Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has decided to forego the quadrennial Iowa Straw Poll (to be held in Boone, not Ames this year) He states that the expense and efforts are not worth it when only conservative candidates show up, leaving establishment candidates in a better position to go forward.
He also intimates that the last winner of the straw poll in 2007 (Michelle Bachmann) did not fare well in the caucuses. Mitt Romney finished 7th in the straw poll, but came close to beating Rick Santorum in the caucuses, who had finished 4th in the straw poll and won the caucuses. Ron Paul finished 2nd in 2007 in the straw poll.
Huckabee summarized his position this way:
History will repeat itself if we don’t learn from the past. It’s clear that pitting conservative candidates with limited resources against each other in a non-binding and expensive summer straw poll battle, while allowing billionaire-backed establishment candidates to sit out, will only wound and weaken the conservative candidates who best represent conservative and hard-working Iowans.
Jeb Bush had previously announced that he would not participate.
Huckabee is quick to say that he is not writing off the Iowa Caucuses, but states he intends to fight for every vote there and visit the state as frequently as he did in 2008, when he won the Iowa Caucus. The straw poll will be held August 8th, this year.
His announcement was sent to his supporters by email, prior to it being published as an op-ed piece in the Des Moines Register, this morning.