The Illinois Republican Party will hold a nonbinding presidential straw poll Nov. 5, three months before Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire hold their first-in-the-nation caucus and primary.
The Illinois straw poll will take place one year before the general election, the state GOP announced at a dinner fundraiser in Chicago on Saturday night. Illinois’ GOP presidential primary will be held in March 2012.
“We hope to bring the time and attention of the presidential candidates to Illinois,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said in a release. “New Hampshire and Iowa should not have all the fun.”
Potential Republican presidential candidates were in the audience for the Saturday night fundraiser, which celebrated the late President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Ambassador John Bolton attended, as did Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), who announced in late January that he would not run for president.
Illinois, the home state of President Barack Obama (D), is unlikely to be contested in the general election.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.