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Old 08-11-2007, 07:33 PM  
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Iowa Straw Poll Day: Results, Opinions & Voting Machine Mayhem

Romney wins straw poll, Huckabee 2nd

Candidate Votes
Results are certified by State Auditor David Vaudt and Chairman Ray Hoffmann:

Mitt Romney
4516
31.5%

Mike Huckabee
2587
18.1%

Sam Brownback
2192
15.3%

Tom Tancredo
1961
13.7%

Ron Paul
1305
9.1%

Tommy Thompson
1039
7.3%

Fred Thompson
203
1.4%

Rudy Giuliani
183
1.3%

Duncan Hunter
174
1.2%

John McCain
101
1.0%

John Cox
41
0.1%

14,302 Total Votes
26,000 Total Tickets Sold
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August 11, 2007

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won today's Iowa Straw Poll, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee coming in second place.

Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement of the vote totals tonight at the Iowa Straw Poll. About 1,500 ballots needed to be recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for Republican Party of Iowa. One machine caused the problem, said Chuck Laudner, the party’s executive director.


Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement of the vote totals tonight at the Iowa Straw Poll.

About 1,500 ballots needed to be recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for Republican Party of Iowa.

One machine caused the problem, said Chuck Laudner, the party’s executive director.

At one point, its black box contained 500 paper ballots but the machine’s memory said it had scanned in 498.

All the ballots fed into that machine throughout the day were hand counted, and now are being re-fed into the machine to recalculate the vote.

“As soon as they get down to the bottom of that stack the results are finished and they’ll be up on the board,” Laudner said at 7:45 p.m.

The machine was at a voting station in the Scheman Building, and the problem was noted by campaign poll-watchers before the poll closed.

Under a blanket of relentless August heat, thousands of Iowa Republicans, most of the party's candidates for president, and a horde of reporters and photographers from around the globe converged on Ames today for an early exercise in the process of picking a Republican presidential candidate.

Whether the Iowa Republican Party's presidential straw poll is over-hyped and overrated was not foremost on the minds of the party members who trekked to Hilton Coliseum to take in this spectacle in American politics.

On their minds, of course, were the eight candidates for president who were in Ames and the message they had for the participants.

But for some people, what was on their minds was the food that the candidates had trucked in for the event — following through on the theory that one way to people’s hearts and minds is to go through their stomachs.

A virtual buffet line of interest groups were at Hilton, too — using the event as a way to spread their message with the people who turned out under the day’s bright blue skies.

Participants had the chance to rub shoulders with eight of the party's candidates, listen to entertainers lined up by various candidates, sit in on the speeches the eight candidates were going to give this afternoon, and then cast their vote in the straw poll.

The results will be announced at 7 p.m.

"What the straw poll is going to do is weed out some of the field," said Roger Hughes, a former Hamilton County Republican chairman, who helped devise the GOP fundraising event and early Iowa test 30 years ago.

The event raises money for the Iowa Republican Party through the rental fees the candidates and interest groups pay to erect their tents. And tickets for individual participants are $35 each.

The straw poll is intended to demonstrate which campaigns have best mobilized their supporters five months in advance of the Iowa precinct caucuses.

The run-up to the straw poll has produced a bitter fight between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the clear favorite who has invested the most in preparing for the nonbinding vote, and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who hopes to leave Ames as the candidate favored by Iowa social conservatives.

Also attending the event are candidates John Cox of Illinois, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Ron Paul of Texas and Tom Tancredo of Colorado, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Despite its significance as the largest gathering of Republicans before the party's 2008 national convention in Minneapolis, the straw poll has endured doubts about its significance this year — especially since well-known candidates Rudy Giuliani and John McCain decided to stay away from the event.

Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, will be idle in New York today. McCain, a senator from Arizona, will be campaigning in New Hampshire, aides said.

Likewise, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who is planning to announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination in the coming weeks, stayed away from Ames, too.

All three no-shows will be on the straw poll's ballot, however.

Romney has the most riding on the straw poll, and he hopes to meet the high bar he has set by his heavy financial investment in preparing for the event. Romney has paid a consultant roughly $200,000 to carry out his straw poll plan.

He has tried to control expectations in recent weeks in an attempt to avoid an underwhelming performance. But Romney's campaign also has been conducting an automated telephone campaign to encourage non-Republicans to attend the Ames event.

Giuliani aides sought to heap on the pressure by suggesting that Romney could win the voting today by an 8-to-1 margin over the second-place finisher.

