Huckabee said Wednesday he will participate in the Iowa straw poll.
(CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday, he plans to partake in the Iowa GOP Straw Poll, for now, but he thinks that fellow presidential rivals Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have thrown a real “monkey wrench” into the process by dropping out.
"We've always planned to be in the straw poll. That's been part of our strategy and we have no reason, right now, to think otherwise," Huckabee said to a small crowd at the opening of his Iowa campaign headquarters in Des Moines. "We know that things have changed since last week, and we were all, I think, stunned by the decision of the Giuliani and McCain campaigns to pull out and not participate."
The straw poll, sponsored by the state Republican party and set to be held in Ames, Iowa, on August 11, has traditionally been seen as a barometer of a candidate’s organizational strength in the early-voting state. While Giuliani and McCain will pass, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, and former Wisconsin. Gov. Tommy Thompson are all in. Possible GOP presidential contender and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is reportedly weighing whether to jump in as well.
Huckabee questioned the fairness of the Iowa Straw Poll Wednesday.
"You have two candidates that the national media says are the leaders and they won't even play,” he said. Then, turning his attention to Mitt Romney, Huckabee added, “and then you've got the other candidate the national media says is a leader - he's already spiked the ball in the end zone and has declared victory for the straw poll when it hasn't even happened yet," Huckabee said. "One of the things that the rest of us have to do is to evaluate is: Are we going to a game that's already been decided? Is it going to be an honest and legitimate and fair test of support?"
- CNN's Political Assignment Editor Marissa Muller