New Iowa poll shows Cain leading Paul and Romney (updated)

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and Representative Ron Paul have pushed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney into third place in a new Iowa Republican poll for Iowa State University, the Cedar Rapids Gazette and KCRG TV. However, less than two months before the Iowa caucuses, the majority of likely participants are still not committed to any candidate.

UPDATE: Now Rasmussen has a new Iowa poll showing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich way ahead among likely caucus-goers, followed by Romney and Cain. Details are below.

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Gingrich implodes, Romney skips straw poll and other Iowa caucus news

Political junkies may not have Newt Gingrich to kick around much longer. His whole presidential campaign staff quit yesterday, frustrated by the candidate’s lack of a work ethic.

Iowa Republicans will have fewer chances to kick Mitt Romney around this summer. The former Massachusetts governor won’t compete in the Iowa GOP’s straw poll this August, his campaign confirmed yesterday.

After the jump I have more links on those stories and other Republican presidential candidate news. I’ve got nothing on the Iowa GOP Lincoln dinner fundraiser that was supposed to be held tonight, though, because the state party canceled that event after Donald Trump backed out.

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Gingrich campaign deathwatch discussion thread

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was poised to capitalize on Mike Huckabee’s decision not to run for president. Gingrich announced his Iowa leadership team last week. Chaired by House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, who endorsed Gingrich months ago, the high-powered crew includes activist and attorney Craig Schoenfeld as executive director, Iowa House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Kaufmann as senior policy advisor, Katie Koberg (former vice-president of Iowans for Tax Relief) as deputy director and Will Rogers as grassroots director.

Huckabee’s announcement sparked a wave of “Iowa is wide open” news coverage, just as Gingrich was set to kick off a five-day Iowa tour. In 2010 Gingrich quietly helped raise $200,000 for the campaign against retaining three Iowa Supreme Court judges, which might have helped him with the social conservatives who were Huckabee’s base supporters.

It all started to go wrong Sunday…

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DMR Blog: Scene From A Party

I don’t flog my postings on politics at the Des Moines Register as much as I probably should considering that it amounts to most of my more substantial political blogging nowadays. But, I’m pretty proud of this one from a pure gonzo/literary standpoint.

Now, I wonder if Katie Koberg will take the bait?

I also wonder if my editor will call me out for using the term, “circle jerk,” in the Register’s blog.

It also occurrs to me that I never properly thanked desmoinesdem in public for tipping me for that position.

Thanks [desmoinesdem]! Drinks on me when I’m next in DM.

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Iowa GOP outsourcing special election to special interests

When your party suffers a net loss of seats in the state House and Senate for four elections in a row, it’s time to try something different. In the case of the Republican Party of Iowa, that apparently means outsourcing operations for the September 1 special election in Iowa House district 90.

In a July 31 e-mail blast, Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn encouraged activists to contact “Matt Gronewald, our Legislative Majority Fund Director,” if they would like to volunteer for Stephen Burgmeier, the Republican candidate in district 90. However, Burgmeier’s campaign website tells the real story:

 To volunteer please contact:

   * Katie Koberg, katiekoberg@gmail.com, 515-971-4571

   * Mary Earnhardt, mkearnhardt@gmail.com, 515-778-5229

   * Mark Doland, luviowa10@aol.com, 641-295-0135

Koberg and Earnhardt serve as vice president and policy director, respectively, for the conservative group Iowans for Tax Relief. The Iowa Republican blog’s Al Swearengen was partly right when he wrote,

Ed Failor Jr. and Iowans for Tax Relief are running the entire campaign effort in the special election…

Word is that Failor has committeed big dollars to the race and already has his ITR staff embedded in the district and running the race […]

Anybody that questions the power and influence of Failor and ITR need to look no further than this race…they are running this race…and are in charge of all House and Senate elections…

I say Swearengen was partly right because Burgmeier’s site also lists Mark Doland, who is on the Iowa Family Policy Center’s payroll as chief candidate recruiter.

You may remember the Iowa Family Policy Center, which organized a petition drive in April to pressure county recorders not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The “views” page on Burgmeier’s campaign website doesn’t talk about same-sex marriage, but Burgmeier is on record supporting legislative action to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court ruling, which matches the agenda of Iowa Family Policy Center Action (the group’s political wing).

The special election in district 90 won’t change the balance of power in the Iowa House, but it is the first high-profile race since Republicans selected Strawn to be state chairman in January. Strawn can’t be too confident about the party’s ability to fund and manage a statehouse campaign if he is giving outside interest groups control over this race.

Democrats within striking distance of district 90 can sign up here to volunteer for Curt Hanson.

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