Romney has led in most polls of GOP caucusgoers in Iowa, although national polls have shown him trailing Giuliani, McCain and Fred Thompson.

Romney said a victory would be read as a breakthrough moment for his campaign nationally.

"For whoever wins, it will be a very positive boost for their campaign," Romney said in an interview. "I think it will boost recognition around the country. You know the names, but people who do well in Ames and in Iowa get a real turbo charge for their national campaign."

That happened in 1999 when George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, won the Ames straw poll en route to a first-place finish in the 2000 Iowa caucuses.

Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas tied for first with Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas in the 1995 straw poll before Dole went on to capture the caucuses.

Brownback has gone after Romney in the weeks leading up to today's event, with the hope of diminishing Romney's support among strict social conservatives, a loyal bloc of straw poll attendees.

"The straw poll and the caucuses are a very targeted group you are trying to reach," Brownback said in an interview. "It's showing differences in the candidates which will come up throughout the election cycle, leadership on core issues."

The three high-profile absences of Giuliani, McCain and Fred Thompson have changed the nature of the straw poll from a potential first look at candidate strength in the field at large to a chance for someone in the second tier of candidates to emerge.

Any candidate who attends the straw poll and finishes behind a candidate who skips the event should reconsider whether to stay in the race, said John Maxwell, top adviser to Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.

"It all boils down to this: If you put a lot of emphasis on the straw poll and don't do well, how do you get the money to continue going?" asked Maxwell.

Tommy Thompson, who has crisscrossed Iowa regularly, said flatly that he would quit the race if he does not win or place second today.

"If a candidate doesn't win, place or show, they should not go on," Thompson said. "I've also elevated it. I will not go on if I don't win or place."

The Iowa Republican Party is hoping more than 38,000 people attend the event today, topping the attendance of the 1999 event. More than 400 press credentials have been requested by journalists planning to cover the event, party officials said.

Parking for more than 500 motor coaches has been arranged to accommodate the 100 or more buses each rented by Brownback, Huckabee and Romney.

Brownback has arranged for food from Famous Dave's for more than 5,000 people.

Last edited by banyon; 08-11-2007 at 07:41 PM..
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:37 PM   #2
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The results were delayed by more than an hour. The Republican Party of Iowa is blaming "machine difficulties." At least 1,500 ballots from one machine had to be counted by hand, and took far longer than expected.

The situation may have added fuel to the fire of some Ron Paul supporters who had tried unsuccessfully to block voting at the event because of the machines. They'd filed a federal lawsuit earlier this week, arguing that the vote-counting machines, made by Diebold Election Systems, had fundamental weaknesses.

As many as 40,000 Republicans participated in the straw poll on the grounds of Iowa State University.

For some of the candidates, a poor showing could prompt them to drop out of the race.

http://www.kxmc.com/News/151940.asp
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:44 PM   #3
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:53 PM   #4
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2000 Democra$y in action

What it Means and How to Win
It’s the first real test of candidates on two different levels: organization and support. A win in Ames generally means you’ve succeeded in both of those arenas. And it also means you’ve succeeded in raising extravagant amounts of cash prior to the event.

Consider these statistics: Dubya spent $825,000 on the event in 1999 and walked away with first place. Steve Forbes spent over $2 million for his second place finish. What did they spend the money on?

A better question might be what didn’t they spend the money on. Tickets to the event in 1999 were $25 apiece, which all the campaigns gladly paid for in return for a vote. Parking cost money, which again, the campaigns paid for - if you even drove your own vehicle and didn’t take one of the free buses the campaigns chartered. Each campaign had tents outside the main hall for which they paid money - increasing in price the closer to the hall the tent space was (the apex being Bush’s tent, which was closest to the hall and cost him $63,000). At each tent, the campaigns offered food and drinks as well as live music from famous musicians, all free. Steve Forbes even hosted a carnival of sorts, complete with children’s rides that he rented and set up. All in the quest to attract voters.

Truth be told, the real winner of the Ames Straw Poll is the Iowa GOP which hosts the event as its annual fundraiser.

This should be instructive when thinking about how to win the poll now, in 2007. If Bush spent nearly a million dollars and Forbes nearly two million eight years ago, one can only imagine how much the campaigns will spend on the event this year. That does not bode well for poorly funded campaigns such as Tommy Huckback, Gilmore, Paul, or Tancredo. And it says something to the chances of a late-comer such as Fred Thompson succeeding in such an environment.

Of course, there are always going to be the die hards that will pay their own tickets, drive their own cars, vote, and go home all without being tied to a campaign, but the vast majority of the voters there will be there thanks to candidates’ generosity.

