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Re: Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd at Iowa straw poll

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Aug 12, 2007
      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@...>
      > Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd
      > 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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