Ames straw poll news and discussion thread

The Republican Party of Iowa gets its first bite at the apple today, raking in money at the Ames straw poll event. Six presidential candidates who paid for space at the venue will speak to the crowd, along with five GOP elected officials and state party chairman Matt Strawn. I’ve posted the speaking schedule below and will update this post throughout the day.

Nine candidates will appear on the straw poll ballot: the eight who debated Thursday night plus Representative Thad McCotter of Michigan. Voting closes at 4 pm, but it may take Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz a long time to tabulate results because of the large number of expected write-ins. Speaking of Schultz, I noticed on the Secretary of State’s website yesterday that he has put out only one press release since his embarrassing smackdown of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman two months ago. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board dismissed an ethics complaint that the Iowa Democratic Party filed regarding that press release.

Any comments about the spectacle are welcome in this thread, especially first-person accounts from Bleeding Heartland users who are in Ames today.

Which candidates, if any, will receive fewer votes than write-ins Sarah Palin, Texas Governor Rick Perry or “Rick Parry,” the name Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC is pushing? I expect McCotter will have a tough day. Don’t know who is supporting him besides former Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants, and he doesn’t have a huge following in the Iowa GOP anymore, to put it mildly. When McCotter bid for space at the straw poll, he probably wasn’t expecting to be left out of the Fox News debate. That plus the lack of time and money he’s spent in Iowa puts him at a big disadvantage.

If former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty does better than expected in the straw poll, he will owe thanks to a couple of outside groups. The American Petroleum Institute’s Iowa Energy Forum and Strong America Now both have organizational ties to the Pawlenty campaign. Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register discussed those connections and the outside groups’ work in greater detail here. Four years ago, Mike Huckabee’s Ames straw poll effort got a huge assist from Americans for Fair Taxation, helping Huckabee finish a close second to Mitt Romney.

UPDATE: News from the day is after the jump.

Iowa Straw Poll Speaking Schedule:

Noon- Program Begins

12:15- Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn delivers remarks

12:20- Governor Terry Branstad delivers remarks

12:30- Chairman Strawn welcomes all candidates on stage (press shot)

12:40- Senator Rick Santorum delivers remarks

1:00- Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds delivers remarks

1:15- Congressman Ron Paul delivers remarks

1:40- Congressman Steve King delivers remarks

1:50- Governor Tim Pawlenty delivers remarks

2:10- Senator Chuck Grassley delivers remarks

2:20- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann delivers remarks

2:40- Congressman Tom Latham delivers remarks

2:50- Congressman Thaddeus McCotter delivers remarks

3:15- Herman Cain delivers remarks

Straw Poll voting closes at 4pm. Chairman Matt Strawn will deliver the Straw Poll results on stage immediately after they’ve been tabulated.

UPDATE: Strawn introduced Branstad to the crowd as the man who put us “back in black”; cue AC/DC song. Ain’t that the truth. I still think Governor Chet Culver would have been re-elected against Bob Vander Plaats.

Meanwhile in South Carolina, Texas Governor Rick Perry told the crowd at a Redstate blog convention, “I declare to you today as a candidate for President of the United States.” Check out these photos of Perry as a young man.

Sarah Palin said during her Iowa State Fair visit that she will decide by September whether she is running. I think she will pass on the race and keep her Fox News contract.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum told the crowd he has visited 50 Iowa cities and towns in the past few weeks. He has raised far less money than most of the other candidates, and I see him as the Joe Biden in this GOP field. He got a big response from the crowd today when he talked about his record on abortion; I thought he had a pretty good debate on Thursday too.

Ron Paul also talked about abortion in his straw poll speech, saying we must protect all life, because life comes before liberty, all life is precious, and we can’t play God. He described the PATRIOT Act as an attack on American liberties and stuck with his longstanding criticism of the war in Iraq. Time to bring the troops home, we’re broke. A larger crowd showed up to hear Paul than Santorum.

Several Republicans on twitter have said the line to get into Bachmann’s tent is an hour long. Branstad’s communications director Tim Albrecht commented, “I have been to 4 #iastrawpoll events and never seen a line as long as Bachmann’s.”

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is campaigning in New Hampshire today. Speaking to CNN reporter Mark Preston, he predicted Bachmann, Paul and Pawlenty would finish first, second and third at the straw poll. I am not convinced Pawlenty will make the top three.

LATER UPDATE: O.Kay Henderson posted highlights from the Santorum, Paul and Pawlenty speeches here, and from the Bachmann, McCotter and Cain speeches here. As always, Pawlenty talked about his track record of “results,” not just speeches. We’ll see if his bus tour around central Iowa during the past ten days produced any results in Ames.

Someone in the Bachmann camp told Ben Smith of Politico that Bachmann has given away roughly 6,000 tickets to the straw poll. Ron Paul’s people claim to have given away about 4,000 tickets. If anywhere close to that number of people vote for Bachmann and Paul, the third-place candidate will be way behind. Pawlenty “should” finish third based on the money and energy he’s spent organizing for this even, but I’m not convinced he will place third.

Cain received a standing ovation for his speech (“They say I don’t have any foreign policy experience. And the guy we have now has?”), but he got stuck going last, and many people would already have voted. I think he will be closer to the McCotter/Huntsman end of things.