But, as mentioned above, organization is only one half of the coin. You can’t very well pay for people’s tickets to the event if you can’t find people who support you enough to go in the first place and sit through hours of speeches and give up their entire Saturday just to throw your name in a box - and for a poll, nonetheless, not even a real election. This is where all the grassroots campaigning leading up to the event pays off. You’ve gotta have a voter base to turnout in the first place before you can start paying for tickets and bus rides and the like.

So it takes both to emerge victorious in Ames: support from people who want to go and vote for you, and the organization to get more of them there than your opponents can. And in 1999, the results did mean something - after disappointing finishes at Ames, Alexander and Quayle both dropped out of the race; after his first place showing, Bush’s frontrunner status was cemented (at least until McCain got in the race a month later).

Roughly a hundred days from now, we will watch the hoopla and extravagance with great excitement and great anticipation, because the Ames Straw Poll is the first real test of the candidates’ strength in this campaign.

http://race42008.com/2007/04/26/the-ames-straw-poll/
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:57 PM   #5
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Huckabee definitely gains momentum with this thing.

I'm surprised that Tancredo beat out Paul.
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon
Steve Forbes even hosted a carnival of sorts, complete with children’s rides that he rented and set up. All in the quest to attract voters.
Mitt Romney had a Junior World's Fair set up. Even a little Ferris Wheel.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:08 PM   #7
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Good Lord, that is bad. I watched some of the speeches on TV today and Brownback said that he was bringing back the American family. He wants every house to have two parents. That was his platform. He didn't explain how he would legislate that position, but I'm sure it sounded good.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitt Gorilla
Good Lord, that is bad. I watched some of the speeches on TV today and Brownback said that he was bringing back the American family. He wants every house to have two parents. That was his platform. He didn't explain how he would legislate that position, but I'm sure it sounded good.
I think he's going to do it with those glitter-dancers (above).
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitt Gorilla
Good Lord, that is bad. I watched some of the speeches on TV today and Brownback said that he was bringing back the American family. He wants every house to have two parents. That was his platform. He didn't explain how he would legislate that position, but I'm sure it sounded good.
I can't believe it!
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:35 PM   #10
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Pitt, the turnout was half what was expected. They expected 30,000.
That's not very good either.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Sam Brownback
2192
15.3%

Tom Tancredo
1961
13.7%
What the ****ing Jesus?

And why would someone buy a ticket to vote and then not vote?
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
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What the ****ing Jesus?

And why would someone buy a ticket to vote and then not vote?
Alcohol I'd guess. That's probably why they bought a Tancredo ticket in the first place.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:31 PM   #13
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BTW banyon, the judge on Friday regaring the Diebold machine controversy said it was not an election but a private event and the Iowa GOP could run their event any way they wanted. Kinda ironic that a conservative/libertarian reason for his desicion was made against a libertarian candidate.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon
As many as 40,000 Republicans participated in the straw poll on the grounds of Iowa State University.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/016490.php

Keep in mind, organizers hoped for 20,000 straw-poll participants today, and the total was just over 14,000. Eight years ago, nearly 24,000 Republicans took part in the event.

Some of this, it's fair to say, is the result of some top-tier candidates deciding not to participate in Ames, but it also speaks to the ongoing lack of enthusiasm for the GOP field of candidates. (When Obama polls better among Iowa Republicans than several Republican candidates, I think it's fair to say the field is struggling to inspire the GOP faithful.)
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jAZ
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/016490.php

Keep in mind, organizers hoped for 20,000 straw-poll participants today, and the total was just over 14,000. Eight years ago, nearly 24,000 Republicans took part in the event.

Some of this, it's fair to say, is the result of some top-tier candidates deciding not to participate in Ames, but it also speaks to the ongoing lack of enthusiasm for the GOP field of candidates. (When Obama polls better among Iowa Republicans than several Republican candidates, I think it's fair to say the field is struggling to inspire the GOP faithful.)
I musta missed banyon's post but just adding up the tallies show it was just over 14,000. Thanks for putting this up about the lack of enthusiasm too...as that was my thought as well.

One guy buys it; the rest who placed were obviously selected by usually high turn out Evangelicals or strongly pro-war types who are disconnected from everybody else in the country. Does not bode well for the main election, imo.

My guess is that the other Pubs leaning toward Obama are going for electability. I have to admit awhile back, if Paul hadn't arrived on the scene, I considered switchin' registration temporarily to at least nominate Obama.
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