Romney said the candidates who did not show knew they could not win straw poll.
AMES, Iowa (CNN)– The winner of the Ames, Iowa straw poll says the three Republican presidential hopefuls who skipped the contest knew they couldn’t win. Mitt Romney came in first in this crucial early GOP presidential showdown. The former Massachusetts Governor won nearly 32% of the vote, far ahead of his competitors.
At a news conference after the results were announced, Romney discussed why former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Senator Fred Thompson, and Senator from Arizona John McCain decided to skip this straw poll. Romney said “their decision not to compete here was not a decision based on strength.” Romney continued, saying “the guys who decided not to play would have played here if they thought they could have won.”
Giuliani, Thompson, who’s not even a formal candidate yet, and McCain are one, two, and three in most national polls. Romney follows in fourth place.
Here in Iowa it’s a different story. Romney leads in the state polls. The Iowa caucuses kick off the presidential primary season.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser