The Iowa Republican Party is putting Fred Thompson’s name on the ballot for its Straw Poll on August 11th, along with 10 other GOP candidates who have publicly declared their White House aspirations.
Chuck Laudner, the executive director of the Iowa Republican Party, says he anticipates that Thompson will be an "official" candidate by August 11th. "The ballots had to be sent to the printer and we asked Fred Thompson last week if he had any last words for us before we hit the send button, but he didn’t," Laudner says.
Laudner expects "a lot" of "undecided" voters to attend the event because other organizations, like the NRA are hosting meetings and seminars in Ames that day. "Just the attraction of the event itself is going to bring some people that aren’t commited to a candidate but they want to see this show," Laudner says. "That is going to be one of the interesting things that is going to play out that day is who is going to reap these undecided voters the day of the event."
The Straw Poll ballot requires a choice among the 11 candidates listed. Undecided is not an option. "I don’t ever care for the statement that Republicans are dissatisfied with the field. It’s like the Yankee fan isn’t satisfied with their team, but they sure like that Jeeter guy," Laudner says. "We’ve got Republicans in Iowa that like two, three, four (or) five of these guys and maybe they don’t like this one. Maybe they don’t like that one, for whatever reason, but the Republicans that we communicate with are having a hard time deciding."
The Iowa Republican Party expects to haul in a million dollars from the event through sales of $35 tickets that allow the ticket-holder to vote. Laudner anticipates at least 40,000 people will attend the Straw Poll. Voters must show a valid Iowa ID in order cast a Straw Poll ballot.
"After that, they’ll have to dip their finger Iraqi style," Laudner says. As you may recall, voters in Iraqi dipped a finger into deep blue ink as a sign they’d voted and as means of preventing someone from voting more than once.
The party plans to scan each voter’s ticket and their ID and plug that information into a computer system in order to prevent repeat usage at the Straw Poll.
Click on the audio link below to hear Laudner’s Straw Poll briefing for the media.