RESULTS UPDATE:

Bachmann 4823

Paul 4671

Pawlenty 2293

Santorum 1657

Cain 1456

Perry 718

Romney 567

Gingrich 385

Huntsman 69

McCotter 35

LATE UPDATE: Secretary of State Schultz discussed the write-in votes with Radio Iowa. All votes for Stephen Colbert’s preferred candidate, “Rick Parry,” were counted as votes for Rick Perry. Schultz did not reveal how many people voted for “Parry,” but he said that wasn’t the only way Perry’s name was misspelled. The 218 “scattered” write-in votes included some ballots for Sarah Palin and some for fictitious characters, like the Iowa State Fair’s butter cow.

  • The True Believer Poll

    How ironic that it’s a near tie between the gold bug and the Christianist.  Much ado about nothing much as far as the nomination is concerned, but a lucrative shake down for the Iowa GOP.  Leave it to Repubs to charge people for voting!

    • Question

      Would you prefer a dollar that looses value with time?

      • it can be argued

        that a weak dollar helps create/support American jobs, both by making U.S. exports more affordable in other countries and by making U.S. products more competitive with imports in terms of price for American consumers.

        • We do need better answers against the gold standard

          I once e-mailed an aide to Robert Reich to point me towards more literature against the gold standard. She couldn’t find anything for me.   The problem is that the people we are trying to convince view every government entity, large banking institution or governmental body as a huge conspiracy, 8/10 that is.  

        • Please Support Your Statement

          Where is the evidence for your belief?

          I think the best market environment is one where everyone agrees to a common value of exchange.  Dollar manipulation, confusion and instability reduce confidence to take the risks needed in business.

          The weak dollar is making the people who own America’s debt upset.  We are enslaving ourselves to these people.  What happens when they want their money and we cannot pay?

          The weak dollar may have temporary, partial benefits, but in long term, overall perspective, it is bad.  It will always be bad for saving and investing which are necessary for a good economy.

        • Current Situation

          I think our current economic situation is a result of the dollar being devalued (among other factors).  The dollar has lost 12% of its value during Obama’s administration.

        • The Dollar and Jobs

          If the dollar has lost 12% of its value and America has lost 2.4 million jobs during the same period, I disagree that a weak dollar helps create/support American jobs.

          • not the only factor

            obviously. We just had the worst recession in seven decades. Aggregate demand is a much larger factor in job creation or job losses.

            Many economists believe that the Euro zone has made it harder for some European countries to bounce back from recession, because they can no longer devalue their currencies to boost exports.

            There are advantages and disadvantages to having a strong or weak currency.

            • What causes recession?

              Many factors contribute to an economy’s fall into a recession, but the major cause is inflation. Inflation refers to a general rise in the prices of goods and services over a period of time. The higher the rate of inflation, the smaller the percentage of goods and services that can be purchased with the same amount of money. Inflation can happen for reasons as varied as increased production costs, higher energy costs and national debt.

              In an inflationary environment, people tend to cut out leisure spending, reduce overall spending and begin to save more. But as individuals and businesses curtail expenditures in an effort to trim costs, this causes GDP to decline. Unemployment rates rise because companies lay off workers to cut costs. It is these combined factors that cause the economy to fall into a recession.

              I know that when the value of the dollar drops, my purchasing power goes down a lot quicker than my paycheck goes up.

              Some European countries have so devalued their money, they are in crisis.  

              • I don't think the "great recession"

                was caused by or even preceded by high inflation. One of the big problems in the U.S. economy is that real wages haven’t gone up for most people in decades. The gains in income have been almost entirely at the very top.

                • Great Recession

                  We were only in a recession for a few years.  In the graft below, the grey bars show recession.  The blue line is currency.  The hugh increase in currency followed the beginning of the recession.  The real inflation is now.

                  There was inflation prior to this last recession.  It was seen in the stock market and the housing market.

                  http://research.stlouisfed.org…

            • Advantage Gold

              So the advantage of a gold standard is that these large inflation/recession cycles do not happen. Small market corrections will happen through a free market.  The economy will be healthy and grow.  Jobs will grow. Aggregate demand will grow.  The wide swings in the economy are smoothed out.  

              The Fed makes money to “stimulate” the economy and to cover our national debt.  This is the major cause of our inflation.

              • not true at all

                there were terrible panics under the gold standard.  Decade long depressions.  Gold is also highly variable in terms of value.

                https://secure.wikimedia.org/w…

                The experience of the great depression shows that if we were currently on the gold standard, inflation would be so terrible that people would hoard gold or melt it down and take it off the market.

                https://secure.wikimedia.org/w…

                I agree that the fed is a bunch of shit mostly pushed by wall street, who wanted to force America into a state of perpetual interest payments by authorizing the private banks to print money.  Our best economies always occurred when money printing was done by the department of treasury as authorized the us constitution.  If the treasury did it, we would save billions in interest payments to banks.  However the gold standard would devastate us, and probably just serves a different set of wallstreeters with investments in gold.  I wish more people spoke out against it.

                • Good Observation

                  Good thoughts.  

                  These are my concerns.  There may be a selection bias in these writings.  These writings are complicated and are only telling part of the story.  America was on and off the gold standard during this time.  Even when we were on the gold standard there was significant market manipulation through laws that upset free trade.  War is very expensive and we should not fight unless we are ready to pay the full price.

                  I believe that you and I will have the most trade when we can agree on the value of exchanged work and products and are not highly taxed in the exchange.  Your information is good to think about.  Economics is really very simple.  Manipulation of economics (anything away from a standard rate of exchange) is very confusing.

    • kind of amazing

      how much money they raised even though the GOP “front-runner” gave the event a pass.

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