Mike Huckabee has become the second prominent presidential candidate to announce he will not participate in the Iowa GOP’s Straw Poll in August, but Governor Terry Branstad discounts the idea the event may not happen.
“I expect there will a lot cadidates that will participate in that as there have been in a lot of the other events,” Branstad told reporters late this morning.
Huckabee called the Straw Poll a “non-binding and expensive” event that “will only wound and weaken the conservative candidates” who’d be forced to spend their limited campaign cash to battle it out.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced last week he will not attend the Straw Poll. Bush’s brother won the 1999 Straw Poll and his father won the first one in 1999. Huckabee finished second in the Iowa Straw Poll in 2007 and then won the Iowa Caucuses eight months later. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has also said he’ll spend his resouces elsewhere and skip the Iowa Straw Poll.
Branstad, a Republican, said it’s too early to say the Straw Poll is sinking.
“There’s a lot of candidates and each candidate will make their own decision as to what they will participate in,” Branstad told reporters.
A year and a half ago Branstad said the Straw Poll should not happen, but in January the Iowa GOP’s governing board voted unanimously to have it. Last week the party announced it would pick up the cost of party tents for each candidate that plays in the Straw Poll, but most candidates are still weighing the expense of purchasing the $30 tickets for supporters to ensure they’ll do well in the Straw Poll vote.