa
        > Republican, told reporters. "They are losing an
        > opportunity to refortify their national position. And
        > particularly Giuliani, that's for sure."
        >
        > Lorna Burnside, a rare undecided Republican attending
        > the event, said she doesn't begrudge Giuliani or
        > McCain for skipping the event, but thinks they did
        > their Iowa campaigns a disservice.
        >
        > "You can't get this many people together and not make
        > an impact by staying away. You just can't do it," she
        > said. "There's just too many people here."
        >
        > Staff writers Jennifer Jacobs and Jason Clayworth
        > contributed to this article.
        >
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