There’s another day of intense politicking in Iowa before the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll on Saturday.
Six of the candidates who are participating in that event will be on the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines today — along with non-candidate Sarah Palin. Craig Bergman of Des Moines was in the audience at last night’s candidate debate in Ames, but he says none of the eight who were on stage can hold a candle to Palin.
“I kept listening to the answers that the people were giving and thinking, ‘No! You should say this,’ ‘No! You should say this,'” Bergman says. “And I think when Sarah Palin in gets in — who’s very good with sound bites, very good with the stump speeches — it would just come naturally from her and the things that I wanted them to say would have been said.”
One of the candidates who is participating in Saturday’s Straw Poll was not allowed on last night’s debate stage. Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter did not meet the threshold of garnering an average of one percent support in a handful of recent polls.
“I was asked the question earlier, you know, ‘How do you recover from not being in the debate?'” McCotter said last night in the “spin room” after the debate. “I think the real question is how do they recover from being it.”
McCotter is scheduled to speak on The Des Moines Register’s “Soap Box” at the fair this morning. Newt Gingrich, a candidate who is not participating in tomorrow’s Straw Poll festivities, will speak at the Fair later this afternoon. His fiesty performance at last night’s debate in Ames caught the attention of many of the Iowa Republicans in the audience. Mindy Ginger of Des Moines says she had essentially written Gingrich off as a legitimate candidate earlier this summer, but his debate performance has convinced her to take a second look.
“The press has been beating up on Newt Gingrich and he just wasn’t going to take it any longer,” she says, “and we’re proud of Newt for that.”
Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman — three candidates who were in last night’s debate — will all have their names listed on tomorrow’s Straw Poll ballot, even though none are participating in the event. There’s also a “write-in” line on the ballot, so supporters of other candidates and potential candidates, like Palin, can write in those names. The Straw Poll voting starts at 10 o’clock tomorrow. Participants must show an Iowa driver’s license to vote.