A handful of candidates are traversing the state in the days leading up the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in Ames, offering not only their views on the issues, but promising freebies at the event, too.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has a flier boasting that Romney’s party just outside Hilton Colesium in Ames will feature "world-class entertainment" — although there’s no word yet on who the entertainers are — as well as "Iowa’s best barbecue" from Hickory Park, a popular Ames restaurant.
A fellow who identified himself as Alan from the Romney campaign left this message on a northwest Iowan’s answering machine. "We’re providing free transportation, food, entertainment and free Straw Poll admission tickets," Alan said. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback is offering a barbecue feast catered by the "Famous Dave’s" chain to Iowans who show up at his tent in Ames.
"I’m not jumping over Iowa. We’re going right through it," Brownback told an Iowa crowd over the weekend. "I’d love to have your help at the Straw Poll. We’ve got wrist bands if you need to be reminded. They’re brown for Brownback. Pretty simple. Not anything fancy. August 11. We’ve got tickets. We’ve got buses and we’d love to have you there participating in it."
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo is putting up a few thousand dollars in prize money for what the Tancredo campaign calls its "Iowa Idol" competition. Would-be contestants can send their audition tapes into the campaign and 10 acts will be selected to compete in Tancredo’s party spot at the Straw Poll for a top prize of one-thousand dollars.
Aides to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee says it’s not confirmed yet, but Huckabee and his band may play in Huckabee’s party place, not as a competitor in Tancredo’s "Iowa Idol."