Two of the Republican Party’s presidential candidates announced this week that they will not participate financially in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in August.
But while Rudy Giuliani and John McCain will likely skip making an appearance in Ames that day, their names will still be on the Straw Poll ballot according to Chuck Laudner, the Iowa Republican Party’s executive director. "It’s not up to the candidates to decide. We decide as Iowa Republicans who we want the next president of the United States to be," Laudner says.
Former Congressman Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle, one of Giuliani’s campaign consultants, advised the former New York mayor to skip the Straw Poll. Nussle says the Straw Poll "is not a serious event" and should not be treated as "significant."
The Iowa GOP’s executive director says Nussle "didn’t make any friends" in the Iowa Republican establishment with his statements. Laudner also suggests with the McCain and Giuliani — two candidates who appeal to moderates — out of the mix, most of the Straw Poll voters will probably be party conservatives.
"It was going to be the showcase of the ‘big tent’ and it was going to be that event that brings all of these people in," Laudner says. "Every one of these candidates have a coalition that they could bring in that maybe otherwise wouldn’t come."