The Republican Party of Iowa announced Thursday that its presidential straw poll will be held Aug. 13, 2011, in Ames. The announcement came on the heels of news that Florida Republicans are hoping to schedule their own early nonbinding straw poll.
The Iowa straw poll has traditionally been a place for candidates to test their strength among Iowa Republican activists before the caucus in January. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the straw poll in 2007, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee impressed insiders with his second-place finish. Huckabee went on to win Iowa’s Republican caucus in 2008.
Not long after a poor showing in the 2007 straw poll, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback dropped out of the race for the presidency. Eventual Republican nominee Sen. John McCain skipped the straw poll in 2007 and finished fourth in the caucus.
“This is the first true test of support in the presidential nominating cycle,” Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn said in a statement. “Candidates come face-to-face with tens of thousands of Iowans at the Straw Poll, and will reach every corner of our state and a national audience in our presidential debate. Candidates who perform well here will enjoy a national boost in support.”
This year, the straw poll will include a debate Aug. 11, 2011, which will be broadcast on Fox News. However, it won’t be the first debate scheduled for Republican presidential candidates: On June 7, 2011, a group of media outlets will host a debate in New Hampshire, and another debate is tentatively scheduled at the Reagan Presidential Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif., in the spring.
Correction: Dec. 17, 2010
The article misstated the date of the Iowa straw poll. It is Aug. 13, 2011.