Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is continuing his critique of the Iowa Straw Poll, a Republican fundraising event traditionally held the summer before the state’s precinct caucuses start the presidential nominating season.
Branstad told reporters today at his weekly news conference at the state Capitol that the straw poll has lost its importance, and it’s time to create new events to take its place.
“The caucuses are what’s most important and that’s what I want to keep the focus on. is keeping the precinct caucuses first in the nation,” Branstad said, according to Radio Iowa.
The straw poll has typically been held in August in Ames. Last week, the governor told the Wall Street Journal the event shouldn’t be held again, prompting complaints from the chairman of the state’s Republican Party.
“Really, the candidates are going to decide whether that continues or not and in recent years we’re seeing more and more candidates choose not to participate,” Branstad said today.
The governor also expressed doubts that the last straw poll raised that much money for the party after the bills were paid and challenged party leaders to reveal those figures.
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the 2011 straw poll, a win that helped knock her fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, from the Republican presidential race. Bachmann later finished sixth in the Iowa caucuses.
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE RADIO IOWA DISPATCH: